US troops on patrol in Iraq in 2006 (Photo: US Department of Defense)
Originally published in People’s Dispatch on March 31, 2023
Imagine the uproar if China or Russia—or any other country for that matter—said it aimed to exercise military control over land, sea, air, and space to protect its interests and investments.
This amazingly has been the stated United States policy since 1997.
Full spectrum dominance, as the doctrine is known, is the reason the United States behaves the way that it does on the international stage.
The United States demands that the world bow down to its leadership. A failure to do so is met with the full force of the international military-industrial complex controlled by the US government.
Enforcement has included everything from the funding of opposition forces in sovereign nations, the removal or even assassination of political leaders who refuse to toe the line, economic sanctions, and military intervention.
Of course, there are choices to be made by the United States about which approach—or combination of approaches—it might take. There are also decisions to be made about the degree of action within each approach.
But fundamentally the point is that Washington believes it has a right to inflict on the rest of the world its interpretation of democracy—which seems to essentially amount to agreeing with whatever course of action the United States wants to take.
So what is full spectrum dominance really for?
There’s a famous scene in the Oscar-winning film Reds where the great revolutionary journalist and activist John Reed, played by Warren Beatty, was asked at a dinner what the war in Mexico he had just returned from was all about. Before sitting down he said just one word: profits.
The United States is interested in safeguarding the profits of monopoly capital, which carries politicians in Washington around in its pockets like loose change.
The United States also will not tolerate others, such as China, muscling in on potential new markets or swaying people away from its sphere of influence.
China is seen as the biggest threat to the profits of the companies that currently decide pretty much what we will eat and even when we can eat it.
Anyone who expects the Chinese to simply sit back and take the provocations dealt out by the two-faced United States is living in cloud cuckoo land.
China’s State Council Information Office recently issued a report that accused the United States of being the world’s biggest offender of human rights.
In “The Report on Human Rights Violations in the United States in 2022,” the Chinese government said the United States “has sanctions in place against more than 20 countries, including Cuba since 1962, Iran since 1979, Syria since 2011 and Afghanistan in recent years.”
Calling the United States out as the most prolific enforcer of unilateral sanctions in the world, the report said Washington pursues power politics in the international community, frequently uses force, provokes proxy wars, and is a saboteur of world peace.
The report added that under the guise of anti-terrorism activities, the US has killed some 929,000 civilians and displaced some 38 million others in 85 countries.
Between 2017 and 2020, the United States launched 23 “proxy wars” in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region, the report stated.
The report said that violations of immigrant rights and the refusal of Washington to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp created “an ugly chapter of unrelenting human rights violations.”
The report slammed the United States for holding up to 780 people at Guantanamo, most of whom were held without trial for years, while subjecting them to cruel and inhumane treatment.
Essentially the United States will go to any lengths to enforce what it sees as its unipolar dominance of the world.
As far as it is concerned, “might is right,” and there are no consequences for its behavior.
There is no legal redress as the United States is not part of the International Criminal Court—which it lauds for threatening to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though Russia is also not a signatory.
It has a veto at the United Nations and much of the world relies on its military shield as well as the mighty dollar with which to trade.
Given the cards stacked against those of us who oppose US full spectrum dominance and the seemingly invincible power of the biggest bully on the planet, the question is: What can we do?
The answer to full spectrum dominance is full spectrum resistance and organizing.
It is necessary to gear our efforts away from piecemeal change and toward revolutionary transformation.
This will mean bringing together unions, climate activism, equality organizing, and a range of other social and economic movements in a serious change away from liberal posturing.
The guardians of capital are highly organized and put the resources where they need to go to protect and expand what they have. Activists generally just pretend that we are organized and fall out with each other at the first available opportunity.
I am not arrogant enough to believe I have all the answers. But what I do know is that we have to gaze beyond the Global North for what radical transformation might look like.
It really is time to shift the paradigm and bring movements together to work out how to pool our resources for real results—full spectrum resistance and organizing.
This article was produced by Globetrotter.
Roger McKenzie is the international editor of the Morning Star newspaper. Follow Roger on Twitter at @RogerAMck.