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Thread: New US Pentagon Chief – Vested Interest in War & Conflict

  1. #1

    New US Pentagon Chief – Vested Interest in War & Conflict

    Ron Paul Institute
    Friday July 19, 2019

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    Written by Strategic Culture Foundation

    Mark Esper is expected to be confirmed in coming days as the new US Secretary of Defense. His appointment is awaiting final Congressional approval after customary hearings this week before senators. The 55-year-old nominee put forward by President Trump was previously a decorated Lieutenant Colonel and has served in government office during the GW Bush administration.

    But what stands out as his most conspicuous past occupation is working for seven years as a senior lobbyist for Raytheon, the US’ third biggest military manufacturing company. The firm specializes in missile-defense systems, including the Patriot, Iron Dome and the Aegis Ashore system (the latter in partnership with Lockheed Martin).

    As Defense Secretary, Esper will be the most senior civilian executive member of the US government, next to the president, on overseeing military policy, including decisions about declaring war and deployment of American armed forces around the globe. His military counterpart at the Pentagon is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, currently held by Marine General Joseph Dunford who is expected to be replaced soon by General Mark Milley (also in the process of senate hearings).

    Esper’s confirmation hearings this week were pretty much a rubber-stamp procedure, receiving lame questioning from senators about his credentials and viewpoints. The only exception was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who slammed the potential “conflict of interest” due to his past lobbying service for Raytheon. She said it “smacks of corruption”. Other than her solitary objection, Esper was treated with kid gloves by other senators and his appointment is expected to be whistled through by next week. During hearings, the former lobbyist even pointedly refused to recuse himself of any matters involving Raytheon if he becomes the defense boss.

    As Rolling Stone magazine quipped on Esper’s nomination, “it is as swampy as you’d expect”.

    “President Trump’s Cabinet is already rife with corruption, stocked full of former lobbyists and other private industry power players who don’t seem to mind leveraging their government positions to enrich themselves personally. Esper should fit right in,” wrote Rolling Stone.

    The linkage between officials in US government, the Pentagon and private manufacturers is a notorious example of “revolving door”. It is not unusual, or even remarkable, that individuals go from one sector to another and vice versa. That crony relationship is fundamental to the functioning of the “military-industrial complex” which dominates the entire American economy and the fiscal budget ($730 billion annually – half the total discretionary public spend by federal government).

    Nevertheless, Esper is a particularly brazen embodiment of the revolving-door’s seamless connection.

    Raytheon is a $25 billion company whose business is all about selling missile-defense systems. Its products have been deployed in dozens of countries, including in the Middle East, as well as Japan, Romania and, as of next year, Poland. It is in Raytheon’s vital vested interest to capitalize on alleged security threats from Iran, Russia, China and North Korea in order to sell “defense” systems to nations that then perceive a “threat” and need to be “protected”.

    It is a certainty that Esper shares the same worldview, not just for engrained ideological reasons, but also because of his own personal motives for self-aggrandizement as a former employee of Raytheon and quite possibly as a future board member when he retires from the Pentagon. The issue is not just merely about corruption and ethics, huge that those concerns are. It is also about how US foreign policy and military decisions are formulated and executed, including decisions on matters of conflict and ultimately war. The insidiousness is almost farcical, if the implications weren’t so disturbing, worthy of satire from the genre of Dr Strangelove or Catch 22.

    How is Esper’s advice to the president about tensions with Russia, Iran, China or North Korea, or any other alleged adversary, supposed to be independent, credible or objective? Esper is a de facto lobbyist for the military-industrial complex sitting in the Oval Office and Situation Room. Tensions, conflict and war are meat and potatoes to this person.

    During senate hearings this week, Esper openly revealed his dubious quality of thinking and the kind of policies he will pursue as Pentagon chief. He told credulous senators that Russia was to blame for the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. That equates to more Raytheon profits from selling defense systems in Europe. Also, in a clumsy inadvertent admission he advised that the US needs to get out of the INF in order to develop medium-range missiles to “counter China”. The latter admission explains the cynical purpose for why the Trump administration unilaterally ditched the INF earlier this year. It is not about alleged Russian breaches of the treaty; the real reason is for the US to obtain a freer hand to confront China.

