The Return of Industrial Warfare

(rusi.org)

64 points | by paganel 12 days ago

7 comments

  • bell-cot 12 days ago
    For all the article's talk about military supply businesses closing down when the government isn't regularly buying enough, it fails to mention the long history of government-owned, government-operated armories and arsenals. Most major nations developed, maintained, and operated those, for centuries. Because staying ready to produce arms and ammunition - at scale, when needed - was always a poor fit for private industry.

    EDIT: Add one simple example - "The Springfield Armory, more formally known as the United States Armory and Arsenal at Springfield located in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, was the primary center for the manufacture of United States military firearms from 1777 until its closing in 1968. It was the first federal armory and one of the first factories in the United States dedicated to the manufacture of weapons." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Armory )

    • ncmncm 12 days ago
      Private industry's preference for making bullets with a certain powder was directly responsible for the M-16's legendary unreliability in the Vietnam War. I don't know whether the US Army can get ammunition today that does not have its unfortunate effects.
      • sgt101 11 days ago
        I'm not sure that's a completely fair representation of what happened.

        Have a look at this : https://www.pewpewtactical.com/m16-vietnam-failure/#toc12

        • ncmncm 10 days ago
          Credibility somewhat compromised by:

          > Civilian AR-15s ... are hands down the best rifles you can own for self-defense

          But it looks like the holder of the sole-source contract for ball powder must have determined the sequence of events.

          • Late reply so you probably won't see this, but how so? They are extremely reliable, extremely common (parts availability top notch), ammo availability is second only to a 9mm pistol, it's extremely easy to shoot accurately, and the ergonomics are the best out there.

            Obviously the ergonomics argument is a little subjective, but I've trained with several rifles, and everyone performed best with an AR platform. Instructors say this is very common.

            That being said, this line of conversation reminds me of the 9mm / .40 / .45 debate. Maybe relevant in 1990, but gap between everything is so narrow now it's a historical argument.

    • yborg 12 days ago
      This points out the fact that ceding your technical manufacturing base to other countries, especially your possible enemies, is good way to lose geopolitical relevance in a hurry. The implicit assumption has always been that nuclear weapons trump everything, but realistically this only is useful if an enemy believes you are willing to invoke Armageddon to resolve a conflict. Is the US going to risk annihilation over Taiwan? If the answer is 'no', then relative conventional combat strength will determine the victor, and when your opponent owns your industrial base, you have already lost.
      • oska 12 days ago
        My understanding is that the deindustrialisation of the USA is largely a natural consequence of the 'exorbitant privilege' of having the world's global reserve currency (since Bretton Woods). This was identified as early as the 1960s by Robert Triffin, and is known as the Triffin Dilemma [1].

        [1] https://wikiless.tiekoetter.com/wiki/Triffin_dilemma

        • xyzzy123 12 days ago
          That wouldn't explain why you see the same in Australia, NZ, UK, etc etc.

          It seems to me that "obvious explanation" of globalization is more parsimonious (although I acknowledge there can be multiple forces at work).

          Things are set up so that corporations can "shop" for the lowest wages, taxes, environmental laws and so on. In fact they have to or face being outcompeted. Another headwind is heavy state support for "real" industry in a lot of places (that CAN see the value in having an industrial base).

          The result of globalisation is nominally more efficient (in a comparative advantage sense), but hollows the industrial base in richer countries and since that is an externality not measured in dollars, here we are.

          Personally I am also partial to the related narrative that this has stifled local innovation in a broad blast radius around the outsourced industries and is a major contributing factor in reduced infrastructure capacity in the west.

        • mormegil 12 days ago
          Yeah, this is basically the stability/instability paradox.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability%E2%80%93instability_...

      • otikik 12 days ago
        > Luckily for the US, its gun culture ensured that small arms ammunition industry has a civilian component in the US. This is not the case with other types of ammunition, as shown earlier with Javelin and Stinger missiles

        I am trying to keep an open mind and see where this person is coming from, but I don't think "Luckily" is the right word to use. If I was feeling particularly charitable I would call it a "Mixed bag".

        It's a bit ridiculous, but imagine for a second if Javelin and Stinger missiles did have a civilian component.

