Human survival is most at risk from two threats: environmental disaster and war. The two are closely linked, so much so that if you care about one, you can’t ignore the other.
First, because militarism is hostile to the environment. The US is the biggest villain in that department, with the Pentagon being the worst institutional polluter on the planet, more than 140 countries combined. That’s not just from flying drones, driving tanks and moving around fleets of ships; it’s also from heating, cooling, powering and otherwise keeping up nearly 800 bases around the world, and from feeding, clothing and outfitting at least 1.3 million active personnel. Additionally, the military is also responsible for an untold amount of toxic waste, some of it radioactive, at an uncountable number of locations around the world, including 900 superfund sites in the US.
Secondly, US warmongering is a significant roadblock to the kind of one-for-all/all-for-one global cooperation that’s needed to tackle the multiple environmental crises we are facing, from climate change to agricultural pollution to habitat destruction. Everyone is constantly kept on edge by the big bully who doesn’t want to see anybody acting independently. Sanctions, coups, missile strikes and full-on invasions are among the all-too-common punishments for those who dare try, as recent news bears out.
US militarism fits the description of imperialism. That’s an unpopular word in the US, but to any honest student of history, it is clear that the US is a indeed bona fide empire. No, it’s not the same shape as the British Empire, but that one was in turn different from Napoleon’s or Alexander’s or Genghis Khan’s. Each takes its own form.
In the case of the US, “empire” refers not just to the nation’s role in the world, but also to the circumstance of its existence on the North American continent. The area was invaded by several European powers starting in the 16th Century and most of the original inhabitants were killed or driven off and their land stolen. But this is not merely a set of events in the past; it is an ongoing reality. The “Indian Wars” never ended.
What we label as “the United States” is not a legitimate nation but an illegal occupation.