U.S. Defense Secretary Pays Homage to British Empire
Sept. 6, 2019 (EIRNS)—Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, in what is being billed as his first major policy speech since taking office, seems to be consciously repeating history rather than creating a new future. Before an audience at the British Empire’s premier military think tank, the Royal United Services Institute, Esper compared 2019 to 1973, when the U.S. Army had just finished pulling out of Vietnam and was studying the conduct of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war to draw conclusions about how to reorient itself back to the Cold War against the Soviet Union. “Today, we find ourselves in a situation very similar to that of 1973; one where the hard-fought battles of the past 18 years have come at the expense of preparing for those of the future,” he said. “Our strategic competitors, namely Russia and China, have capitalized on this period, also learning lessons from studying U.S. military operations over the years.”
“It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions,” Esper continued. “And as was the case 45 years ago, we cannot stand idly by while authoritarian nations attempt to reshape the global security environment to their favor at the expense of others. Doing so would invite continued aggression and diminish our ability to deter future conflicts.”
While Esper acknowledged the alleged threat of Russian aggression, he devoted the bulk of his enemy-image mongering to China, taking particular aim at the China’s Belt and Road Initiative. “What are initially presented as reasonable investments by the P.R.C. to build ports, facilities, and other infrastructure, end up coming with some significant strings attached,” he said, spreading the myth of the Chinese debt trap. “The more dependent a country becomes on Chinese investment and trade, the more susceptible they are to coercion and retribution when they act outside of Beijing’s wishes.” Esper also used the alleged mistreatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang province and the protesters in Hong Kong to present a frightening image of what the world would supposedly look like if it were dominated by Beijing.
Given the venue for Esper’s speech, he couldn’t close without paying homage to Winston Churchill and his 1946 Fulton, Missouri speech in which he both warned against the “Iron Curtain” that had allegedly “descended across the Continent” of Europe and also spoke of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and the U.K. “That ‘special relationship’ remains just as vital today as it was when Churchill first coined the phrase,” Esper said. “I am confident that we will continue to work closely together to maintain the freedoms we worked so hard to achieve.”