No Peace Dividend Again

by | Nov 10, 2021


Back when the Soviet Union fell apart, there was much talk of a peace dividend — a big reduction in the United States government’s spending on militarism. The peace dividend did not arrive. Instead, the US government proceeded to spend big on the military and engage in a series of military actions across the world, including, as the dissolution of the Soviet Union proceeded, the US military’s first of two invasions of Iraq.

Now, about 30 years after the Soviet Union went away, US military members are still stationed across Europe, as well as aboard ships near Russia, ready to counter the ghost of red spread.

Special interests behind the scenes worked overtime in the 1990s to ensure that the money kept flowing to the military-industrial complex. Containment of the Soviet menace evaporated as an excuse, but people came up with new excuses.

Ron Paul explained the transition in his April of 2013 comments upon the founding of his Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Paul stated:

The Cold War, as we now know, was itself largely hyped up by beneficiaries of the military build-up, but at the very least we should have expected at the end of the thousands of missiles pointed at us some sort of peace dividend. Instead, thanks to those whose careers and fortunes depended in some manner on the military industrial complex, we stumbled from the end of the war on communism to the war to control the world. This war has failed.

One big part of the US government’s “war to control the world” that has failed is the Afghanistan War. After a 20-years war with an estimated over two trillion dollars cost that wrought destruction to Afghan infrastructure and lives on a grand scale, the US military left Afghanistan. The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan had failed to achieve promoted “nation building” objectives such as the women’s liberation objective then-First Lady Laura Bush promoted for Afghanistan in November of 2001 as a substitute for her husband in his weekly presidential radio address and the combatting corruption objective President Barak Obama promoted in a December of 2009 speech. As the US troops left, Afghanistan returned for the most part to its status from before the war began, only worsened by the devastation of war.

But, at least we can obtain some sort of peace dividend due to the ending of the US government’s longest war? Nope. It looks like President Joe Biden and the US Congress are intent on ensuring that the militarism spending continues to increase nonetheless. With the Afghanistan War in the rearview mirror, the Washington, DC politicians and the special interests who gain from foreign interventions, including war, are now focused on new “monsters to destroy,” just as the people running the show in DC were focused when the Cold War wound down.

In a Sunday The Intercept article, Peter Maass provided details regarding how politicians in Washington, DC appear to be ensuring there again will be no peace dividend, with legislation making its way through Congress that directs military spending to increase next year despite the ending of the Afghanistan War. You can read Maass’s article here.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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