    It is ludicrous how blatant a so-called democratic nation (the self-declared “leader of the free world”) is in actuality an oligarchic corporate state whose international relations are conducted on the basis of making obscene profits from conflict and war.

    Little wonder then than bilateral relations between the US and Russia are in such dire condition. Trump’s soon-to-be top military advisor Mark Esper is not going to make bilateral relations any better, that’s for sure.

    Also at a precarious time of possible war with Iran, the last person Trump should consult is someone whose corporate cronies are craving for more weapons sales.


    http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives...-war-conflict/
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    Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3)



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  3. #2
    Draining insiders from the swamp.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/...ominee-1594110

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday slammed President Donald Trump’s pick to be Defense secretary, Mark Esper, for his ties to defense contractor Raytheon.

    In a heated exchange at a Senate Armed Services confirmation hearing, Warren — a Democratic presidential contender — criticized Esper for not committing to extend for his entire tenure at the Pentagon his recusal from issues involving Raytheon, where he worked as a top lobbyist.

    Warren cited former acting Secretary Pat Shanahan, a former vice president with Boeing, who extended his recusal permanently amid questions about his ties to the aerospace company. She also pressed Esper to commit to never seek a waiver from his recusal and not seek defense industry employment for four years after leaving government, which he declined to do.

    “Let me get this straight. You’re still due to get at least a million-dollar payout from when you lobbied for Raytheon. You won’t commit to recuse yourself,” Warren said. “You insist on being free to seek a waiver that would let you make decisions affecting Raytheon’s bottom line and your remaining financial interest. And you won’t rule out taking a trip right back through the revolving door on your way out of government service.”

    “You can’t make those commitments to this committee, that means you should not be confirmed as secretary of defense,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

    The pair sparred over his ties to Raytheon during his 2017 confirmation hearing to be Army secretary. Warren was one of just six senators to vote against his confirmation then.
    The Senate Committed approved the nomination today and the Senate is expected to follow within a week.


    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/29/trum...or-others.html

    Trump imposes lifetime ban on some lobbying, five years for others


    President Donald Trump acted Saturday to fulfill a key portion of his pledge to “drain the swamp” in Washington, banning administration officials from ever lobbying the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government and imposing a separate five-year ban on other lobbying.

    Trump has said individuals who want to aid him in his quest to “Make America Great Again” should focus on the jobs they will be doing to help the American people, not thinking ahead to the future income they could rake in by peddling their influence after serving in government.

    “Most of the people standing behind me will not be able to go to work,” Trump joked, referring to an array of White House officials who lined up behind him as he sat at his Oval Office desk. The officials included Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior strategist Steve Bannon and counselor Kellyanne Conway. “So you have one last chance to get out.”
    Under an executive order that Trump signed in the presence of the news media, every political appointee joining the executive branch on or after Jan. 20 — the day Trump took office — must agree to the lobbying bans. That includes avoiding, for five years after leaving, lobbying the agency they worked for.

    Another provision sets a two-year period during which appointees must avoid working on issues involving former employers or clients.

    Trump is allowed to waive any of the restrictions.
    Esper said he would not be abiding by that Executive Order.

    She also pressed Esper to commit to never seek a waiver from his recusal and not seek defense industry employment for four years after leaving government, which he declined to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    The quality seems to have dropped significantly since I came here, I guess you get what you pay for.
    "There is always a tweet. That has become accepted fact in the Trump presidency: For every pronouncement the President makes, there is at least one tweet from his past that directly contradicts his current view." -CNN

    I am Zippy and I approve of this post. But you don't have to.

  4. #3
    Plus he's Pompeo's college buddy:

    "Esper and Pompeo, both former Army officers, went through the U.S. Military Academy at West Point together, class of 1986."

    Must be nice to have your old college pal pull some strings
    "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack...that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." "Attack Libya UPDATE 8/13: and Syria"

    "We can track down terrorists without trampling on our civil liberties.... the federal government will only issue warrants and execute searches because it needs to, not because it can." "Need to murder UPDATE 8/13: and track citizens" ~ Barack H. Obama

  5. #4
    Esper and Pompeo are just itching to start more wars.
    "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration is minding my own business."

    Calvin Coolidge



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