La Jornada – Via Hollywood, the US promotes the culture of war

New York. The official war culture in America continues to be constantly nurtured through spectacular assassination missions, the resurrection of old enemies like Russia, and newer ones like China, but also with key help from Hollywood.

The Top Gun movie; Maverick has been by far the biggest commercial success of the summer with the return of its superstar Tom Cruise, an ode to the daring and funny military pilots who come together on a mission to destroy a nuclear plant in some unnamed country, produced by Hollywood with the support and approval of the Pentagon.

The Department of Defense has worked closely with Hollywood for nearly a century, and maintains entertainment relations offices in Los Angeles, charged with offering the use of military equipment and facilities in exchange for control of movie scripts, television and more, as in the case of the two Top Gun movies.

The Pentagon and the CIA have exercised direct control over more than 2,500 movies and television shows, wrote Roger Stahl, a communication professor at the University of Georgia and a specialist on the subject, in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. In many cases there are explicit contracts with the studios, producers and directors, including the approval of scripts and even the inclusion of “key points” prepared by officials as a condition for the use of military resources such as fighter planes, warships, etc. Much of this is not disclosed to the public, Stahl denounces.

Glen Roberts, head of the Pentagon office in Hollywood, told The Guardian that their mission is “to project and protect the image of our armed forces” and that they are currently working with approximately 130 productions of films, television programs, documentaries and more. annually. Movies like Black Hawk Down, Transformers and Iron Man among hundreds more enjoyed the direct cooperation of the Pentagon.

It’s also notable which requests for cooperation were turned down by the Pentagon, including two from director Oliver Stone – Platoon and Born on the 4th of July – and other legendaries with messages critical of war they didn’t even try, like Apocalypse Now and Dr. Strangelove.

Of course, pro-military propaganda has a long history in this country and the “health” version of wars – including those portrayed in movies and on television – is essential to justify the resources needed to keep the supreme global military power of the nation operating. history, including its nearly 800 military bases around the world and war/counterterrorism operations in 85 countries.

The United States is by far the country with the highest military spending in the world, more than what China, India, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan and South Korea spend combined.

In 2021, total US military spending was 801 billion dollars – part of the world military spending record that exceeded 2 trillion for the first time in history and in the midst of a pandemic, according to figures from the SIPRI military research center.

In recent days, a great contest continues among legislators to continue increasing the White House proposal for military spending in 2022 and 2023 to unprecedented levels.

At the same time, it follows the war policy of the United States every day, against new and old -sometimes they are the same- enemies and in the face of constant and infinite threats.

Last weekend, Commander-in-Chief Joe Biden had the opportunity to declare a military victory by announcing from the White House that the United States had assassinated Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Al Qaeda, with a coordinated drone strike. by the CIA in Kabul, proclaiming that “justice has been delivered” and warning: “no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and we will nullify you.”

The attack was met with bipartisan praise for Biden. Perhaps most notably, as has been the case since the declaration of the “war on terror,” hardly anyone questioned whether or not such operations in other sovereign countries violate international norms and laws.

The automatic justification for the “war on terror” of the last 21 years remains part of the accepted official rhetoric as part of Washington’s self-proclaimed right to defend its “national security” in any corner of the world.

But apparently the war on terror is no longer the preferred one now that Russia has been resurrected as the main enemy, followed, in second place, by China.

There is a curious return to the outmoded paradigms of the cold war including the revival of alliances of that time. In fact, this Wednesday the approval by the Senate of the proposal for the inclusion of Sweden and Finland in NATO was celebrated as a triumphant bipartisan act.

But it is China, according to the consensus among the leadership, that represents the real challenge to US supremacy in the world, and in the face of this, the United States is hesitating on how to approach the emerging superpower without even having a clear geopolitical strategy, and with it going back to the same cold war logic.

But, as the economist Joseph Stiglitz warned in La Jornada, “if the United States is going to embark on a new cold war, it has to understand what it needs to win it…. The United States will know how to make the best bombers and missile systems in the world, but here they will be of no use to us. On the contrary, we have to offer developing and emerging countries concrete help”. Furthermore, the United States has to regain its credibility and demonstrate its leadership capacity, he said, and “the first step is to reduce gun violence, improve environmental regulation, combat inequality and racism, and protect the reproductive rights of women.” women. Until we have shown that we deserve to lead, we cannot expect others to follow.” [].

Maybe Hollywood could help with that.

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