by Prof Michel
May 16, 2019
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author,
Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of
Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research
on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global
has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe,
Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America.
has served as economic adviser to governments of
developing countries and has acted as a consultant for
several international organizations.
is the author of eleven books.
The following text was presented at the closing session of the
Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations,
program organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS),
Beijing, May 15-16, 2019:
The World is at a
culture of war and military conquest
is upheld. War is presented to public opinion as a US-NATO
peace-making endeavor which will ultimately result in the spread
of Western democracy.
Military intervention not to mention "economic warfare"
(including sanctions) are routinely upheld as part of a
humanitarian campaign. War has been granted a humanitarian
mandate under NATO's "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P).
Culture which is the theme of the Conference on Dialogue of
Asian Civilisations (Beijing, May 15-16, 2019) is of utmost
importance in resolving conflicts within and between nations.
perceptions and understanding as well as dialogue and diplomacy.
In this regard, "Towards a Culture of World Peace" constitutes a
commitment to Human Livelihood. It is an initiative which
consists in confronting the discourse in support of war and
military intervention emanating from NATO and the Pentagon.
It requires reviving
a Worldwide anti-war movement, nationally and internationally as
well as establishing a resolve by the governments of sovereign
nation states to reject this Worldwide process of
The contemporary US-NATO "culture of war" (which has its roots
in European colonial history) constitutes an obvious obstacle
and impediment to the Dialogue of Civilizations and China's
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013.
The culture of peace is universal. It is shared by people and
nations Worldwide. Today's "culture of war" is
a US hegemonic project
predicated on the creation of conflict and divisions within and
It is this
(unilateral) project of global warfare which is intent upon
"The culture of peace" which was addressed by President Xi
Jinping in his opening address of the Conference on Dialogue
of Asian Civilizations, constitutes an important instrument
which has a bearing on broad geopolitical, economic and
The procedure consists in ultimately confronting and dismantling
"the culture of war" which has a pervasive impact on the human
This endeavour will not
succeed through political rhetoric or a "war of words".
"culture of peace" into concrete actions at the geopolitical
and diplomatic levels
disinformation and war propaganda
anti-war movement at the grassroots of society (nationally
An endorsement by
the governments of sovereign countries, member states of the
United Nations, namely a decisive inter-governmental
rejection of the US-NATO "culture of war", which is in
blatant violation of the UN Charter
of military alliances, including NATO, which are supportive
of global warfare
The withdrawal of
NATO member states and NATO partner member states from the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
The adoption of a
coherent and Worldwide disarmament programme coupled with
major reductions in military spending
The closing down
of all military bases, some 800 US military bases in about
in the international trade of weapons
of national economies with a view to downgrading and
eventually closing down the war economy
of financial resources and tax revenues towards the civilian
economy including social services
The victims of U.S. led wars are routinely presented by the Western
media as the perpetrators of war.
Realities are turned upside down.
"War is Peace" said
The Western media in
chorus upholds war as a humanitarian endeavor.
"Wars make us safer
and richer" says the Washington Post.
When war becomes peace,
the world is turned upside down.
Conceptualization is no
longer possible. The consensus is to wage war. The building of this
diabolical consensus consists in the militarization of the "cultural
The latter are supported
by the US Department of Defense which allocates a large share of its
budget to upholding the "culture of war".
[T]he ideology of
militarism pervades society, glorifying the US state's use of
violence not diplomacy to achieve security in a world divided
between a righteous American "us" and an evil and threatening
"them," representing war as the first and most appropriate
solution to every problem that vexes America, and reducing
patriotism to unquestioning support for each and every
(Tanner Mirrlees, The DoD's Cultural Policy: Militarizing the
Cultural Industries, University of Ontario Institute of
Technology, October 2017)
In turn Hollywood in
liaison with the Pentagon has endorsed the culture of war and
Hollywood-Pentagon connection represents a key dimension of the
military–entertainment–industrial complex, where a film is
simultaneously being used as a tool for recruitment, military
public relations, and commercial profit."
