American “Aid” to Ukraine May Hurt More than Help

Wars Not Make One Safe

W.J. Astore

“Follow the money” is sage advice in an America that prides itself on unfettered capitalism where everything is a commodity. A huge chunk of money, namely $54 billion, has already been dedicated to Ukraine in its fight against a Russian invasion, with more to follow if Congress has its way. Roughly half this money is going directly to U.S. weapons makers, hence the haste of Congress to vote for its approval. Only a small number of Republicans have objected to this boondoggle; all Democrats in the House and Senate voted in favor of it.

Here’s the thing. The entire defense budget of Ukraine before the war was just under $6 billion. How can Ukraine possibly absorb (mostly) military “aid” that represents NINE TIMES their annual defense budget? It simply can’t be done.

Russia’s military budget for an entire year, roughly $66 billion, only slightly exceeds the U.S. “aid” for Ukraine after three months of war. If the pace of U.S. spending on Ukraine remains the same, the amount of “aid,” assuming the war continues, could touch $200 billion by this time next year. Again, this is for a country that spent $6 billion on its military forces prior to being invaded.

From a military perspective, the gusher of money and equipment being sent to Ukraine makes little sense because there’s no way Ukraine has the infrastructure to absorb it and use it effectively. The U.S. approach seems to be to flood the zone with weaponry and assorted equipment of all sorts, irrespective of how it might be used or where it might ultimately end up. I can’t see how all this lethal “aid” will stay in the hands of troops and out of the hands of various criminal networks and black markets.

In America’s recent wars, such as Iraq and Afghanistan but also as far back as Vietnam, the U.S. military has been remarkably proficient at providing weaponry to enemies. When U.S. forces retreat in defeat, or “evacuate to success,” they usually leave behind mountains of military equipment, as they did in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Weaponry left behind or provided to Afghan and Iraqi security forces helped to arm ISIS, the Taliban, and similar elements the U.S. government says are terroristic. Interestingly, few seem to question the wisdom of all the billions in weaponry provided as “aid” that often ends up fueling more violence and more war.

If guns saved lives and brought safety, America would have the lowest number of people killed by guns and the safest country. We obviously don’t. Flooding countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine with scores of billions in weaponry and related equipment is not the smartest way toward success. Unless you’re the CEO of a weapons contractor, in which case it’s the very definition of success.

But something must be done! cry those who want to help Ukraine in its war with Russia. Ukraine has already demonstrated its resolve while suffering the evils of war; does it make sense to keep the war going when Ukraine ultimately can’t win it? Just look at a map and the vast resources Russia has available to it; there is no shame, and indeed much sense, in Ukraine, having fought a good fight, negotiating a peace treaty now before the war spreads even further and the country is even more devastated.

In sum, I don’t see $54 billion in U.S. “aid” to Ukraine as being in the best interest of the Ukrainian people. If it serves to prolong a murderous war that ultimately Ukraine can’t win, it may prove more hurtful than helpful.

12 thoughts on “American “Aid” to Ukraine May Hurt More than Help

  1. George Galloway always gets it right.
    Like you he does not see $54 billion in U.S. “aid” to Ukraine as being in the best interest of the Ukrainian people

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see such passionate delivery, but I think he misses the point that the Russian invasion is quite widely condemned and that those who are still doing business with Russia do so because they don’t want to suffer the consequences if they don’t. It is interesting that, as he mentions, the ruble is strengthening against the dollar since the invasion began this preceded by a years long fall against the dollar. He’s right about Biden’s American self-righteousness in demanding others stop doing business with Russia, correct in his view of those at the top of power playing power games without regard to the consequences on this or that country. We know that top American politicians are far removed from the reality of American lives, let alone that of the people of other lands. Thanks for the link, Dennis.

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  2. When are these remotely controlled drones going be banned as weapon of war?
    Sitting at your computer “game” in Colorado killing civilians and their kids in far away lands – and quitting at 4.30pm everyday and going home to take your kids to soccer practice.

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  3. Let me ask You a question, Colonel:

    If “roughly half this money” is going directly into the pockets of U.S. weapons makers, what percentage of what is left is going directly into the pockets of other sectors of America’s Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex? And then, what percentage of what’s left after that will be going directly into the pockets of America’s flunkeys and lackies in Ukraine?

