It is ultimately a question about the soul of the nation -- what does it say about us as a people when we have to kill people around the world in order to put food on the table back home?

IT'S ABOUT THE SOUL OF THE NATION

The following article is based in part on the keynote address presented at the 2014 Pacific Life Community Faith and Resistance Retreat. Bruce K. Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and is author of the book: Come Together Right Now: Organizing Stories from a Fading Empire. Visit his website at: space4peace.org

By BRUCE GAGNON

Current U.S. military space policy is primarily geared toward two countries, China and Russia.

In May 2000 The Washington Post published an article called "For Pentagon, Asia Moving to Forefront." The article stated, "The Pentagon is looking at Asia as the most likely arena for future military conflict, or at least competition." The article said the U.S. would double its military presence in the region and essentially attempt to manage China.

The Pentagon has become the primary resource extraction service for corporate capital. Whether it is Caspian Sea oil and natural gas, rare earth minerals found in Africa, or Venezuelan oil, the U.S.'s increasingly high-tech military is on the case.

President Obama's Security Adviser, Gen. James Jones, had previously served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. In 2006, Gen. Jones told the media, "NATO is developing a special plan to safeguard oil and gas fields in the [Caspian Sea] region .... Our strategic goal is to expand to Eastern Europe and Africa."

In a past quadrennial National Intelligence Strategy report, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair claimed that Russia "may continue to seek avenues for reasserting power and influence in ways that complicate U.S. interests ... [and] China competes for the same resources the United States needs, and is in the process of rapidly modernizing its military."

Using NATO as a military tool, the U.S. is now surrounding Russia and easily dragged the "European- based" alliance into the Afghanistan war and Libya attack. Many believe the U.S. intends to turn NATO into a global military alliance, even to be used in the Asian-Pacific region.

In mid-March, 2009, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) held a conference in Washington. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) stated, "Missile defense is an important element of our nation's defense. For example, it is a high priority to field effective defenses for our forward-deployed forces against the many hundreds of existing short- and medium-range missiles."

The Obama administration is currently deploying "missile defense" (MD) systems in Turkey, Romania, Poland, and on Navy destroyers entering the Black Sea. The military noose is tightening around Russia.

Russia has the world's largest deposits of natural gas and significant supplies of oil. The U.S. has recently built military bases in Romania and Bulgaria and will soon be adding more in Albania. NATO has expanded eastward into Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, right on Russia's border. Georgia, Ukraine, Sweden, and Finland also are on the list to become members of the cancerous NATO military alliance.

An Indian journalist observes, "The arc of encirclement of Russia gets strengthened. NATO ties facilitate the [eventual] deployment of the U.S. missile defense system in Georgia. The U.S. aims to have a chain of countries tied to 'partnerships' with NATO brought into its missile defense system -- stretching from its allies in the Baltic to those in Central Europe. The ultimate objective of this is to neutralize the strategic capability of Russia and China and to establish its nuclear superiority. The National Defense Strategy document, issued by the Pentagon on July 31, 2008, portrays Washington's perception of a resurgent Russia and a rising China as potential adversaries.

President Obama has in the past called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The Russians, watching advancing NATO and MD deployments near their borders, are telling the world that any real hopes for serious nuclear weapons reductions are in serious jeopardy.

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev delivered the opening address at the “Overcoming Nuclear Dangers" conference in Rome on April 16, 2009. He noted, "Unless we address the need to demilitarize international relations, reduce military budgets, put an end to the creation of new kinds of weapons and prevent weaponization of outer space, all talk about a nuclear-weapon-free world will be just inconsequential rhetoric."

The entire U.S. military empire is tied together using space technology. With military satellites in space the U.S. can see virtually everything on the Earth, can intercept all communications on the planet, and can target virtually every place on the Earth. Russia and China understand that the U.S. military goal is to achieve "full spectrum dominance."

Using new space technologies to coordinate and direct modern war- fare also enables the military industrial complex to reap massive profits as they construct the architecture for space-directed global warfare.

The deployment of Aegis destroyers in the Asian-Pacific region, with MD interceptors on-board, ostensibly to protect against North Korean missile launches, and gives the U.S. greater ability to launch preemptive first-strike attacks on China.

The U.S. now has 30 ground-based MD interceptors deployed in South Korea. Many peace activists there strongly believe that the ultimate target of these systems is not North Korea, but China and Russia.

The current U.S. military expansion underway in South Korea, Japan, Guam, Okinawa, Australia, Philippines and other nations is indeed a key element in this regional offensive to contain China.

For many years the U.S. Space Command has been annually computer war-gaming a first-strike attack on China. Set in the year 2016, the Pentagon launches the military space plane that takes off like an airplane, flies through space, and then unleashes a devastating first-strike attack on China's nuclear forces all within one hour. China then at- tempts to launch a retaliatory with its tens of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the continental U.S. However, U.S. "missile defense" systems, deployed in Japan, South Korea, Guam and Taiwan, help take out China's disabled nuclear response.

Missile defense, sold to the public as a purely defensive system, is ally designed by the Pentagon to the shield after the first-strike has lunged into the heart of a particular nation's nuclear arsenal.

Obama's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' comments were revealing in 2009 when he said, "We're converting more Navy Aegis ships to have ballistic missile that would help against China."

Living in Bath, Maine, I have a special perspective on this U.S-China military competition. In my town the Navy builds the Aegis destroyers that are outfitted with MD systems. The two senators from my state maintain that more Pentagon funds for Aegis shipbuilding are needed to "contain" China.

Renowned author Noam Chomsky states U.S. foreign and military policy now is about controlling most of the world's oil supply as a "lever of world domination." One way to keep Europe, China, India and other emerging markets dependent on the U.S. and in sync with its policies is to maintain control of the fossil fuel supply they are reliant on. Even as the U.S. economy is collapsing, the Pentagon appears to be saying: whoever controls the keys to the world's economic engine still remains in charge.

China, for example, imports up to 80 of its oil on ships through the Yellow Sea. If any competitor nation were able to militarily control that transit route and choke off China's oil supply, its economy could be held hostage. One is able to see how the Pentagon will use the South Korean Navy base on Jeju Island to support the potential coastal blockade of China.

For many years Russia and China have introduced resolutions at the U.N. calling for negotiations on a new treaty that would ban weapons in space. Since the mid-1980s, every U.N. member nation has supported the "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space" (PAROS) resolution, with the exception of the U.S., Israel, and Micronesia. This was true during the Clinton presidency as well as during the reign of George W. Bush and now under Obama.

A full-blown arms race between the U.S., Russia, and China will be a disaster for the world and would make life on Earth less secure. At the very time that global resources are urgently needed to deal with the coming harsh realities of climate change and growing poverty, we can hardly afford to see more money wasted on the further militarization of space and greater superpower conflict.

As the U.S. undertakes arming the world to the benefit of corporate globalization, our local communities increasingly have become addicted to military spending. As we oppose the aggressive U.S. military empire overseas we must also talk about the job issue here at home. Calling for conversion of the military industrial complex helps us come into coalition with weapons production workers who must support the killing machine if they hope to feed their families. Studies have long shown that conversion of military production creates more jobs while manufacturing needed things like rail systems, solar or wind turbines.

It is ultimately a question about the soul of the nation -- what does it say about us as a people when we have to kill people around the world in order to put food on the table back home?