        > If competition between autocracies and democracies has really entered a military phase, then the arsenal of democracy must radically improve its approach to the production of materiel in wartime

        That is one option, there are others. We could, for example, decide to take preventive economical measures against autocracies, and thus preventing them from capital they could use to build their own arsenal. Everyone having smaller arsenals is good for everyone (except the Military Industrial complex, of course).

        • palmetieri2000 12 days ago
          RE missiles and civilians (Non-US person here with a few questions):

          I've never really understood why citizens in the US aren't allowed these items, if the fundamental purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the citizenry to fight tyranny then why aren't the citizens allowed the appropriate arms to do so? How are the laws that allow the US gov to exclude citizens from owning these not 'un-constitutional'? I imagine the answer probably lies somewhere in the "too much risk for accidents or deliberate hostile use" territory.

          I hope this isn't inflammatory, not my intention, given what we continue to see re mass shootings, and the gun control proposals that happen afterwards it seems a bit like you have the worst of both worlds.

          Put differently, there are enough citizen firearms with enough firepower to facilitate individuals attacking soft targets with horrendous effect but not enough firearms or firepower for civilians to actually have any remotely likely potential of defeating a tyrannical US military (or even police force).

          • lovich 12 days ago
            Contrary to much of modern political US discourse the founding fathers did not intend for the Constitution to be an immortal document treated as sacrosanct and inviolable.

            Thomas Jefferson[1] wanted the Constitution to be rewritten every 19 years as he did not believe future generations should be constrained by the limited understanding of the past. Given that past history, the government and it’s various bodies didn’t have a problem with banning weapons more powerful than the founders could have imagined from being in the hands of every civilian.

            What is probably confusing you is there is a long simmering but recently rapidly growing religion in the US[2] that does believe that the Constitution is sacred and cannot be altered, and have gained enough political and social power to treat it as such. If I recall correctly the United States is currently in the longest stretch between Constitutional amendments in its history, as a result of this political/religious movement

            [1] one of the more famous founding fathers and a major contributor to the writing of the Constitution

            [2] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_civil_religion for the simmering portion and Q as the rapidly growing portion

            • Throwawayaerlei 12 days ago
              You're ignoring the agreement made between the Federalist and Anti-Federalists, the latter led by none other hand Patrick Henry. The Bill of Rights was their price for accepting the Constitution, and nullifications of the former renders the whole compact null and void.

              Given that a case can be made for even the Third Amendment, no quartering of soldiers in people's dwellings being abrogated by the surveillance state....

              And is sure sounds like you think religion is a four letter word....

              • lovich 12 days ago
                I do not understand the point you are trying to make other than the last sentence. If you think pointing to a religions beliefs is treating it like a four letter word I think that has more to do with your feelings about them after their beliefs are put out into the open instead of hidden or eluded to.

                What did you mean by “the nullifications of the former renders the whole compact null and void”? The Constitution is still valid or the Bill of Rights would have no affect, and it still doesn’t change some of the founders belief that the Constitution should not be permanent

                • Throwawayaerlei 12 days ago
                  The point is the Anti-Federalists said "No Bill of Rights, we won't observe the Constitution." Starting with New York I think this was made an explicit contingent condition of their ratification of the Constitution. Thus a compact, or covenant if you prefer.

                  Thus the Bill of Rights are special in a way no other Amendments are and cannot be abrogated without breaking the covenant that allowed the Constitution to become a thing in the first place.

                  • lovich 12 days ago
                    I don’t know that I’ve ever heard this legal argument. Is there some paper on it? I can see how they are culturally and temporaly special in that the people at the time would not have joined without them but as far as I know they have less legal weight than any following amendment as they can change the text of any portion of the Constitution including the 10 amendments of the bill of rights
              • sgt101 11 days ago
                on [2] the Spartans had something very similar, and we all know how that ended (hint : not great for Sparta)
              • shemtay 12 days ago
                If memory serves correctly, after the famous mafia hit “St Valentine’s Day Massacre” in Chicago with an at the time shocking body count of 7, civilian access to then state of the art machine guns was restricted, thus setting a precedent.

                EDIT: I don’t think that really answers your question. The real answer is that, to a certain extent the words as written don’t matter so long as enough voters and decision makers decide that they don’t.

                Moreover it is considered a very right wing viewpoint here to say that the constitution should be enforced strictly as written or originally intended.

