Pentagon’s “Full-Spectrum Dominance” Facing Headwinds

According to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who has derided European contributions to NATO in the past, the public and political oppositions in Europe to military action represent an impediment to operations in Afghanistan and, as the New York Times referred to the policy of which Afghanistan is a small part, “the alliance’s broader security goals.” ((Brian Knowlton. “Gates Calls European Mood A Danger to Peace.” 2/23/10, New York Times.))

(From Wikipedia): Full spectrum dominance refers to an open Pentagon policy, whereby a joint military complex strives to control all elements of the battle space using land, air, maritime and space based assets. Full-spectrum dominance encompasses air, surface and sub-surface, as well as the electromagnetic spectrum and information space. Control implies the subordination of all opposition forces, rendering their ability to confront the Pentagon and its allies wholly inhibited.

Harold Pinter referred to the policy as he accepted the 2005 Nobel Prize award:

I have said earlier that the United States is now totally frank about putting its cards on the table. That is the case. Its official declared policy is now defined as ‘full spectrum dominance’. That is not my term, it is theirs. ‘Full spectrum dominance’ means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources.

“The demilitarization of Europe—where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it—has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st century,” Gates told NATO officers and officials in a speech at the National Defense University, a graduate school, financed by the Defense Department, for military officers and diplomats.

Gates argued that perceived European weakness could lead to aggression by hostile powers.

“Right now,” Mr. Gates said, “the alliances face very serious, long-term, systemic problems.”

Three days before Mr. Gates’s comments, the coalition government of the Netherlands collapsed over the keeping of Dutch troops in Afghanistan. It is now likely that most of the 2,000 Dutch troops there will be withdrawn this year. Polls show that the Afghanistan war has become increasingly unpopular in nearly every European country.

In Germany, a recent poll suggested that 76 percent did not believe the NATO exercise would succeed, while 65 percent opposed sending any more troops. ((Quentin Peel in Berlin. “European nations unite over Dutch withdrawal.” 2/23/2010, Financial Times.))

“We have a clear strategy,” said Ulrich Wilhelm, the government spokesman. On Friday, Germany’s plan of reinforcing its 4,500 troops in Afghanistan by 500, with a further 350 available for temporary deployment, will be up for vote in the Bundestag.

To be sure, public opinion in Germany is more negative than in the Netherlands. The government strategy, nevertheless, is backed by the opposition Social Democrats, who were responsible for first sending German troops to Afghanistan.

Top figures in the SPD have stated that there will be no “blank cheque” for further reinforcements.

President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, still refuses to send more troops to Afghanistan and it seems the Dutch decision will not change that. France currently has 3,250 soldiers in Afghanistan and 150 gendarmes.

Mr. Sarkozy’s refusal to send troop reinforcements has been due to a combination of hostile public opinion, as polls continually show most French want their troops out, as well as impending local elections.

In Spain, a December poll showed 48 percent thought a government decision to send an extra 500 troops was either “bad” or “very bad,” while just 22 percent were in favor.

The U.S. Defense Secretary highlighted that NATO shortfalls, such as a lack of finances for needed helicopters and cargo aircraft, were “directly impacting operations.”

Alliance members, he warned, are far from reaching their spending commitments, as only 5 of 28 members have reached the established target of 2 percent of GDP towards defense. The United States spends more than 4 percent of GDP on military.

“Whether this is a conscious statement to sound a real sharp warning, there’s no question that the frustration among the American military establishment is palpable regarding coalition operations in Afghanistan,” Dana Allin, a senior fellow with the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, said.

Mr. Gates noted, however, that NATO troops in Afghanistan were, in fact, scheduled to increase to 50,000 this year, up from 30,000 last year.

“By any measure,” he said, “that is an extraordinary feat.”

Only a mere two months into the year, nevertheless, NATO was short hundreds of millions of euros: “a natural consequence of having underinvested in collective defense for over a decade,” Gates pointed out.

NATO has been under increasing pressure since 9/11 to expand its mandate beyond European borders, and its current problems demand “serious, far-reaching and immediate reforms,” Mr. Gates said.

Just last month, the secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, turned unexpectedly to Russia to request helicopters for use in Afghanistan, citing the benefits of reduced terrorism threats and drug trade on a border of the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Rasmussen echoed Mr. Gates’s sentiments, saying that NATO’s members needed to better coordinate their weapons purchases. The European Union and NATO should coordinate on weapons purchases so as to avoid “spending double money.”

