Autocratic NATO & Autocratic Ukraine in Autcratic War Against What They Say is Autocratic Russia.
Responsible Statecraft has recently run two interesting and potentially contradictory articles, one talking about NATO preparations for what I shall call the End of Times, and the other talking about how the USA, at least, is running out of weapons. The upshot is to confirm what critical commentators have been talking about for many months namely, that (1) the weapons stockpiles of the collective west are under pressure, (2) the armaments industry, raking in spectacular profits, can hardly lose, as demand for their stuff increases in conditions of both oligopoly and scarcity, (3) amidst growing public unease about how and why so much money is being spent on a cause that is becoming increasingly blurry, and unsatisfactory on the battlefield, all within the context (4) of a deeply undemocratic war machine.
Ian Davis, author of the first of these (Davis), places his discussion within what I would describe as the context of NATO as an anti-democratic war machine, with particular reference to the tri-annual meetings of its most senior generals. At its last meeting in May, Davis notes, these conversations were as usual shrouded in secrecy.
“None of the sessions were open to the public or media, and the only details that were made publicly available were included in a NATO news brief, as well as the transcript of some brief opening remarks by Admiral Bauer and Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the sessions, and the closing joint press conference. No details were provided on the two plenary discussions”.
In July, NATO’s political leaders have to approve thousands of pages of secret military plans as to how the alliance would respond to a Russian attack. Most of these, still classified, lack prior scrutiny by parliamentary bodies and independent experts. That these plans have significant implications for future investments and developments of national armed forces (in other words for the western armaments industry and military industrial Incubus), should be alarming to critical minds. The plans break down between The Concept for Deterrence and Defense of the Euro-Atlantic Area (DDA); Regional Plans; Functional Plans or Strategic Subordinate Plans (SSPs); Force Structure Requirements; and the Force Model. This latter sets out what is required to produce more troops at high readiness across NATO. The alliance agreed in 2022 to put 300,000 troops on high alert, up from 40,000 in the past.
In the second Responsible Statecraft article I want to mention, Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (Vahos) refers to a new Ukraine aid budget debate that is on the horizon just as the US depletes the last one and as Pentagon stockpiles ruin dry. $36.4 billion of the $48.9 billion allocated since February 2022 has been delivered, contracted, or “otherwise committed.” The remaining $11.3 billion is expected to last another four months. Another $1.2 billion was commited a week ago. The money will be distributed to U.S. defense contractors for (much?) later shipment. In addition, the Presidential Drawdown Authority allows for direct shipment from Pentagon stockpiles, of which there have been 37, valued at $21 billion since August 2021 when the U.S. first responded to Russian forces massing along the border with Ukraine (My italics). But recent reports indicate that American stockpiles have been shrinking and manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand, which is why the US has been trying to acquire additional weapons pledges from allies and partners. Without them, it is feared, Ukraine with be under-supplied for both its counteroffensive and whatever follows it. The money to draw down existing U.S. stockpiles will expire in July. There are indications of growing resistance in Congress and among the public to yet more gifting of aid to Ukraine, something which may be seen as a threat, or as a cause, in the context of the 2024 presidential election.