                • Throwawayaerlei 12 days ago
                  And as a result our first post-WWII new and first General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG, TL;DR: barrels are in field quick change consumables) was the awful M60.

                  Now replaced by a couple of Belgium Fabrique Nationale (FN) models, they're a generally very competent company. Last time I checked they had the contract to make machine gun barrels and ran three hammer forges for this and other guns.

                • 20after4 12 days ago
                  > not enough firearms or firepower for civilians to actually have any remotely likely potential of defeating a tyrannical US military (or even police force).

                  This is exactly right. Government is not interested in protecting the rights of it's citizens, especially a right to that would be in direct conflict with the government's own interests.

                  Individuals with guns pose little threat to the power of a government heavily armed with powerful military weapons and armored vehicles. Of course, the second amendment was written in a time when none of that existed yet.

                  • yucky 12 days ago
                    >Individuals with guns pose little threat to the power of a government heavily armed with powerful military weapons and armored vehicles.

                    Afghanistan & Vietnam proved otherwise.

                    What you're saying is demonstrably false.

                  • TheAceOfHearts 12 days ago
                    If you're willing to go through the paperwork and pay for the appropriate permits it's possible to legally own a lot of highly dangerous equipment. I think the only weapons that cannot be legally owned by civilians through any means are things such as nukes and chemical weapons.

                    Guns are probably a sufficient deterrent against tyranny. A hypothetical tyranical army is unlikely to just start bombing major cities and blindly killing civilians. Guns don't have to enable the citizens to win, they just have to raise the cost of victory high enough to not be worth attacking.

                    • ncmncm 12 days ago
                      The current crop of gun-owners represent the greatest immediate threat of tyranny.

                      Congressional hearings addressed such a threat quite recently. Ongoing, even.

                    • ceejayoz 12 days ago
                      > I've never really understood why citizens in the US aren't allowed these items, if the fundamental purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the citizenry to fight tyranny then why aren't the citizens allowed the appropriate arms to do so?

                      That's because it isn't actually the fundamental purpose. It was written at a time where the country didn't have a permanent standing army. That's why the amendment starts with "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..."

                      • willcipriano 12 days ago
                        ", the right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

                        You don't have to take my word for it, here is the latest from the supreme court:

                        > "It is undisputed that petitioners Koch and Nash—two ordinary, law-abiding, adult citizens—are part of “the people” whom the Second Amendment protects"

                        > “Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.”

                        > "law-abiding citizen’s right to armed self-defense."

                        > "As we stated in Heller and repeated in McDonald, “individual self-defense is ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment right.”"

                        > "The exercise of other constitutional rights does not require individuals to demonstrate to government officers some special need. The Second Amendment right to carry arms in public for self-defense is no different"

                        https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/20-843_7j80.pdf

                        • ceejayoz 12 days ago
                          That’s a different argument entirely.

                          I’m not arguing against Heller. I’m saying the amendment exists because an armed populace was needed for national security, not overthrowing the government.

                          • willcipriano 12 days ago
                            > security of a free State

                            The arms are required to not only secure the State, but also keep it free.

                            • ceejayoz 12 days ago
                              How free is a state taken over by, say, Canada?
                              • willcipriano 12 days ago
                                Either way as the court decided today it applies to all "bearable arms", I guess you can't really bear a hellfire missile, M1-Abrams Tank or an atomic bomb, but I don't see how fully automatic weapons aren't bearable. Viral\chemical weapons seem super bearable, but I bet they would call them something tricky like munitions instead.

                                Really the law doesn't have much internal consistency. People like to say it's complicated, but I think it's just broken.

                        • hotpotamus 12 days ago
                          What about the word of Chief Justice Burger?

                          > “The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

                          • lovich 12 days ago
                            You can’t drop half the sentence and have the same meaning. The GP is right that the amendment started with a “ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...”

                            You can drop that Supreme Court link but the Supreme Court is currently at one if it’s lowest trust levels by the public on record and is assumed corrupt by a large portion of the populace due to the fuckery around seating the current Justices and the openly political manner in which their nomination was decided.

                            The poster farther up the chain was asking about how we are in the current situation re missiles and that judgement had absolutely zero to do with it

                            Edit: additionally even the section you linked from the amendment refers to the entity “The People” and not “citizens” or “people”. There is the implicit assumption by the judicial system that the legislature meant what they put down and so the different terms refer to different entities. Something for “The People” is not automatically agreed by everyone to mean that each individual has the right

                            • willcipriano 12 days ago
                              > You can’t drop half the sentence and have the same meaning.

