James Fallows observes that, “The same people — same individuals, same organizations, same publications, same blog sites – that ginned up a war with Iraq, and that have supported ginning up a war with Iran, are settling in for a longer term confrontation with China.” He advises that they be “judged on their track record.” Fair enough.
John Cole, though, sees something more sinister than bad predictions at work.
These little wars we are fighting with conventional weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq- those pay the bills for the defense contractors and their friends for now. But the real money, as anyone will tell you, is in the long wars. They need hostile relations with China to keep the big money and the big contracts and the weapons research flowing. When the Iraq insurgency finally burns itself out or we finally get the willpower to withdraw, they will need a hot zone in China to keep justifying 500+ billion a year in your money going to the machines of war.
I don’t doubt that there are people and corporations who are willing to urge war in order to line their pockets, although I think they are far, far fewer in number than commonly believed. There’s plenty of money to be made from the mere threat of war. Indeed, an ongoing war — the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan included — tends to tie up resources that might otherwise be used for procurement.
Regardless, Fallows is talking about Bill Kristol, specifically, and neoconservative bloggers, publications, and think tanks more generally. While I suppose they can garner more attention, sales, clickthroughs, or whathaveyou during wartime, I can’t imagine any of them are willing to sacrifice thousands of American lives on that bet. The much more plausible explanation for their advocating wars in Iraq, Iran, and China is a particular worldview rather than economic incentive.