Cy Twombly Fifty Days at Iliam: Like a Fire that Consumes All before It 1978
Andrew Korybko has more time to write articles than I do these days. And I must transfer his Word files to my own editor. Not obvious. What can I say? I don’t like Bill Gates. Plus, I need to find a new apartment here in Athens, a perfectly affordable place until recently, where now real estate agents seem to think they live in Manhattan. It just takes so much time… Andrew:
Speculation has been swirling over the past month about why the US-led West’s Golden Billion so decisively shifted its “official narrative” about the Ukrainian Conflict from prematurely celebrating Kiev’s supposedly “inevitable” victory to seriously warning about its potential loss in this proxy war. This took the form of related remarks from the Polish Prime Minister, President, and Army Chief as well as the US’ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after which the New York Times admitted that the sanctions failed.
The reason why they decided to so decisively shift the “official narrative” was because NATO’s military-industrial crisis, which the New York Times warned about last November and was then touched upon by Biden’s Naval Secretary last month, finally became undeniable. Putting all prior speculation about this to rest, NATO’s Secretary-General declared a so-called “race of logistics” against Russia on Monday precisely on this pretext and thus confirmed the bloc’s crippling military-industrial crisis.
According to the transcript of Jens Stoltenberg’s pre-ministerial press conference that was shared by NATO’s official website ahead of his meeting with this anti-Russian alliance’s Defense Ministers, he said the following of relevance to this subject:
“It is clear that we are in a race of logistics. Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel, and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield.
Ministers will also focus on ways to increase our defence industrial capacity and replenish stockpiles. The war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of munitions, and depleting Allied stockpiles. The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production. This puts our defence industries under strain.
For example, the waiting time for large-calibre ammunition has increased from 12 to 28 months.
Orders placed today would only be delivered two-and-a-half years later. So we need to ramp up production. And invest in our production capacity.
Well, this is an issue we started to address last year, because we saw that an enormous amount of support for Ukraine, the only way to deliver that was to dig into our existing stocks. But of course, in the long run, we cannot continue to do that we need to produce more, to be able to deliver sufficient ammunition to Ukraine, but at the same time, ensure that we have enough ammunition to protect and defend all NATO Allies, every inch of Allied territory.
Of course, in the short run, the industry can increase production by having more shifts, by using existing production facilities more. But really to have a significant increase, they need to invest and build new plans. And we see a combination both of utilizing existing capacity more and also by making decisions to invest in increased capacity. This has started but we need more.
So what I said was that the current rate of ammunition consumption is higher, bigger than the current rate of production. That’s a factual thing. But since we have been aware of that for some time, we have started to do something. We’re not just sitting there idle and watching this happening. …
And of course the industry has the capability to increase the production also short term, sometimes this on some non-used or not utilized capability there. But even when you have a factory running, you can have more shifts. You can even work during weekends.
So yes, we have a challenge. Yes, we have a problem. But problems are there to be solved and we are addressing that problem and we have strategies to solve it both in the short term and also longer term to as a mobilized defense industry. And if there’s anything NATO Allies, and our economies and our societies have proved over decades, is that we are dynamic, we are adaptable, we can change when needed.
And let me also add, of course this is –the challenge of having enough ammunition is also a big challenge for Russia. So it just shows that this is a war of attrition, and the war to attrition becomes a battle of logistics and we focus on the logistical part of the defence capacity, defence industry capacity to ramp up production.”
As proven by Stoltenberg’s press conference, there should thus be no doubt that NATO is experiencing an unprecedented military-industrial crisis, which is responsible for reshaping its members’ narratives and overall strategy towards the Ukrainian Conflict.
This self-declared “race of logistics”, which he also described as a “war of attrition”, first of all proves that the bloc wasn’t prepared for waging a prolonged proxy war against Russia otherwise they’d have preemptively retooled their military-industrial complexes accordingly. The New York Times’ recent admission that the anti-Russian sanctions are a failure also suggests that NATO completely miscalculated in this respect by expecting Russia to collapse as a result of those restrictions, which didn’t happen.
These two factors add crucial context to why the Golden Billion’s “official narrative” about the conflict so decisively shifted over the past month. They simply can’t sustain the pace, scale, and scope of their armed assistance to Kiev, especially not after their much-ballyhooed sanctions failed to catalyze Russia’s economic collapse or at the very least give their proxy an edge in this “race of logistics”/”war of attrition”. As a result, they were forced to change how they present this conflict to their people.
Most tellingly, the Polish President didn’t rule out the scenario of Kiev making territorial concessions to Russia in his recent interview with Le Figaro, which he said should solely be that country’s choice to make and not anti-war Republicans’. Even Stoltenberg let slip during his latest press conference that “we must continue to provide Ukraine with what it needs to win. And to achieve a just and sustainable peace”, which also didn’t include his usual explicit condemnation of the territorial concession scenario.
That selfsame “just and sustainable peace”, according to the Jerusalem Post’s Dave Anderson, can actually be achieved by Kiev finally giving up its territorial claims. In his opinion piece about how “Ukraine can win against Russia by giving up land, not killing troops”, which was coincidentally published on the same day as Stoltenberg’s press conference, he argued that this swift resolution of Ukraine’s territorial disputes with Russia could result in its accelerated admission to NATO.
That outcome would thus sustainably ensure its security, thereby representing a victory over Russia, at least according to Anderson’s view. In the broader context of this analysis and in particular the interpretation of Stoltenberg’s remarks from his latest press conference, his article can thus be seen as the latest contribution to decisively shifting the “official narrative” about the Ukrainian Conflict in the direction of preconditioning the Western public to accept some sort of “compromise” with Russia.
All of this, the reader should be reminded, is occurring because of NATO’s military-industrial crisis hamstringing its members’ capabilities to sustain their bloc’s pace, scale, and scope of armed assistance to Kiev. Their “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” against Russia is obviously trending towards Moscow’s favor after that Eurasian Great Power proved that it truly has the wherewithal to sustain the pace, scale, and scope of its special operation in spite of the Golden Billion’s unparalleled sanctions against it.
If someone still remained in denial about the existence of NATO’s military-industrial crisis in spite of Stoltenberg’s surprisingly candid admission on Monday, then they should also be made aware of Politico’s exclusive report that was published on the same day, which reinforced his claim. Four unnamed US officials told this outlet that their country can’t send Kiev its requested “Army Tactical Missile Systems” (ATACMS) because “it doesn’t have any [of them] to spare”.
This revelation should thus serve as the proverbial “icing on the cake” proving that NATO is in the midst of such a serious military-industrial crisis right now that its US leader itself can’t even afford to spare important munitions that could give its proxies in Kiev the edge that they so desperately need right now. What’s so stunning about this strategic dynamic is that the combined military-industrial capabilities of the bloc’s two and a half dozen countries can’t compete with their single Russian adversary’s.
That insight in turn shows just how mighty Russia’s military-industrial complex is that it’s still capable of sustaining the same pace, scale, and scope of the ongoing special operation in Ukraine despite the sanctions against it while 30 Golden Billion countries can’t collectively do the same. Should its rumored full-scale offensive transpire, then it’s likely to deal a deathblow to NATO’s proxies due to Russia’s edge in this “race of logistics”/”war of attrition” and thus force them to finally cede their disputed regions.
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