                              My point entirely.

                              • lovich 12 days ago
                                If it was you’d include the entirety of it. How does it being for “The People” work with “Necessary for a well regulated milita” in your mind? Does the word regulated not exist?

                                Edit: as neither of us have put the full text, putting it here. In the course of getting the exact text I also learned that there are multiple versions of the bill of rights with different punctuation and capitalization(i.e. “The People” vs “the people”) which adds even more confusion to the intent. It was not an amendment written clearly enough to convey the specific intent 250+ years in the future and there going to be disagreements about it.

                                “ A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

                                • willcipriano 12 days ago
                                  The first part explains the reason for the second part. It's not prescriptive or actionable. Its like saying "When it is hot out, food spoils quickly, in our house we keep the milk in the fridge.", that doesn't mean it's ok to leave the milk out in the winter.

                                  The constitution is designed to be understood by the citizens who are subject to it. If you start to engage in word play you are almost certainly on the wrong track. Same goes for "charging a item with a crime and not a person", justifications for mass surveillance or limitations on press freedom or speech.

                                  • lovich 12 days ago
                                    That is not the interpretation I or many others over literal hundreds hundreds of years of documented history believe.

                                    This is all besides the point though, I’m not here to argue about the specifics of the 2nd amendment and interpretations of each clause. The original poster asked how the US got in the situation with missiles not being in civilian hands based on what they currently knew of the US.

                                    The historical reasons behind that are the same whether or not they were made incorrectly

                                    > The constitution is designed to be understood by the citizens who are subject to it.

                                    Even if I were to accept this as truth, that went out the window when the slaves were freed and I do not accept this as true as you needed to be a white land owning male[1] in the original founding to even vote.

                                    There was zero expectation by the founders that everyone subject to the Constitution would be capable of interpreting it correctly. I would need to see some historical evidence before I could have my mind changed on that point

                                    [1] Some exceptions, they were all changed to remove the women’s vote at some point up until women’s suffrage was passed

                              • Throwawayaerlei 12 days ago
                                "You can’t drop half the sentence and have the same meaning."

                                In a very technical sense, but if you understand what a subordinate clause means you'll know what can be dropped with changing the restriction on everyone of the main clause.

                                The technical sense comes from what the subordinate was politically achieving at that time, the Anti-Federalists were properly suspicious of standing armies and regulars, but the guys who actually got a reputation for the successful prosecution of the Revolutionary War starting with the indispensable man Washington knew the nation's defense could not entirely be left to militias.

                                • lovich 12 days ago
                                  > In a technical sense

                                  This is a common mistake software engineers make when parsing law. It is not code and cannot be treated in a technical sense as the language it was written in was English which is not technical.

                                  Imagine every person reading the law is like their own personal compiler and so when they intercept “the law” they get different results. Our Supreme Court exists entirely to determine the standard interpretation of the law whenever a disagreement occurs

                                • lovich 12 days ago
                                  Replying to vt85 who got flagged almost instantly.

                                  lol at the “socialist wait I mean democrat” comment.

                                  “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary”

                                  You should look up that quote and find the socialists view on arms. I have zero problems with weaponry and have shot since I was a child. The instant infantile reaction to the idea that not everyone has the same interpretation of an ambiguous sentence is honestly kind of a tiring knee jerk reaction to discussing the second amendment at all.

                                  If you are so concerned about weaponry go learn how to do some basic metal working and chemistry and you can manufacture all the weapons you want with hand tools even and the government won’t be able to take the knowledge from you

                                  • vt85 12 days ago
                              • aidenn0 12 days ago
                                > I've never really understood why citizens in the US aren't allowed these items, if the fundamental purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow the citizenry to fight tyranny then why aren't the citizens allowed the appropriate arms to do so? How are the laws that allow the US gov to exclude citizens from owning these not 'un-constitutional'? I imagine the answer probably lies somewhere in the "too much risk for accidents or deliberate hostile use" territory.

                                Because for much of the 20th century, the prevailing interpretation of the 2nd amendment differed from that. Even today, that interpretation is disputed.