According to Tom Secker
and Matthew Alford,
"A similar influence
is exerted over military-supported TV".
Meanwhile, the balance
sheet of death and destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria is
Civilians in war torn
countries are "responsible for their own deaths". This narrative
pervades the Western media: 233,000 estimated deaths in Yemen since
2015, according to a recent United Nations report. 140,000 children
The media is silent: who
are the war criminals?
In September 2000, a few months before the accession of
George W. Bush to the White
House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC)
published its blueprint for global domination under the title: "Rebuilding America's Defenses".
This document which has a
direct bearing on US foreign policy refers to America's "Long War":
decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars
"constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security
environment in critical regions
forces to exploit the "revolution in military affairs"
"The revolution in
military affairs" consists in developing advanced weapons systems as
well as a new generation of nuclear weapons.
and Nuclear Weapons
The culture of war is marked by a radical shift in US nuclear
Starting in 2001,
tactical nuclear weapons are heralded as "harmless to the
surrounding civilian population". A new generation of "more usable",
"low yield" tactical nuclear weapons (mini-nukes) was put forth.
They are heralded as
peace-making bombs. The doctrine of "mutually assured destruction" (MAD)
which prevailed during the Cold War era has been scrapped.
Under Bush's 2001
Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)
(endorsed by the US Senate in 2002), nuclear weapons are to be used
on a "first strike" "pre-emptive basis", as a means of
"self-defense" against both nuclear and non-nuclear states.
This is an absurd and diabolical proposition which can only be
sustained by misleading public opinion, i.e. by obfuscating the
deadly impacts of nuclear weapons.
Moreover, while the US
has waged countless wars in what is euphemistically described as
"the post war era" (1945- present), the issue of "self defense" is
the national security
of the United States of America has never been
While the US and
its NATO allies have launched a
military adventure which is sustained by the "culture of war", the
public is largely unaware that the use of these "more usable"
nuclear weapons (with a variable explosive capacity between one
third to twelve times a Hiroshima bomb) threatens the future of
There are powerful economic interests behind the culture of war:
In turn, there are
powerful lobby groups which influence US foreign policy.
Dialogue and debate are
It is important that
these economic actors, including the weapons producers, be made
aware of the inherent dangers of global warfare.
Culture of War
Trump's 1.2 trillion dollar nuclear weapons program
constitutes a financial bonanza for the defense contractors.
US media reports suggest
that the nuclear weapons program "makes the World safer". The
"culture of war" sustains a unilateral build up of the weapons
industry funded by US tax payers.
The culture of war has
triggered mounting military expenditures to the detriment of the
Total military spending
worldwide was of the order of 1.8 trillion dollars in 2018. US
defense expenditure was of the order of 649 billion, which
represents 36% of Worldwide military expenditure - all countries
The Trump administration has supported a significant hike in
defense, war and related "National Security" expenditures.
The defense budget
presented by the presidency to the US Congress for 2020 is of the
order of 750 billion dollars, of which 718 billion will go to the
But this figure of 740 billion is in some regards misleading:
Accounting for a
massive US intelligence budget, Homeland Security, and related
war expenses, the requested annual US National Security (War)
Budget for 2020 is estimated to be in excess of 1.2 trillion
"There are at
least 10 separate pots of money dedicated to fighting wars,
preparing for yet more wars, and dealing with the
consequences of wars already fought".
William D. Hartung, Mandy Smithberger
Boondoggle, Inc.: Making Sense of the
$1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget May 10, 2019
Compare the figures:
individual tax revenues for 2020 are of the order of $1.82
national security, intelligence, "to make the World safer",
etc is of the order of $1.25 trillion (68.7% of the
individual income taxes paid by Americans)
While the weapons
industry is booming, the civilian economy is in crisis, civilian
infrastructure and social services including medicare are
Eventually what is
required are policy mechanisms for the phasing out of the war
economy and the national security apparatus, while channeling
resources into rebuilding the civilian economy.
