America’s Perpetual Foreign-Policy Crises

by | Aug 23, 2022


Ever since the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II, America has lived under a system of ongoing, never-ending, perpetual foreign-policy crises. That’s not a coincidence. The national-security establishment — i.e. the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — need such crises to justify their continued existence and their ever-growing taxpayer-funded largess. 

An interesting aspect of this phenomenon is that oftentimes the crises are ginned up by the national-security establishment itself. Once the crisis materializes, the Pentagon and the CIA play the innocent. “We had nothing to do with ginning up this crisis,” they cry. “We are totally innocent.” 

After the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon and the CIA were desperately in need of a crisis that could replace the Cold War crisis, which they were convinced would last forever. That’s when they began going into the Middle East and killing people. When that massive killing spree, which included killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, ended up producing terrorist blowback, the national-security establishment had its new crisis — terrorism, which replaced communism as America’s big official enemy. 

The “war on terrorism” replaced the Cold War’s “war on communism.” Americans began fearing the terrorists (and the Muslims) almost as much as they feared the Reds. With the new crisis, the national-security establishment, including its army of “defense” contractors, was assured of continued existence and ever-expanding taxpayer-funded largess.

Notwithstanding the ostensible end of the Cold War, however, the Pentagon and the CIA never lost hope of reestablishing Russia as an official enemy. But the challenge was: How to make Russia an official enemy again and how to get another ongoing crisis environment with Russia to keep the US national-security establishment in high cotton?

The answer they came up with was NATO, the old Cold War dinosaur that was called into existence to protect Western Europe from a supposed attack from the Soviet Reds after World War II. Never mind that the Soviet Union and the United States had been partners and allies during the war. Never mind that the Soviet Union was totally devastated during the war, having its industrial might decimated. Never mind that it also lost millions of people to the Nazi war machine that almost succeeded in conquering the country. And never mind that US officials had nuclear bombs and had shown the willingness to use them on populated cities. In the minds of the NATOites, the Soviet Reds were hell-bent on invading Western Europe and then proceeding across the Atlantic to invade, conquer, and occupy the United States.

Once the Cold War ended, there was no reason for that Cold War dinosaur — NATO — to continue in existence. But the Pentagon and the CIA saw NATO has an excellent opportunity to gin up another big crisis with Russia, even after the “war on terrorism” crisis had materialized. What could be better than two big simultaneous crises — Russia and terrorism — to justify ever-increasing warfare largess for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA?

Oh, but they didn’t just keep the old dinosaur in existence. Instead, they used it to absorb former members of the Warsaw Pact, inexorably moving US forces and US missiles eastward toward Russia. Russia objected, but, of course, its objections fell on deaf ears. 

Once Russia openly and publicly declared Ukraine as a “red line,” the Pentagon and the CIA had Russia right where they wanted it. All that the Pentagon and the CIA had to do then was use NATO to threaten to absorb Ukraine. At that point, the Pentagon and the CIA knew that Russia would either have to back down in humiliation and let NATO absorb Ukraine (and install US nuclear missiles on Russia’s border) or invade Ukraine to prevent it from becoming a part of NATO. 

We know, of course, how things ended up — with another great big crisis involving Russia as a once-again official enemy. The recent state-sponsored assassination of accused 9/11 co-conspirator Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan reminds us that we now have two ongoing perpetual crises — Russia and the “war on terrorism” — to keep the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA in high cotton.

Oh, but that’s not all. They also have never given up hope of reestablishing their Cold War crisis with respect to China. Don’t forget: The Reds are still in control of China! 

The challenge has been: How to bring that Cold War crisis back, so that it can run alongside the Russia crisis and the “war on terrorism” crisis. 

No problem. China has long openly and publicly made it clear that Taiwan is its “red line,” just as Ukraine was Russia’s “red line.” China’s position has been unequivocal: Taiwan is part of China, and China will never permit its independence.

So, what do US officials do? They knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately push on that red line, just as they did with Ukraine. US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently made a highly publicized trip to Taiwan, knowing full well what the reaction would be among Chinese officials. And while the Pentagon presented itself as opposing Pelosi’s trip, we now learn that the Pentagon has been stationing US troops in Taiwan for at least a year, training Taiwanese forces on how to oppose a Chinese invasion, thereby establishing Taiwan’s independence. 

No one should be surprised over China’s reaction to these US provocations, given China’s previous emphasis on this “red line.” Make no mistake about it: If China invades Taiwan, US officials will play the innocent, just as they have done with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And they will then have three big crises — Russia, China, and the “war on terrorism” — to justify their permanent existence and their ever-growing taxpayer-funded largess.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

    View all posts