    One of the reasons that this is such a good deal for everybody involved is ~ precisely as You suspected ~ because they know that there is no way in hell that that “lethal ‘aid’ will stay in the hands of troops and out of the hands of various criminal networks and black markets.” That’s one reason why Senator Rand Paul wanted an Inspector General to keep an eye on all this shit.

    If nothing else, it is guaranteed to increase the demands by law enforcement for bigger, better, badder weapons systems to counter what the criminals [and, eventually, no doubt “terrorists”] will now have.

    And of course “the U.S. military has been remarkably proficient at providing weaponry to enemies” by leaving it behind at every retreat. Every weapon and other piece of equipment that is left behind has to be replaced. The MICC’s profits while the war is going on thus continue, even after the war has been lost. That’s ~ as You put it ~ yet another time when the CEO of a weapons manufacturer can claim success:

    You then ask: “Ukraine has already demonstrated its resolve while suffering the evils of war; does it make sense to keep the war going when Ukraine ultimately can’t win it?”

    Of course it does. In exactly the same way and for exactly the same reason that it made perfect sense to keep The Forever War going when it was obvious that we were “losing” it. Just like it made perfect sense to keep Vietnam going when it was equally obvious. A point is reached when the objective is no longer to win the war, but to keep it going as long as possible until every last dime that can be syphoned off of it can be extracted and captured.

    You concluded: “In sum, I don’t see $54 billion in U.S. ‘aid’ to Ukraine as being in the best interest of the Ukrainian people. If it serves to prolong a murderous war that ultimately Ukraine can’t win, it may prove more hurtful than helpful.”

    Again, Colonel, the objective is not for Ukraine to “win” [whatever in the hell that could possibly mean at this stage of the game]. The objective is to kick off COLD WAR II in a way that the American people know that CWII is Real. And that it is just as “real” as COLD WAR I was; but now it’s not just the “The Evil Empire” that America is confronting.

    For now, Oceania directly confronts Eurasia in Ukraine; and is in the process of engaging Eastasia over Taiwan.

    And NOTHING about this war ~ going all the way back to when it started with the coup in 2014 ~ absolutely NOTHING about this war has ever been in the slightest interest of the Ukrainian people.

    But then, no war America has fought since the end of World War II has been in the interest of the people on whose lands those wars have been fought.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We Americans really ought to replace the meaningless jargon word “war” with something more descriptive of the actual motives and practices characteristic of the Global Corporate Oligarchy than owns and runs the North American Marketing Territory. I suggest:

      Ordnance Expenditure Expeditions

      Ordnance Expenditure Expeditions,
      Use up and then order more munitions.
      Make sure to run down the inventory.
      Start wars for profits: the same old story.

      “Give us the money or we’ll huff and puff.
      Buy from us all of these weapons and stuff.
      No-bid, cost-plus guarantees we demand.
      And if we don’t get them, no jobs for this land.”

      How? First a false flag: a made-up “good reason”
      Summer, Spring, Winter, or Fall: any season.
      “Gas” attacks “on his own people” will do it.
      “Brutal dictator must go.” Then see to it.

      Second: “advisers” deploy for a tour,
      Helping make countries with little more poor,
      Calling in airstrikes to wipe out the towns
      Whenever local folks fight back with frowns.

      Third: the “straight-legs” force us all to include them.
      Regular Army. No way to exclude them.
      They’ve got their generals, too; they demand it:
      Their chance to play the Big Cheese (meaning, bandit).

      Fourth: then the Air Force and Navy want in,
      Bringing Marines as their “infantry” kin.
      Some to pin medals and stars on their shirts.
      Some to catch bullets and shrapnel, which hurts.

      Generals, admirals, colonels, commanders:
      Aimless amphibians, swamp salamanders,
      Punching their tickets while lost in a land which
      Doesn’t need them fucking up a soup sandwich.

      Still, screwing pooches can make a career.
      Just learn to lie with a lisp and a leer.
      No one will know, if your jargon’s opaque,
      How to distinguish the real from the fake.

      Just babble bullshit and throw in some numbers,
      Then keep it up until everyone slumbers.
      You’ll have succeeded when their eyes start crossing.
      Soon they won’t know a toothbrush from a flossing.

      Fifth: let the dogs-of-war piss on the fire:
      “Contractors” who’ll kill their mothers for hire,
      Shooting at anything moving on roads.
      Selling some “Safety” to rich loathsome toads.

