Tuesday, 5 July 2022 — The van says…
With no bullets to fire, and no food to eat, some nations will have to bite the bullet
A recent article covered the manpower issues presently facing Kiev, yet in spite of there being so few to pick up arms, those weapons are useless unless there is ordnance to fire. This article will examine yet another problem blighting both the Ukraine and potentially the West.
Locked in Combat
With Kiev having the absolute backing of the western establishment, the past few months have witnessed logistical efforts unseen since the Second World War as the West attempts to provision the Ukraine with arms and equipment. Every resource possible within the NATO arsenal has been exploited to the full, boats, trains and planes transporting arms to rear-echelon combat areas. A huge proportion of these have been used in the actions against Russian forces, but equally, a great number have fallen into the hands of Moscow’s westbound forces. The armies of the Donbass have also gained immense quantities of ordnance, these now being employed against their former owners.
There are a couple of problems that are becoming increasingly apparent however, these being that not only is the Ukraine still losing the war, but the West is also losing a huge proportion of certain weapons from its inventory. In the space of only four months, not only has the Ukraine become a de facto arms dump, but the weapons taken from western shelves can only be replaced over a matter of years.
Looking at the possibility of a larger war in Europe, this raises alarming possibilities, yet before we view this as a whole, we have to look at the situation piece by piece. The first issue is that the tactics employed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces have come straight from Kiev and in turn from the US. The very best intelligence and military brains that the West allegedly has to offer have to date only resulted in a very damp squib indeed.
The second issue is quite straightforward. If just one country being at war for four months has left the shelves as bare as they are, should that war spread and involve more nations, how long would it be before they too began to suffer supply issues, yet this time with the arsenals of others already depleted? Russia has mixed shock-and-awe with a slow march westwards, yet if NATO members were to wage war, the last thing they would want would be a drawn-out conflict draining resources they simply do not have.
The third issue is Russia, and Moscow has by and large enjoyed unlimited supplies of what it has needed, only drone strikes on convoys in February causing issues. Most pointedly, it has perfected the use of both rocket and artillery systems, these being the cutting edge of its steady advance. This would not be possible with insufficient resources to hand, yet the successes it has had are testament to the stocks at its disposal. Not only that, through good planning and the rotation of troops, it has been able to give a large portion of its armed forces invaluable battlefield experience without troops spending too long in-theater.
The NATO Summit in Madrid last week saw the Atlantic Alliance stating that whilst it will stand by its useful idiot through thick and thin, it does want what remains of the Ukraine to slowly convert onto western weapons systems. This would quite obviously mean that the American arms industry is being lined up for a feeding frenzy, but it would also mean that the vast stocks of NATO standard equipment would then be available in order that Brussels can continue to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. There is however another problem facing western powers that is less well-known.
Recent decades have seen the same warmongering from the West as ever, yet in spite of the pomposity, the production of munitions has fallen victim to a series of cutbacks as western governments have attempted to reduce state budgets. Long gone are the days when nations had huge factories producing ammunition by the trainload each day, and as a result both stocks and the means to replenish them are seriously compromised. Moreover when we look to more technically-advanced weapons such as guided missiles, the prohibitive cost of these has ensured that only a handful of manufacturers are in business and the volumes they can turn out are pitiful when compared to the needs of an army at war.
Only last year, the British Army managed to run out of ammunition only eight days into an exercise. LLL This may seem like an extreme example, yet if the British run out of munitions in a little over a week when they are playing games, things would hardly be any rosier should it tangle with Russia who most certainly plays no games whatsoever. What makes this situation even more critical is that the means to remedy this situation would takes years and hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve, yet an increasingly-indebted West is pushing for a war with ever more immediacy.
Outside of the arms industry itself, an imminent recession (and ever-more probable war) is ensuring that governments are tightening spending in the face of difficulties that have not been seen in generations. Some on Wall Street may believe that a large conflict may give relief to the US economy, but debt as well as supply chain issues are beginning to be a persistent drag on already lackluster economic prospects. On top of this, with the West having sanctioned everything Russian, energy and commodities are also causing headaches with everything from fuel to fertilizer rocketing in price, bringing the fortunes of so many down with a crash.
Bite the Bullet
Aside from fuel and supply difficulties, there is the real chance that current fun and games from western capitals may lead to hunger games across the globe. Prices are now rising sharply in spite of Ukrainian exports only being a fraction of global trade. Grains of various types have been one of the mainstays of Kiev’s economy since forever, yet not only is the country exporting when it is facing its darkest hour, speculators around the globe are using a small-scale conflict to reap bigtime rewards. This obviously has the most negative effect on those who have least to spare, but in a post-Covid climate, robbing the poor to feed the rich is now becoming the status quo.
Decades of western malfeasance have wrought havoc around the world, the current conflict in the Ukraine bearing testament the the global damage that a few malign individuals can achieve. That damage however is just as apparent in the West as it is elsewhere, and for all the shots fired from western capitals, the rampant capitalism, cost-cutting and warmongering since 2014 may end up shooting more than one nation in the foot.
Add to this the financial and supply problems that both have their origins in western brinksmanship and the collective West may well have created the perfect storm for itself in so many ways should current hostilities extend further. The empire is slowly coming to an end, yet with both the munitions and political issues being what they are, many western soldiers may hear the dead man’s click if their leaders continue to play Russian Roulette…