                                1934 was when the first significant federal restriction on owning any sorts of weapons was introduced, and included restrictions on "destructive devices" which is what e.g. a javelin would be considered. These are technically not banned federally, they must merely be registered (and you need a license to manufacture one). Many state laws have various rules about private ownership of explosives that would ban them though. For anything developed for the military, there are also state-secret rules that may prohibit some of these from being made generally available to the public as well (even when we know that the items are already in adversary's hands).

                                As far as being a check on the police, the Black Panther Party would (legally at the time) open carry shotguns while "observing" arrests made as a check on police brutality, and it's largely agreed that the banning of open-carry in California was a response to this. That being said, if it came down to "cops vs. non-cops" in most areas the non-cops are likely to win just due to sheer numbers.

                                Sale of (new) fully-automatic weapons to civilians was not federally banned until 1986 (in what was an otherwise fairly pro-gun law).

                                • sgjohnson 12 days ago
                                  They are allowed. It’s just extremely difficult to acquire them. NFA is a bitch.

                                  And even if you could overcome the obstacle that the NFA is, you’re unlikely to find a seller.

                                  The most a civilian can reasonably acquire is a 40mm grenade launcher & grenades for it. The caveat is that each individual grenade (and the launcher itself) would be an NFA item, so a $200 tax stamp.

                                  But yes, all of this should be unconstitutional.

                                  • leetcrew 12 days ago
                                    not a constitutional scholar, so I can't answer that aspect of your question. I can at least give a "reasonable person" explanation though.

                                    it's not hard to teach someone to safely handle small arms. a responsible twelve year old can be trusted with them, as long as they have been taught four simple rules:

                                    1. don't point gun at stuff you don't intend to shoot.

                                    2. always treat gun as if it is loaded.

                                    3. finger off trigger until ready to shoot.

                                    4. know target and what's behind it.

                                    with small arms, understanding and following those rules diligently is enough to prevent virtually all unintentional injuries. they're not hard to follow, but some people can be spectacularly irresponsible. I'll leave it as a debate for another time whether/when it is acceptable to intentionally injure other people.

                                    the same principles apply to "bigger" weapons, but become a lot harder for your average person to implement. what's a safe direction to point an anti-tank missile in? how do you ensure the safety of people downrange of your artillery piece that can hit targets 70 miles away? you obviously can't use any of these things in self-defense unless you're prepared to also delete your entire house.

                                    tl;dr: it's mostly fine for people to have small arms because it's easy to use them safely. it's not easy to teach someone how to safely use missiles, mortars, etc.

                                    • yucky 12 days ago
                                      >How are the laws that allow the US gov to exclude citizens from owning these not 'un-constitutional'?

                                      The right to bear arms has been decided by the Supreme Court to apply to arms that are bearable.

                                      Also, if a ragtag group of uneducated goatherders can hold off the US Military for 20 years in Afghanistan with AK-47's then the 400 million "small arms" in private hands in the US is more than enough.

                                      • ASalazarMX 11 days ago
                                        > I've never really understood why citizens in the US aren't allowed these items

                                        If they buy missiles, logistics and costs of maintenance aside, they will want to use them, or worse, sell them in the black market at great profit for the cartels/mafia to use.

                                        • peyton 12 days ago
                                          What? You can own missiles. Fill out ATF 5320.4 and pay the tax stamp.
                                          • chillingeffect 12 days ago
                                            The only government it was ever concerned about was the British. The militia also maintained the slave state, which one reads between the lines is the eminent goal.
                                        • musingsole 12 days ago
                                          > imagine for a second if Javelin and Stinger missiles did have a civilian component.

                                          You mean if rocket clubs were free to pursue their interests to a much further extent than the toys they're restricted to now? Rockets don't always have to be weapons.

                                          • Arubis 12 days ago
                                            Maybe those rocket clubs would benefit (in the narrow, ignoring undesired side effects sense) by classifying their toys as munitions and seeking support from the NRA. I know there's folks that've wondered the same about protecting encryption via that path rather than by trying to classify it as protected speech.

                                            I can't say I love the priorities and values our current systems in the states represent.

                                            • BiteCode_dev 12 days ago
                                              Not to mention fireworks show it can be a perfectly safe endeavor with the proper legal framework. Even kids can use them.

                                              No, I'm way more worried about the fact a terrorist could come at my door with a tank at any moment and I have no way to defend myself. And what if it's not a terrorist ? What if I have to defend myself against the state itself ?