      Last: the camp-following big corporations
      Feeding the troops on their overpriced rations.
      Petrol at four-hundred bucks to a gallon.
      Taxpayers sliced with a razor-sharp talon.

      No thought to budgets that balance the books.
      Just like Dick Nixon, these people are crooks:
      Buying Republicans who’ll chant “God bless!”
      Renting the Democrats who’ll lose for less.

      Dining at Davos in Switzerland’s mountains,
      Oligarchs drink to wealth spurting in fountains.
      Then with The Donald they swap salutations,
      Making our country a plague among nations.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2018

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      1. Opaque jargon — how true! Amazing how much language can obscure.

        I’m still waiting for my invitation to Davos.

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        1. correct, wja. in a graduate course i endured in expository and technical writing at the univ of iowa 55 years ago, one of the prof’s seminal lectures elucubrated how languages in virtually all cultures, indigenous and mainstream, are devised, shaped, commandeered, and expanded for the express purpose of obfuscation, prevarication, misleading obliquities, and subreptitions, just as prevalently as languages are employed for precision of communication.

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    2. I can’t forget the films of the withdrawal of the US from Vietnam, of perfectly good helicopters being dumped off of aircraft carriers, of lines of refrigerators and appliances lined up at the air bases where we were leaving them behind. Remember the talk of planned obsolescence with cars? Weapons systems are ideal in that they may get destroyed and if they don’t they need expensive maintenance/operator training and when used as intended they expend expensive ammo.

      Regarding defeat or victory in Ukraine, here is an outstanding opinion piece I came across at The Hill.
      I think the author gets it exactly right.

      Like

  4. In 2021, Ukraine ranked as the second most corrupt country in Europe. Any chance those weapons will find their way to black-market gun runners?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And the Beat goes on….

    US Military May Need Innovation Overhaul To Fight Future Wars, Milley Says by Joe Gould

    LONDON ― The U.S. military may need to reorganize to fight future wars, which will be profoundly changed by artificial intelligence, robotics and other advanced technologies, according to Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    The nation’s top military officer said during a trip to Europe this week that he’s working on recommendations that could lead to a high-level reorganization. After launching Army Futures Command in 2018 to drive modernization when he was that service’s chief of staff, Milley said he’s mulling a similar effort for the joint force.

    “You’re going to have to do really fundamental changes to our military in order to take advantage of this change in the character of war. In order to do that, you need organizations to drive that,” he told reporters. “You look at what the Army did with Army Futures Command, for example. Can that be done at the joint level, at the DoD level?”

    Continued at: https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2022/06/01/us-military-may-need-innovation-overhaul-to-fight-future-wars-milley-says/

    Background Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfbmjUQOFxs

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  6. Apparently, Americans are starting to get the message about Eastasia that Oceania’s politicians, pundits, professors, and other propagandists have been bombarding them with.

    One can only wonder: Is China a “serious problem” because it is challenging America as the planet’s dominant economy? Or because it is challenging America’s 30-year reign of unchallenged global, unipolar hegemony as the world’s only “SuperPower”? Or something else?

    CHINA’S PARTNERSHIP WITH RUSSIA SEEN AS SERIOUS PROBLEM FOR THE U.S. by Christine Huang, Laura Silver And Laura Clancy

    As war rages in Ukraine – one which China thus far has refused to condemn – Americans are acutely concerned about the partnership between China and Russia. Around nine-in-ten U.S. adults say it’s at least a somewhat serious problem for the United States, and a 62% majority say it’s a very serious problem – more than say the same about any of the other six problems asked about, including China’s involvement in politics in the U.S., its policies on human rights and tensions between China and Taiwan, among others.

    Alongside the specific concern about the China-Russia relationship is a sense that China is a world superpower. About two-thirds (66%) of U.S. adults say China’s influence on the world stage has grown stronger in recent years. More Americans now also describe China as the world’s leading economic power. Around four-in-ten (43%) call China the world’s top economy – as many as say the same of the U.S. This marks a significant departure since 2020, when 32% of Americans said China was the world’s top economy and 52% named the U.S. This double-digit increase returns the share of Americans who consider China the world’s top economy to levels last seen in 2014.

    Continued at https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2022/04/28/chinas-partnership-with-russia-seen-as-serious-problem-for-the-us/

    Like

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