When Richard Nixon lost the election to John F. Kennedy, Nixon told supporters, “I know Jack Kennedy. He’s a patriot.” Nixon knew that the nation would be safe in President Kennedy’s hands.
Most Americans do not have the same confidence in President Biden. In April 2023, fewer than four in ten U.S. adults (37 percent) said they approved of Joe Biden’s job performance as president, with six in ten saying they disapproved. By a 2-to-1 margin, American voters now believe controlling the U.S. border is more important than helping Ukraine fight Russia. For the first time in 30 years, the U.S. Government’s interest payments on the sovereign debt equal defense spending.
These revelations would shake the confidence of any White House, but there is much more for Washington and its NATO Allies to consider. Alleged efforts by the Department of State to freeze the conflict in Ukraine are dismissed out of hand in Moscow by every knowledgeable observer of the Russian government. In the absence of a freeze, Washington has no idea how to end the 600-day conflict.
Meanwhile, the Biden Administration’s sanctions continue to seriously weakenthe collective West. European economies are sliding toward recession. Germany’s economy, the largest in the Eurozone, is stagnating for the third quarter in a row. In 2022, German automakers produced nearly 40 percent fewer vehicles than they did 10 years ago. In the words of one of Germany’s leading industrialists, Germany’s deindustrialization has begun.
However, it is Washington’s proxy war with Moscow and the war’s battlefield impact, combined with the economic consequences, that are shifting the balance of power in Moscow’s favor. According to open-source intelligence, Ukrainian losses suggest that Ukrainian soldiers are being killed at a rate comparable to or greater than the World War I experience, when an estimated 1.7 million soldiers in the Russian Army died from all causes in three years of fighting.
The art of war is always subject to the impact of technology and Ukraine’s war with Russia is no exception. Ukrainian soldiers are courageous, but Ukrainian forces, like U.S. and Allied NATO forces, are still organized to refight a version of World War II. This condition is a recipe for defeat against a Russian military establishment organized for 21st century warfare.
Today, Russian strike weapons—artillery, rockets, missiles, drones—linked to persistent, overhead surveillance within dense, integrated air and missile defenses create battlefield conditions like those the German army experienced in the last year of World War II. From the moment the U.S. and British-Canadian armies landed in Normandy, 5,000 U.S. and British fighter aircraft in the air over Western Europe made it impossible for German ground forces to maneuver. The entire German air force was defending German cities against U.S. and British bombers. Without tactical air cover or support, German formations could move only at night, and never in daylight.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky puts on a fine show of confidence, but he makes no secret of the lagging popular support in Europe and the United States for Washington’s proxy war. He knows NATO is in trouble. Frankly, the alliance was never designed to wage offensive warfare against anyone. Events in the Balkans during the 1990s began the awkward evolution that tried to transform NATO into an offensive instrument of U.S. national security strategy. Yet NATO’s forces are not prepared for high-end conventional warfare.
Predictably, voters in NATO’s thirty-two member states are questioning the wisdom of outsourcing their national security and economic health to their own and Washington’s globalist elites. Still, Europeans must soon decide whether to sacrifice what little remains of their respective national sovereignty and economic health in the name of NATO or suspend aid to the Zelensky regime and negotiate directly with Moscow. Total European contributions to the proxy war of about $167 billion are greater than Washington’s contribution.
Confronted with a weak economy, higher yields and lower prices for Treasury bonds, the Biden administration and its partner on Capitol Hill, the Washington “uniparty,” really have two choices: First, cut U.S. and Allied losses in Ukraine, reduce discretionary spending, and focus on domestic emergencies at the Southern Border and in America’s largest cities. Or second, the Administration and the uniparty can escalate the conflict with Moscow.
The White House’s announced intention to ship Army Tactical Missile Systemswith a 300-kilometer range along with German Taurus cruise missiles and other strike weapons to Ukraine would seem to indicate Washington’s preference for escalation. But no one weapon system can fundamentally alter the truth that Ukrainian forces grow weaker with each passing day.
Nowhere is the potential for confrontation with Russian military power greater than in the Black Sea. Yet between September 11 and 15, Romanian, British, French, and Turkish forces together with U.S. maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft Poseidon, diver-engineers with boats and specialized equipment, will conduct Operation Sea Breeze 23.3 near the Danube Delta. Since commercial vessels are sailing from the Black Sea into the Danube River without Russian interference it is unclear why the exercise in the Danube Delta is necessary.
Sadly, pushing dangerous conditions to the brink of conflict is nothing new in the conduct of U.S. foreign and defense policy. After Desert Storm in 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, American power and influence grew exponentially. Washington’s appetite for filling allegedly “ungoverned spaces” with American military power was insatiable. Washington was free for 30 years to intervene with American military power when and where it liked establishing new “frontiers of insecurity” in the Balkans, Southwest Asia, the Middle East, or North Africa.
The Washington uniparty (corporate oligarchs, public health officials, mainstream media, social media, deep state agencies, academia, Hollywood, and an assortment of dubious international agencies like the UN/WHO/WEF) swiftly invested trillions to advance globalization with U.S. military power. Whenever the armed forces were committed to action, a series of administrations were always ready to defer to ineffective, even failed, military commanders.
Wasteful defense spending, excessive redundancy in capability, and resistance to badly needed change in force design and modernization are now revealing that the U.S. Armed Forces are ill-suited to modern high-end conventional warfare. The fighting in Ukraine demonstrates that Washington can no longer ignore the influence of geography, culture, and economics, all of which operate as constraints on the use of American military power.
The age of abundant wealth and unconstrained defense spending is nearing its end. How Washington reacts to these realities will determine America’s future.
© 2022 The American Conservative