General Tod Wolters, the dual-hatted top commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 13 as part of a review of the 2022 Pentagon authorization request and the Future Years Defense Program. He appeared primarily in his first capacity, though the two roles are coterminous. As top NATO commander he can requisition the military assets of thirty nations with a combined population of over one billion people.
Next year’s National Defense Authorization Act will include a base budget of $715 billion and a total allotment of $753 billion, in nominal dollars the largest military expenditure in the history of the world and in real dollars the most the Pentagon has been granted since the end of World War II.
Appearing with his military colleague General Stephen Lyons, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, Wolters was questioned by members of the committee in person in the Senate and via video. He was as blunt in his dedication to the military metaphysics (as C. Wright Mills phrased it) as were the senators, who acted as though they comprised an imperial sanhedrin presiding over a patchwork of conquered European provinces. They, like him, effortlessly tossed off initials and jargon like AOR, ISR and pacing threat as though they were old hands at war-making. As in a real sense they are….
Early in his testimony Wolters obediently mentioned the rules-based international order, the major catchphrase the U.S. and NATO employ in their crusade to remake the world in their image, with missiles and bombs if necessary.
New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, before questioning him, launched into a diatribe against “illiberal political forces” abroad and at home that make it more difficult to confront Russia – the overarching theme of the whole event in the Senate – echoing the comments made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the NATO foreign ministers meeting last month in which he spoke, as she did, of the need to “confront the democratic recession around the world”; as when he claimed that “Our shared values of democracy and human rights are being challenged – not only from outside our countries, but from within.”…