No easy task...
The cultural dimension is crucial. US policy-makers believe in their
own propaganda. The "culture of war" often combined with twisted
ideological and/or religious undertones, influences government
officials involved in acts of war.
In 1945, President Truman intimated in the immediate wake of
the bombing of Hiroshima, that 'God' stands on the side of "Us
Americans" with regards to the use of nuclear weapons.
"We pray that he
[God] may guide us to use it [nuclear weapons] in his ways
and for his purposes".
(August 9, 1945)
Hiroshima was designated
as a "military base" in Truman's historic speech on August 9, 1945.
The stated objective of
the Harry Truman was to,
"save the lives of
In the contemporary
context, diplomatic relations and dialogue are at an all time low.
At no time since the
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis has
the World been closer to the unthinkable:
a global military
conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons.
In this regard, what
should be acknowledged is that US government officials in high
office who decide upon the deployment and use of nuclear weapons do
not have a full understanding of the consequences of their acts.
The Legacy of
The contemporary US-NATO "culture of war" has its roots in European
Starting in the late 15th
Century, European colonization was invariably supported by military
conquest, violence and political subordination. A colonial economy
"Western cultural values"
and the language of the colonizers were imposed, civilizations were
undermined or destroyed.
The colonial system
ultimately led to the establishment of hegemonic relations, leading
up to the consolidation of the British empire in the 18th
and 19th centuries, followed by US neo-colonial
expansionism in the late 19th century and in the wake of
World War I.
What is significant is that this culture of colonial violence
inherited from the British empire has a bearing on the nature of
contemporary US foreign policy, which in large part is predicated on
militarization at a global level.
The US has currently more
than 800 military bases in 80 foreign countries.
Many Asian countries which were the victims of US-led war, not only
have military cooperation agreement with the US, they also host US
military bases on their territory.
In South and Southeast Asia, European colonialism was marked by
conquest coupled with the displacement of the pre-existing silk road
Historically, China's trading relations under the land and maritime
silk roads were marked by dialogue and the extensive exchange of
China's trade relations
during the Antiquity and Middle Age extended into South and South
East Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa and Western
Starting during the
Han Dynasty (207 BC- 220 AD), the
land and maritime silk road played a key role not only in economic
exchange between civilizations but also in the spread of social and
In contrast to European colonialism, these relations largely
respected the sovereignty, independence and identity of the
countries with which China was trading with.
The silk road trade did
not seek to impose or develop a dependent colonial relationship.
The language of diplomacy
was marked by the benefits of bilateral exchange.
and China's Belt and Road
The mindset in Asian societies, which historically have been the
victims of colonialism and US led wars is in marked contrast to the
dominant "culture of war".
The legacy of history prevails.
While the "culture of
war" characterizes America's hegemonic ambitions modelled on the
legacy of the British empire, China's contemporary
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
which consists in developing trade relations with a large number of
partner Nations states, is largely committed to a "Culture of
Most Asian countries have been the victims of Western colonialism
starting in the 15th Century, the impacts of which have
led to the destruction of the pre-existing maritime and land trade
routes as well as the demise of cultural exchange.
And numerous countries in Asia and the Middle East extending from
the Mediterranean to the Korean Peninsula have been the victims of
US led-wars in the course of what is euphemistically called "the
post war era".
Today most of these
countries are partners of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by
President Xi Jinping in 2013.
As we speak, the US is
Unconfirmed media reports
suggest that the US is considering the deployment of 120,000 US
troops to be dispatched to Persian Gulf. Secretary of State of
Mike Pompeo (who has very little understanding
of history and geography) has justified US threats on security
grounds, while casually referring to the "clash of civilizations".
US led wars are intent upon destroying civilizations as well
dialogue between sovereign nation states.
As we conclude this closing session of the Conference on the
Dialogue of Asians Civilizations in Beijing, let us endorse "the
Culture of Peace" as a means to ultimately abolishing all wars...