                                              At least we should be able to equip the schools to protect our children, if not directly our homes.

                                              • ricardobeat 12 days ago
                                                I have another idea. What if we all pooled together to buy some defense equipment, created some kind of club for training people, elected a bunch to run it; and then enjoyed the protection from this shared service without having to own heavy weapons ourselves?
                                                • BiteCode_dev 11 days ago
                                                  We could even call it "arm club" in reference to fight club, to make it popular. And eventually give it a cute nick name ending with -y like arm cluby. Or army.
                                                • ncmncm 12 days ago
                                                  You are at much greater immediate threat from your well-armed neighbors. And they from you.

                                                  Lately, the greatest ongoing threat from tyranny, by the numbers, is that visited upon black people by over-armed, trigger-happy, and unindictable police. In what way does your owning guns help, there? Better to disarm the police. But then police have no protection from people (superficially) like you.

                                                  • BiteCode_dev 11 days ago
                                                    You didn't get the /s of the thread apparently. I'm French. The US gun politics are bonkers to me.

                                                    Seriously, what sane person would be worried that a lone terrorist would manage to bring a tank to a suburb and need a civilian Javelin to fight that ? If a tank is at your door, it's not terrorism, it's war.

                                                    The fact it seemed credible enough for you to answer seriously to it makes me think the USA situation is even worse than I thought.

                                                    • musingsole 11 days ago
                                                      > Seriously, what sane person would be worried that a lone terrorist would manage to bring a tank to a suburb and need a civilian Javelin to fight that ? If a tank is at your door, it's not terrorism, it's war.

                                                      I'll just leave this here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Nelson_(criminal)#Tank...

                                                      (It wasn't even the tank rampage I was looking for...)

                                                      • ncmncm 11 days ago
                                                        Police departments issued armored personnel carriers are more worrisome, just by number.
                                                      • ncmncm 11 days ago
                                                        It is. Your joke is professed reality for probably a good third of Americans.
                                                • kornhole 12 days ago
                                                  A for profit weapons industry and a for profit health care industry create other problems such as more war and more sick and indebted citizens.
                                                  • spamizbad 12 days ago
                                                    Sorry 2nd amendment-hating missle-grabbers: the only way to stop a bad guy with a T72 is a good guy with a Javelin*

                                                    * or NLAW, Stugna, AT4, Carl Gustaf, general air superiority, etc.

                                                    /s

                                                    • lazide 12 days ago
                                                      Man, can you imagine range days with a Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle?

                                                      I can feel the noise ordinances from here!

                                                  • aftbit 12 days ago
                                                    History shows that peacetime nations frequently underestimate the cost of war. If you haven't seen them yet, Perun on YouTube has done a number of good videos on the economics of war & the Russo-Ukranian conflict in particular.

                                                    Here's one in particular that deals a bit with ammo shortages: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2ptG1IxZ08

                                                    • Spooky23 12 days ago
                                                      Id love to see a full accounting of the War on Terror. Trillions of dollars spent, millions of lives impacted, and for what.
                                                      • gumby 12 days ago
                                                        > Trillions of dollars spent, millions of lives impacted, and for what

                                                        1 - trillions of dollars funneled to friends in the defense industry

                                                        2 - fear induced in gullible sections of the populace to make them easier to gull.

                                                        Mission accomplished!

                                                        • ncmncm 12 days ago
                                                          The trillions did not vanish. Every last dollar found a receptive pocket.

                                                          Maybe look into how many millionaires and billionaires have been minted since 2001. Yet, they only got leavings from the Old Money table.

                                                        • skmurphy 12 days ago
                                                          The Perun video series is well researched and well presented.
                                                        • spywaregorilla 12 days ago
                                                          I'm not convinced. This is a weird war. Russia has an enormous supply of really shitty vehicles, indifference to losing tens of thousands of soldiers, and indifference to slaughtering civilians at will. Dumb artillery and cheap shells are a good solution for this. Will we ever see such a situation again? Russia is the only country that can do this as far as I can tell.

                                                          This is a war in large part being fought with tech from 50 years ago. The new stuff is only just reaching the front. I'm not sure how relevant the lessons to be learned are.