What Gates did fail to note, however, is the lack of support for the war, not only among Europeans, but also among those he supposedly represents:

An August 2009 poll in the Washington Post reported that a majority of Americans do not believe the war in Afghanistan is worth fighting, while just a quarter believe more U.S. troops should be sent to the country. This was before the troop escalation, approved by President Obama, which corresponded with his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance. ((Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen. “Public Opinion in U.S. Turns Against Afghan War.” 8/20/2009, Washington Post.))

U.S. citizens demonstrate an overall mistrust of government.

According to a recent CBS News-New York Times poll, only eight percent of U.S. citizens want the members of congress re-elected. 80 percent, moreover, said members of Congress are more interested in serving special interests than the people they “represent.” 75% disapprove of the job Congress is doing. President Obama, whose approval rating has dropped precipitously in recent months, has an approval rating of just 46 percent. ((Jonathon D. Salant. Few Want Members of Congress Re-elected, Poll finds. Bloomberg, 2/12/2010.))

Most astoundingly, perhaps, 75% of citizens are in favor of having the Federal Reserve, the nation’s privately-held—historically secretive—banking system, audited and investigated. ((Rasmussen Reports.))

Establishment policies, generally, have had a tough go at it recently. The Copenhagen meetings fell apart due, in part, to the Climategate scandal, whereby leaked documents by leading climate scientists revealed that much of the data regarding Global “Warming” was unscientific and contrived.

In a short excerpt in the Wall Street Journal called “Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel,” the journal exposed the scandal on its front page:

The IPCC has faced withering criticism. Emails hacked from a U.K. climate lab and posted online late last year appear to show scientists trying to squelch researchers who disagreed with their conclusion that humans are largely responsible for climate change. And last month, the IPCC admitted its celebrated 2007 report contained an error: a false claim that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. The IPCC report got the date from a World Wildlife Fund report.

Even some who agree with the IPCC conclusion that humans are significantly contributing to climate change say the IPCC has morphed from a scientific analyst to a political actor. “It’s very much an advocacy organization that’s couched in the role of advice,” says Roger Pielke, a University of Colorado political scientist. He says many IPCC participants want “to compel action” instead of “just summarizing science.”

To restore its credibility, the IPCC will focus on enforcing rules already on the books, IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri and other officials said in interviews. Scientific claims must be checked with several experts before being published. IPCC reports must reflect disagreements when consensus can’t be reached. And people who write reports must refrain from advocating specific environmental actions—a political line the IPCC isn’t supposed to cross.

An accompanying poll showed that 82% of the readership awarded the IPCC an F for the work they had been doing. Despite this, climate change legislation, such as cap-and-trade and other forms of regulation, will continue to be implemented against popular sentiment. ((Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson. “Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel.” 2/26/2010, Wall Street Journal.))

A majority of citizens across Western nations refused H1N1 inoculation this past winter and spring. Well-documented are the health concerns, such as the ingredients mercury and squalene—to name but a few issues surrounding the vaccines—found in the shots. ((Some statistics can be found here.))

These actions, concepts and policies, from military strategy to public health initiatives, do arguably fall under the America’s grand strategy of Full Spectrum Dominance, first revealed in the 1998 U.S. Space Command document Vision for 2020, and released once more in 2002 as the DoD Joint Vision 2020. Dominance over all land, surface and sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information systems, including the ability to overwhelmingly win global wars against any adversary—including the use of nuclear weapons preemptively—is forged by way of propaganda, the wealth and unaccountability of NGOs, Color Revolutions for regime change, expanding NATO eastward, and “a vast array of psychological and economic warfare techniques.” ((Stephen Lendman. “Reviewing F. William Engdahl’s “Full Spectrum Dominance: Part I.” 6/22/2009.))

Justin O'Connell blogs at The Handshake Times. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Justin.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. kalidas said on February 27th, 2010 at 10:33am #

    How long might Russia resist arming the Taliban?
    Tit for tat?
    New and improved RPG’s.
    Hand held Iglas or the like.
    Life (and death) could become very difficult very quickly, for NATO/USA. Far more than it is now.
    The people, though no longer waving flags with inspired enthusiasm, will balk when the casualty rates start rising as fast as the dollar keeps dropping.

    P.S. Last I knew, MAD is still in effect,
    full-spectrum dominance or not.

  2. bozh said on February 27th, 2010 at 10:55am #

    The latest US revelation confirms my longstanding view that nato-US is in afghanistan solely for land and everyrithing in or on it.
    It wasnt much of guess. No war was waged for anything else but profit.
    It is also well known that deluded people can be very easily deluded in believing in anything but that.

    Some people get upset with my suggestion that pashtuns cannot win. But even if they win, most pashtuns might remain serfs anyway. An dnot only to their aghas an dothe rhigh life but also to their imams, mullahs, ulema.

