In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Fidel Castro: The empire and the robots

Posted by smeddum on August 21, 2009

The empire and the robots

Havana. August 19, 2009

(Taken from CubaDebate) Granma

A little while ago, I wrote about U.S. plans to impose the absolute superiority of its air force as an instrument of domination over the rest of the world. I mentioned the project of that country possessing more than 1,000 state-of-the-art F-22 and F-35 bombers and fighter planes in its fleet of 2,500 military aircraft. By 20 years later, the totality of its warplanes will be robot-operated.
Military budgets always have the majority support of U.S. legislators. There are very few states where employment is not at least partially dependent on the defense industry.
On a global level and constant value, military costs have doubled in the last 10 years, as if no danger of crisis existed at all. At this juncture it is the most prosperous industry on the planet.
In 2008, approximately $1.5 trillion was invested in defense budgets. Forty-two percent of world spending on defense, or $607 billion, corresponded to the United States, not including war expenditures, while the number of hungry in the world reached the figure of one billion people.
A Western news agency reported two days ago that in mid-August the U.S. army exhibited a remote-controlled helicopter, as well as robots capable of doing the work of sappers, 2,500 of which have been sent to combat zones.
A robot marketing company maintained that new technologies are revolutionizing the ways of commanding war. It has been published that in 2003 the United States had next to no robots in its arsenal but “today it has — according to AFP — 10,000 ground vehicles and 7,000 aircraft, from the little Raven, which can be launched with one hand, to the giant Global Hawk, a spy plane of 13 meters in length and 35 in wingspan capable of flying at a great height for 35 hours.” Other weapons are listed in that dispatch.
While that colossal expenditure on technologies for killing is taking place in the United States, the president of that country is sweating blood in order to bring health services to 50 million U.S. citizens who lack them. The confusion is so great that the new president affirmed that reform of the health system was closer than ever but “the battle is turning ugly.”
“But now’s the hard part,” he added. “Because the history is clear – every time we come close to passing health insurance reform, the special interests with a stake in the status quo use their influence and political allies to scare and mislead the American people.”
It is a true fact that in Los Angeles, 8,000 people – the majority of them unemployed, according to the press – gathered in a stadium to receive medical attention from a free traveling clinic that provides services in the Third World. Most of them had waited there overnight. Some of them had traveled from hundreds of kilometers away.
“‘What do I care if it’s socialist or not? We are the only country in the world where the most vulnerable of us have nothing,’ said a woman from a black neighborhood and with higher education.”
It was noted that a “blood test could cost $500 and routine dental treatment more than $1,000.”
What hope can that society offer the world?
Congressional lobbyists are spending their August working against a simple bill that is an attempt to provide medical care to tens of millions of poor people — the vast majority of them black or Latino — who lack that service. Even a blockaded country like Cuba has been able to do that and, moreover, cooperate with dozens of Third World countries.
If robots in the hands of the transnationals can replace the imperial soldiers in wars of conquest, who will detain the transnationals in the search for markets for their artifacts? Just as they have inundated the world with automobiles that are now competing with humans for the consumption of non-renewable energy and even for foodstuffs converted into fuel, they can also inundate it with robots that will displace millions of workers in their workplaces.
Better still, scientists can likewise design robots capable of governing; thus sparing the government and Congress of the United States that horrible, contradictory and confused labor.
No doubt they would do it better and more cheaply.

Fidel Castro Ruz
August 19, 2009
3:15 p.m.

Translated by Granma International

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