Peddling War Amid Dwindling US, NATO Deliverables

 

By Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

 

Part One: Weighing Rhetoric vs Strengths East vs West

By the widest stretch of my imagination, I cannot reconcile the prepositioning of American HIMARS – high mobility artillery rocket systems and anti-tank “Javelin” and “Stinger” shoulder fire missiles, with HADR -humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

I do not have a PHD like some jukebox scholars but the difference in just looking at their use of the alphabet tells me they cannot be the same. The statement made by Lt. Col Tarra Cayton, trainer officer of the Philippine Army Artillery Regiment was also disconcerting, “We are now transitioning from internal security operations to territorial defense. There (are) ongoing conferences, deliberations on what specific equipment to procure.”

For HIMARS, the carrying Caterpillar launcher alone costs $ 4 million and it can fire and reload six rockets from its one pod to the tune of $160,000 per M31 projectile. One sequential launch therefore costs almost a million dollars.

The Javelin can go for only four kilometers, but each missile alone costs $240,000.

If you want to find out what is and how HIMARS and the Javelin function, check this out – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiSAaqKf7-U and be educated, that it is only for military modernization. 

HIMARS has a maximum range of 480 kms at a speed of 85 kms/hour, but it only has a high accuracy of one meter within 300 kms.

While it may be argued that from the northernmost tip of Cagayan province at Sta. Ana to the southernmost tip of Taiwan that is Kaohsiung which is 500 kms, the HIMARS cannot be considered an offensive weapon. But neither can it also be claimed any use for humanitarian or disaster assistance.

This is why President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. went borderline when he said “… we will not allow our bases to be used for any offensive action.” His tone was calculated to lessen the military aspect of the EDCA bases.

The American braggadocio, however, belies the President’s claim as the United sent 12,000 boots-on-the-ground to participate in this year’s Balikatan exercises.

Pinoy Expose’ reported that the following day the war drill opened, “two American lackeys in the Philippine government, Department of National Defense (DND) Senior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo” were in Washington DC “for the ‘2+2 Dialogue’ with their American superiors, US defense secretary Lloyd Austin and State Secretary Anthony Blinken, respectively.”

Expose’ said that the joint statement the 2+2 issued the fake news that “the Balikatan exercises and the PH-US alliance are targeted against China, referencing to the 2016 Hague arbitral award as “final and legally binding” between China and the Philippines.”

“Stripped of the references to purported American assistance on energy, global warming, business opportunities, ‘modernization’ of the Philippines’ defense capabilities among others,” the tabloid said Galvez and Manalo exhibited the Philippines’ utter servility to US wishes, mouthing the US condemnation of North Korea and support for Ukraine, one of the American vassal states in Europe, aside from the NATO countries.”

Just as this was happening, Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president who now sits as deputy chair of the Russian National Security Council, announced that Moscow could offer advanced weapons to North Korea if Seoul begins to supply military aid to Kiev responding to an insinuation by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s to supply lethal aid to Ukraine.

NATO war

Galvez and Manalo are obviously ignorant of a recent New York Times report that the US has sent Ukraine so many stockpiled Stinger missiles that it would take 13 years of production at recent capacity levels to replace them.

The Times added that Raytheon, the company that helps make Javelin missile systems, said it would take five years at last year’s production rates to replace the number of missiles sent to Ukraine in the last ten months.

[From Rockets to Ball Bearings, Pentagon Struggles to Feed War Machine https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/24/us/politics/military-weapons-ukraine-war.html]

Currently, the US produces just over 14,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition every month — and Ukrainian forces have previously fired that many rounds in just 48 hours, The Washington Post reported last month. US officials in January proposed a production increase up to 90,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition each month to keep up with demand.

The situation is even grimmer among European countries.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at the U.S. State Department in February, the West to date has provided unprecedented support to Ukraine, with around $120 billion in military, humanitarian and financial assistance. 

But The transfer of military materiel has been so extensive that many of the European arsenals have been depleted.

