Biden’s foreign policy bungling is creating a massive long-term crisis

If a hostile power were secretly influencing US foreign and domestic policy in order to weaken us and our war-making capacity, what would it be seeking that is different from what is currently being pursued? The question is worth keeping in mind, especially since the FBI is so fiercely resisting transparency on what is reported to be a tip from a source found credible in the past alleging the receipt of $5 million by members of the Biden family from a foreign source.

US policy toward the war between Russia and Ukraine has been a disaster. Even if you are among those who see the Russian invasion as completely unprovoked (ignoring Putin’s many warnings about extending NATO to Ukraine) and in need of US support for Ukraine, the United States’ responses are having disastrous consequences for us, not to mention the Ukrainian people, who are suffering under hideous bombardment as the war drags on and the US objects to peace negotiations.

The drawdown of our stock of weaponry, especially munitions, is very worrisome.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has said that the United States’ munitions production capacity is pushed to the “absolute edge.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley has said that the nation “has a long ways to go” to replenish its sorely depleted stockpiles.

One unnamed Pentagon official allegedly told the Wall Street Journal that the nation’s stores of critical artillery rounds were “uncomfortably low” as early as August of last year.

The Pentagon declined to provide an update to the Epoch Times on the status of its current munition stockpiles, with one spokesperson saying that providing any specifics on the matter could jeopardize “operational security.”

That last comment is not very reassuring. Nor is the bragging about recent increases in production:

“Of note, the department has enabled a rapid increase in 155mm ammo production, from approximately 14,000 a month in February 2022 to over 20,000 a month more recently, with plans to produce more than 70,000 a month in 2025,” the spokesperson told the Epoch Times.

“This represents a 500 percent increase.”

There’s just one problem with the Pentagon’s rosy outlook on its quickly dwindling stockpiles: Even with a 500 percent increase in production by 2027, the nation would still only be halfway to keeping afloat.

That’s because, by the end of August of last year, the United States had already sent just over 800,000 155mm artillery rounds to Ukraine. That number has since increased to more than two million, according to a fact sheet provided to the Epoch Times by the Pentagon.

That’s a rate of more than 130,000 rounds per month. Nearly twice as much as the proposed production rate of 70,000 that the Pentagon hopes to achieve in five years..

Will Schryver, a defense analyst who is critical of the Ukraine war’s conduct, tweets slightly more optimistic US production figures:

The Pentagon proudly announced that US artillery ammunition production is now up to 30k rounds PER MONTH, and they hope to double that by 2025. The Russians average about 25k rounds of artillery ammo PER DAY, with surge capacity to 75k rounds per day. And now the US is begging Japan to produce explosives for them, in order to supply the demand for US artillery shell production.

As China watches and calculates its own risks in a possible invasion of Taiwan, the drawdown of US munitions does not incline them toward peace. Weakness, including a lack of ammo, is provocative, as history amply demonstrates.

The embargo of Russia that the US has championed has done more harm to us than to Russia, which is prospering mightily thanks to the rise in oil prices that the embargo and the cutbacks in domestic production enforced by the Biden Administration since day one of his presidency have caused.

I am so old that I remember when the Reagan Administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative (caricatured as “Star Wars”) drove the USSR toward insolvency and ultimately to collapse. Now, the inept Biden Administration has reversed the process and is crippling our economy through deficit spending aggravated by vast expenditures for aid to Ukraine, while Russia is spending a comparative pittance. The following analysis comes from The Economist, which is hardly a stronghold of non-interventionists:

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 it has caused enormous damage. Thousands of people have died and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure has been destroyed in Ukraine. Yet all this damage has come at a relatively mild cost to Russia. As we have reported, its economy is holding up much better than almost anyone expected. And the direct fiscal cost of the war—what it is spending on men and machines—is surprisingly low.

As Business Insider summarizes:

The direct fiscal cost of the war — spending on soldiers and machines — is estimated to be about 3% of Russia's GDP, or roughly $67 billion a year, according to the report. That figure comes from a comparison of Moscow's pre-invasion spending forecasts for defense and security with what it actually spent.  

But most alarming to me is the emergence of what has the potential to become a dominant bloc of powers that could replace the system of alliances the US built-up following the end of World War Two. Consider that India, the world’s largest democracy, is playing footsie with Russia due to discounted oil sales (caused by the US embargo), despite the fact that China, its rival and border dispute antagonist, has also been pushed into a stronger alliance with Russia.

In fact, what might be termed a “Eurasian Bloc” of countries may be emerging as the US has alienated many of our Middle Eastern allies, despite our embargo of Russian oil enriching them with higher oil prices.   

Saudi Arabia, still reeling from Biden’s slap in its face over the murder of Khashoggi and (my guess) uncertain of the US’s ability to protect it, has re-established diplomatic relations with Iran. Iran is cooperating with Russia, and is even reported to have supplied Russia with certain drones it has manufactured based on US models that it has shot down.

The far more modern and moderate United Arab Emirates is also pulling back.  As the New York Times reports, the UAE has pulled back from a US-led maritime force.

The Emirati Foreign Ministry said the country “withdrew its participation” from the Combined Maritime Forces two months ago “as a result of our ongoing evaluation of effective security cooperation with all partners.”

The analyst who calls himself Moon of Alabama provides context:

The Saudis and the UAE, the later [sic] of which was never really enthusiastic about fighting Iran, have made their peace with it. They want and need economic development. 

They had found that U.S. policies were leading either nowhere or towards a full fledged war in the Gulf which probably would have hurt themselves more than Iran. They therefore no longer want to support U.S. measures designed to express hostility towards Iran.

Here is it straight from the pages of the Tehran Times:

UAE determined to boost relations with Iran: minister - Tehran Times - May 31, 2023

Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, who is a Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Tuesday.

The UAE’s minister emphasized Abu Dhabi’s determination to boost relations with the Islamic Republic, the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Turkey, which just re-elected its Islamist president Erdogan is also cozying up to Russia despite being a member of NATO.  Throw in the “Stans” – the Central Asian Republics – and you have a vast geographic bloc of nations stretching from North Korea to Eastern Europe moving away from the US and towards alignment with China and Russia, now thrown together by opposition to the Biden Administration’s embargo bullying and war-making.

The question with which this essay began remains relevant. What would an enemy determined to weaken the US   do differently, if able to influence our policy?

Big hat tip: Mark Wauck of Meaning in History

Graphic credit: Pixabay


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