    Sounds to me like flipping from fire to frying pan. And isnt that what
    the warlords of afghanistan are fighting for? tnx

  3. MichaelKenny said on February 27th, 2010 at 11:08am #

    I’m glad to see that the idea is slowly taking root that Europe is not in America’s pocket, as Empire propagandists constantly claim. Military matters are just one small part of the widening gulf, but it says a lot about the modern US that that is the domain which American commentators, of all political persuasions, have noticed. What has kept European leaders in Afghanistan is fear of US retaliation, such as the current attack on Greece, the earlier, essentially unsuccessful, attack on Latvia and the US-funded campaign against the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland. Fifth generation warfare, you might say! European leaders also fear a Republican victory in 2012. Thus, they want to see Obama re-elected and are doing the strict minimum to play along with him until that is achieved. You should also note European stalling over Iran, the ongoing strengthening of ties within Europe between the EU and Russia and of course, disagreements over trade policy, the environment, Georgia and a whole host of other things. And, of course, there’s the European Parliament’s refusal, on privacy grounds, to approve the treaty allowing the US government access to the Swift financial transfer system and the EU Court of Justice’s decision that goods manufactured in West Bank settlements are not made in Israel and therefore cannot be imported into the EU under the EU-Israel Trade Agreement. America’s pocket seems to have a lot of holes!

  4. lichen said on February 27th, 2010 at 2:32pm #

    No, actually, the so-called “climategate” scandal involved a few scientists sending some emails between themselves that might call into question up to three lines of the data put out by those individual scientists. The overall science behind global warming is a compendium of thousands of peer reviewed, verified scientific papers coming out from all around the world. The consolidated right wing media, in tow to the billion dollar PR departments of the oil, gas, coal industries and big business of course made that into a big propaganda piece so they can continue destroying the world.

    And wow, we are suppose to be impressed that the right wing american buisness class that reads the wall-street journal and don’t know a damn thing about science and most definitely never read a single line of the IPCC reports give an arbitrary, stupid grade to distinguished scientists? All throughout the world, the idea of climate justice is very popular among citizens groups; too bad you only listen to the washington post and wall street journal.

  5. bozh said on February 27th, 2010 at 4:11pm #

    No, US/nato had not invaded afgh’n to liberate helen nor jennifer.
    Some women in canada actually thought or actually dissembled that our brave soldiers were liberating afghan women.
    They are quiet now after learning how their afghan hero warlords treat them!
    Of course none of these women went to afgh’n to liberate any woman.

  6. bozh said on February 27th, 2010 at 4:14pm #

    Oh, i forgot to say God Bless Venezuella, China, N.Korea, Vietnam, El Kuba, Bolivia. If they turn fascist, well, i’ll jsut curse them!

  7. mary said on March 2nd, 2010 at 9:02am #

    Billions of Dollars in Cash Leave Afghanistan

    Plainly our occupation of Afghanistan is so successful in promoting the country’s economy that there is too much money around. As the Washington Post reports, in a two month period 180 million dollars in cash was declared as it was carried out through Kabul airport, mostly to Dubai.

    What is strange is the Washington Post’s estimate of the outflow as “Over 1 billion dollars per year”. 180 milion dollars in two months is already a rate of over 2 billion dollars per year. As the Washington Post report does acknowledge, that is the tip of the iceberg. Much exported cash is undeclared or under-declared, and the regime insiders send out their cash unchecked and undeclared through the VIP lounge. The real figure is certainly much higher than 2 billion dollars.

    That is not including money sent out through Swiss banks or by wire transfer.

    Nice to know that our soldiers are dying, and our taxes being spent, to protect such a thriving and active government.


    A sensible comment from Strategist leads me to explain something. Very little of this money will be drug money. The idea that Afghanistan is awash in drugs money is a myth. The large drugs warlords – mostly Karzai government members or affiliates – export the heroin and are paid OFFSHORE.

    Very little of the narcotics money ever enters Afghanistan – only the cash which is needed to pay local farmers and meet costs of conversion to heroin. I would estimate that only some 2 billion dollars per year from the heroin trade actually enters the Afghan economy, and that is widely dispersed.

    If, as the American official quoted comments, they don’t really know what is going on, it is because they don’t want to know what is going on.

    That is true in two senses – The USA is more than ever sheltering behind the figleaf of the puppet Karzai regime, so the extent of that regime’s looting must be kept quiet. Karzai won’t wait for the last US helicopter before leaving to spend more time with his money. But also the absence of any exchange controls is part of the neo-liberal economic policies inappropriately imposed on Afghanistan by the invading West.

    From the blog of the very well informed UK Ambasador to Uzbekistan.

  8. mary said on March 2nd, 2010 at 9:41am #

    Correction. Craig Murray is the ex-UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.