                                                          The javelins are a weird case. Yeah they probably did burn through javelins quickly. That'll happen if your enemy is careless with its troops and tanks. We can still make javelins a lot faster than Russia can make tanks, they just had a lot of tanks to begin with. We're now seeing russia roll out tanks from 60's. I'm inclined to believe that supply is rapidly running out.

                                                          • ClumsyPilot 11 days ago
                                                            > This is a weird war. Russia has an enormous supply of really shitty vehicles

                                                            yeah, well, imagine what would be happening if these vehicles weren't shitty

                                                            > indifference to losing tens of thousands of soldiers

                                                            You are comparing to recent conflicts. If you look at bit further back - during the vietnam war the US lost cose to 10,000 aircraft (helicopters, planes, everything) combined. That's about at many military aircraft as exists in the world today.

                                                            • spywaregorilla 11 days ago
                                                              That things are not like past wars anymore is precisely the point.
                                                            • topspin 12 days ago
                                                              > I'm not convinced.

                                                              Me either. Seems like this article characterized about the last month of the conflict. Things are about to change.

                                                              Precision weapons are arriving, with trained crews and Western ammo supply. By the end of June being a Russian artillery crew anywhere near the front in Ukraine will be a bad idea with HIMARS crews hunting you. Then UK M270s come online. German MARS GMLRS are apparently on the horizon as well. German PzH 2000 will be firing on Russians by about end of this week.

                                                              Added up this should blunt the one meaningful advantage the Russian's still have; massed cold war artillery. Take that away and what's left besides nukes? A horde of undersupplied Russian contract soldiers and whatever remains of their stock of PGMs. That's not sufficient to defeat Ukraine.

                                                              • ncmncm 12 days ago
                                                                Very small amounts of precision weapons are arriving.

                                                                More specifically, not enough. The article is correct. Numbers matter.

                                                                • topspin 12 days ago
                                                                  These are advanced weapons. They can't be integrated over night and everyone involved knows that. Meanwhile, the US Secretary Of Defense has already stated that these HIMARS are an "initial tranche." More will come with time.
                                                                  • topspin 11 days ago
                                                                    The Biden admin made this official today. More HIMARS coming in July.

                                                                    And Ukraine is about a week early; combat footage of a HIMARS battery firing on Russians emerged from Ukraine today.

                                                                  • spywaregorilla 10 days ago
                                                                    Numbers do matter, but don't read too much into Ukraine's pleas for hundreds of them. It's just hyperbole to justify getting dozens.
                                                                    • ncmncm 10 days ago
                                                                      Let me guess, you are not being shot at with thousands of artillery pieces, and with ballistic precision-guided rockets.
                                                                      • spywaregorilla 10 days ago
                                                                        I've donated 8k to Ukraine personally and am deeply supportive. I'm all for sending them pretty much whatever they want. I'm supportive of deploying US troops, back in time, to the beginning of the conflict.

                                                                        And yet, I still think the current HIMAR supplies are a significant contribution. I think Russia will have a very difficult time doing much more. I'm vaguely confident that Lysychansk will be the last significant area where they see any offensive progress, and am not certain they will succeed there either. Not entirely due to the HIMARs of course, but I remain optimistic. Especially if Russia continues to refuse a general mobilization.

                                                                        • ncmncm 10 days ago
                                                                          They need large numbers specifically because Russia is using large numbers. Each round typically destroys only one piece of enemy materiel. Used, it is gone. Even ideally, it usually takes several shells to destroy a tank or artillery piece, or missiles to sink a ship. If they have more of those than you have rounds, they win even if rounds are, in principle, much cheaper.

                                                                          That is their logic of sending in T72 tanks. Yes, they are easy to take out with the cheapest shoulder-launched missile, if shot from in-range, but until that happens each is a grave threat to life and limb. They are sending in whole trainloads.

                                                                  • themgt 10 days ago
                                                                    My guess is this comment is not going to age well. Fundamentally the point this article is making is: how many of those weapons / missiles do we have in the entire NATO stockpile? What's the annual production rate? How fast can that be scaled up? The numbers are not all public, but from what I can tell the answers are really surprisingly bad.

                                                                    e.g. it looks like Ukraine conducted a first HIMARS strike:

                                                                    https://twitter.com/ralee85/status/1540859211814502405

                                                                    "one of their salvos killed two and wounded several" and destroyed some vehicles - now multiply that times how many missiles the US and NATO has in their total stockpile and total annual production, and see if it that will win a war against a fully mobilized Russian army, much less China.