Writing for the American Thinker, Patricia Adams and Lawrence Solomon said,

“Germany is down to two days of ammunition and is now unable to defend itself, according to the country’s defence minister; the UK’s stockpiles of ammunition would last but a few days in battle; France is facing “a major shortage of munitions,” and the US military now doubts its ability to both continue to supply Ukraine and maintain its own readiness.” 

Stoltenberg himself admits “The current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current production rate.”

On the other hand, Russia has been able to ramp up its own military production rate so effectively that its artillery can massively out-pound Ukraine’s, firing between 40,000 and 50,000 shells per day versus Ukraine’s 5,000-6,000. 

Continues the American Thinker, “While Russia’s arms production is on a high-output war footing, the West’s has been unable to keep pace.  America’s focus on supplying Ukraine has compromised its ability to meet other goals, such as deterring China’s expansion and maintaining readiness to respond elsewhere.”

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2023/04/russias_rise.html

Galvez and Manalo are so yesterday that they have been blindsided by the fast-moving realities on the ground that, says Adams and Solomon, “Russia’s military robustness is all the more noteworthy given that it has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal and a now-close alliance with China’s military.” 

The ascendancy of what geopolitical karaokists calls the “Russia-China axis” and the widespread perception of the West’s decline, has in turn convinced many other militaries to shift to the winning side.

Last September, September, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and various former Soviet states joined Russia and China in war games in the Sea of Japan and Russia’s Far East, and closer in February, South Africa hosted Russia and China for 10 days of joint naval drills.

Of late, China has also just concluded its second full combat air and naval exercises around Taiwan coinciding with Taiwan President Tsai Eng Wen’s cameo stopover in the United States enroute from her visit to two of Taiwan’s last remaining diplomatic allies, Guatemala and Belize. The first fireworks followed the Nancy Pelosi visit to the island province of China last August 2022.

A descending power, what is the US response?

Earlier this month, the Biden administration proposed a record-breaking $842 billion budget for the Department of Defense. In an effort to address the munitions shortage, the proposed budget includes $19.2 billion for modernizing facilities “that support readiness improvements,” as well as increasing production of naval and anti-strike missiles, in an aim to support the country and its allies through this “decisive decade.”

But this could face tremendous domestic challenge.

Tension in East Asia has escalated since Barack Obama’s announcement in November 2011 of the United States’ “Pivot to Asia” by as much as 60% of the United States military assets, in response then to the wide perception of an American decline.

The US economy has however been largely dependent on the production of its huge military complex known generally as Deep State.

The Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University documented that the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001, or in 20 just years.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/20/us-spent-6point4-trillion-on-middle-east-wars-since-2001-study.html

That total is $2 trillion more than all federal government spending during the recently completed 2019 fiscal year.

Brookings Institution as early as the presidency of Bill Clinton has warned “Most importantly, the United States will not have the resources and capacity to fully meet the president’s promises unless it addresses its domestic fiscal and related political problems far more effectively than recent experiences suggest is likely. Putting America’s domestic house in order is a necessary condition for the success of the new Asia strategy.”

Curiously, the US war record has adversely affected not just its economy but its diplomatic tour de force. More than 801,000 people have died as a direct result of fighting. Of those, more than 335,000 have been civilians. Another 21 million people have been displaced due to violence.

In contrast, we shall discuss in the next part how Russia and China met the military, economic and diplomatic and military challenges for the past two decades.

(To be continued)

 
<strong>Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan</strong>
Adolfo Quizon Paglinawan

is the anchor of Ang Maestro – the Unfinished Revolution at Radyo Pilipinas1, co-host of Opinyon Ngayon at Golden Nation Network Television, a political analyst, and author of books. His third book, The Poverty of Power will soon be off-the-press. It is a historiography of controversial issues of spanning 36 years leading to the Demise of the Edsa Revolution and the Rise of the Philippine Phoenix. Paglinawan’s past best sellers have been A Problem for Every Solution (2015), a characterization of factors affecting Philippine-China relations, and No Vaccine for a Virus called Racism (2020) a survey of international news attempting to tracing its origins. These important achievements earned for him to be named one of the 2021 international laureates for the Awards for the Promotion of Philippine-China Understanding. Ado, as he called for short, was a former press attaché and spokesman of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Facebook

 

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