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The Rough Origins of the Warfare State

By David Stockman  |  July 19, 2019

Yesterday, I noted that “we’ve been doing business this way for more than 70 years”.  Actually, the “big bang” for the Warfare State was Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders stunt on San Juan Hill.

Upon bloodying his way into the Oval Office, TR made his favorite “West African proverb.” “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far” – was the American Way and started to build a huge “blue water” navy.

That’s meant one thing ever since…

Projecting Force All Over The Globe

He couched it as “the exercise of intelligent forethought and of decisive action sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis.” But Teddy Roosevelt, at the dawn of the 20th century, established the template for empire, American-style.

And it was never necessary for the defense of the Republic.

The vast Atlantic and Pacific moats combined with shoreline fortifications were more than enough to keep any potential Old World aggressors at bay.

Indeed, a few short years later, carnage on the Western Front proved the point.

There was zero reason for America’s entry into the “Great War” in April 1917. By then, the belligerents had all bankrupted themselves. In the process, they bled their economies and their people to the point of collapse and/or revolt.

It was down to Woodrow Wilson’s messianic quest to secure an important seat at the eventual postwar peace table. Which, American troops ended up in the decimated hellholes of northern France.

Well, Wilson Got What He Wanted

And he blew it.

He acquiesced to a vindictive “victor’s peace.” The Treaty of Versailles paved the way for the revanchist nightmare of Nazi Germany. It also set up the consolidation of power by the tiny band of communist fanatics in Russia who’d seized Petrograd in November 1917 only because of U.S. intervention in a conflict that was otherwise over.

From that horrible mistake came the Second World War, the Cold War, and the Forever War…

American-style free-market capitalism, small government, and borders open to a massive inflow of liberty-seeking economic and political refugees from the Old World – 35 million between 1840 and 1920 – helped the U.S. evolve into an industrial powerhouse.

Once that happened, there was never any risk of invasion from abroad. And there was never any need for a vast standing army, let alone today’s $1 trillion military-industrial-surveillance complex.

The Warfare State Is No Guardian

The Warfare State has always been an instrument of American Empire. It is no guardian, no savior, of domestic liberty, prosperity and happiness itself.

There never has been and there never will be a time in the life of this planet that a foreign power could deliver a massive expeditionary force to American shores. One that would require a defensive counterattack by any of the vehicles of war the Donald put on display on the National Mall on the Fourth of July.

Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles are strictly instruments for invading and occupying foreign lands.

A true “America First” policy would de-fund these relics. Advanced missile and munitions technology – and our already bought-and-paid-for nuclear deterrent – is all that’s needed to provide for the common defense.

Herein lay the real irony. And the very real danger.

The Donald won in November 2016 because he sounded like he wanted to end the Forever War and reign in the American Empire.

Yet here he is, an insatiable ego and a school-boy infatuation with weaponry, fetishizing the very Warfare State that threatens our unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

A Step Toward Self-Determination

Desperate times call for… “common sense” measures.

And these are desperate times… Markets are corrupted by monetary central planning. They’re confused. And the road back is going to be treacherous.

We’re looking at a major re-pricing for all financial assets. And thousand-point intraday or day-to-day swings are part of that equation. Those can be frightening… for “buy and hold” investors.

I have a different approach, one that combines strategy and tactics into a plan flexible enough for you to survive and thrive amid the coming chaos. It’s called “The Stockman Model.”

All we’re after is a little stability, perhaps a chance to pocket a windfall when opportunity presents…

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David Stockman

David Stockman is the ultimate Washington insider turned iconoclast. He began his career in Washington as a young man and quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.MORE FROM AUTHOR