Ukraine—How Trump Has Made Us Losers By Howard Bloom

Politics, World

There is a fight in America between those who want Russia to win its loathsome war in Ukraine and those who want Russia to lose.  The top cheer leader for a Russian victory is former President Donald Trump. 

Mr. Trump controls the Republicans in Congress.   A bill to give $38 billion to Ukraine has passed the Senate with 22 Republican votes but has been stalled in Congress by House speaker Mike Johnson, who it appears is following Mr. Trump’s orders. 

Former president Trump has called those in Congress and the Senate who have approved $75 billion worth of aid so far “suckers.” 

Trump’s funding blockade has forced the White House and the Pentagon to find pockets of money that can be sent to Ukraine despite Congress’ paralysis.  The latest maneuver the Department of Defense is considering involves dipping into four billion dollars’ worth of drawdown funds allocated for the Ukraine by the White House.

What are drawdown funds and why hasn’t the Pentagon already tapped them?  In a drawdown, the American military can send four billion dollars’ worth of weapons from its own stockpiles to the Ukraine. 

But that leaves America less prepared for war.  Less prepared, for example, for a war to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion. 

Using the drawdown would leave the military dependent on Congress to pass the foreign aid bill Congress is blocking, the bill that includes $38 billion for Ukraine. Only that foreign aid bill would give our military the money to replace the weapons our Army, Navy, and Air Force shipped to Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s orders to Congress to stop money going to the Ukraine is killing Ukrainians.  Thirty eight Ukrainian soldiers a day are dying in the war to repel Russia. 

Yes, lack of money means lives lost on the battlefield.  For example, at the start of Putin’s invasion, the Russians were firing artillery shells at the rate of 60,000 a day.  The Ukrainians were doing their best to counter that by firing back a mere one fifteenth of the Russian total, a measly 4,000 artillery shells.  And even those mere 4,000 were hard to come by. 

But there was no shell shortage among the Russians. Why?  Russia has put its economy on a war footing and now spends 40% of its government budget on its war machine.  In other words, Russia has turned itself into an ammunition-making monster.  

Then there’s Russia’s ability to buy weapons from its allies.  The most important of those allies has been Iran, which has supplied 300,000 artillery shells and a million other pieces of ammunition in just the last six months.  

And recently Russia made a deal with another ally, North Korea.  The Russians are selling their expertise in ballistic missile and space technology, technology aimed at our cities, plus freight-train-loads of food in exchange for North Korean artillery shells.  

That’s why the Russians can afford to outgun the Ukrainians by as much as ten to one. 

The most direct result of the halt of American dollars to the Ukraine was the loss last week of the town of Avdiivka and several other tiny villages, territories the Ukrainians had been defending for ten years. 

Yes, House speaker Mike Johnson, former president Donald Trump, and their allies in Congress lost Avdiivka.  They proved that we are weak.  Or, to use a word from Mr. Trump, they proved that we are losers.  

But there is an even more fundamental source of weakness.  We think of ourselves as the most powerful nation on earth, able to outgun any other country or alliance.  We feel we are so powerful that no other nation would dare attack our cities. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is proving that we are wrong.  We are not equipped for war. To fight off the Russians, Ukraine needs 300,000 artillery shells a month. We can only manufacture 28,000.  That’s less than three days’ worth of ammunition. Per month.

And our European partners are even farther behind.  They can only manufacture two-and-a-half days’ worth of ammunition a month.

Which means that the longer the Ukrainians can hold the Russians off, the better it is for us.  Why?  Because it will take years for us to ramp up our production of vital munitions like artillery shells to the point where we could enter a war and win it.  

For example, to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion.  Or to defend all of Europe from the Russians.  

Not to mention to defend our cities.

References: 

https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2024/02/newly-ordered-european-155mm-shells-take-year-or-more-reach-ukraine-estonian-official-says/394146/

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Ukraine-war/North-Korea-sent-more-than-3m-artillery-shells-to-Russia-says-Seoul

https://ukranews.com/en/news/987757-north-korea-could-already-supply-about-3-million-artillery-shells-to-russia

https://www.politico.eu/article/ukrainian-army-suffers-from-artillery-shell-hunger/

https://www.politico.com/live-updates/2024/02/27/congress/gops-evolving-ukraine-stance-00143623

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/us-aims-make-100000-artillery-shells-per-month-2025-us-official-says-2023-09-15/

https://apnews.com/article/putin-russia-republicans-ukraine-europe-trump-fbe56b789e7c37313ec158a00a571be4

https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/28/politics/pentagon-considering-tapping-last-source-ukraine-funding

https://www.cnn.com/2024/02/12/politics/senate-foreign-aid-bill-ukraine/index.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/acute-artillery-shortage-is-hampering-russias-offensive-in-east-ukraine-western-officials-say-6f2fb94a

______

Howard Bloom of the Howard Bloom Institute has been called the Einstein, Newton, and Freud of the 21st century by Britain’s Channel 4 TV.  One of his seven books–Global Brain—was the subject of a symposium thrown by the Office of the Secretary of Defense including representatives from the State Department, the Energy Department, DARPA, IBM, and MIT.  His work has been published in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Psychology Today, and the Scientific American.  He does news commentary at 1:06 am Eastern Time every Wednesday night on 545 radio stations on Coast to Coast AM.  For more, see http://howardbloom.institute.

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