                                                                    • topspin 9 days ago
                                                                      The flaw in this thinking is the "fully mobilized Russian army" part. The full mobilization of Russia remains a hypothetical and until it actually happens Ukraine doesn't have to contend with it; all they have to do is keep bloodying the forces at hand and bleed Russia white. Can Russia undertake a full mobilization without destabilizing the Putin regime? That's not a given and time is against Russia in this regard.

                                                                      Regarding stockpiles: First, Russia has its own stockpile problems. They've depleted their PGMs and they can't get the components they need to make more. They've had to resurrect laughably obsolescent armor to backfill their losses. Second, the "low rate production" scheme the West has employed to replenish stockpiles between conflicts has worked well for us and so a working supply chain exists to be scaled up. Time is against Russia here as well. Aside from political will there is no reason we ultimately couldn't supply Ukraine with thousands of M31Ax rockets every month.

                                                                  • fock 12 days ago
                                                                    well, if you look at GDP, russias industry is about the same size as the one of Germany. Germany has a lot less workers (and gas ;)) for that amount of $ and they produce millions of cars. I guess Russia (which I don't know for any consumable industrial output) might be able to produce quite a few tanks (also look at numbers e.g. for BMP-3, which were all produced after 1990).
                                                                    • spywaregorilla 12 days ago
                                                                      Russian manufacturers rely on foreign imports to make both tanks and cars

                                                                      https://www.reuters.com/business/us-official-says-export-cur...

                                                                      Which seems to be supported by russian car sales falling off a cliff, though not anything 1:1 as those cars would have included imported cars too

                                                                      https://www.intellinews.com/russia-s-car-sales-drop-84-in-po...

                                                                      Things like artillery shells are probably fine for them to continue to produce in large quantities unfortunately. It's hard to estimate how many working vehicles russia has because a lot of them are poorly maintained, or missing parts or whatever. A lot of early analysis suggested many russian tanks were either lacking a gunner or the main gun just didn't work.

                                                                      Wikipedia suggests russia should have comissioned 700 BMP-3 units for itself. Open source intel has confirmed losses of 109 of them. I would tend to tack on about 30%. How many of the remaining 560 are out there? A good question.

                                                                      A more useful answer might be what do we actually see russia using in the field to get a better clue.

                                                                      • ncmncm 12 days ago
                                                                        Ukraine could probably do better destroying fuel trucks than tanks. It is easier and cheaper, and a tank with no fuel becomes war materiel for Ukraine.

                                                                        Ukraine probably understands this, but shots of tanks blowing up is good for morale.

                                                                        • Andaith 12 days ago
                                                                          I remember seeing that happen A LOT, during the inital push for Kyiv. The Ukrainians would only destroy the first few vehicles in a convoy to block the road at strategic points, then target fuel trucks. The Russians had to keep everything running to keep warm because of the time of year, but weren't advancing, and eventually abandoned a lot of vehicles and equipment.

                                                                          I'm pretty sure Ukraine still has more tanks than they started the war with as a result of these tactics.

                                                                      • gumby 12 days ago
                                                                        > well, if you look at GDP, russias industry is about the same size as the one of Germany.

                                                                        On a nominal basis Russia's economy is less than half Germany's and not much larger than Australia's. On PPP basis it's closer to Germany, but the industries of all three countries depend on foreign imports (Russia's especially) so PPP is less useful when considering industrial production.

                                                                        • nemo 12 days ago
                                                                          Germany's GDP: 3.8 trillion USD Russia's GDP: 1.4 trillion USD

                                                                          they're not that close in size...

                                                                        • mrelectric 12 days ago
                                                                          I would guess they're simply clearing the stock
                                                                          • ncmncm 12 days ago
                                                                            There is China. Very, very large amounts of both unseasoned soldiers and second-rate equipment. Yet, Taiwan has reason to fear.
                                                                            • golemiprague 12 days ago
                                                                            • pm90 12 days ago
                                                                              Maybe unpopular opinion: Its actually good that we may not have the industrial capacity to supply large scale conflicts for great lengths of time.

                                                                              There’s a simple solution to prevent conflicts like the one in Ukraine: expand NATO membership. It has turned out to be a n effective tool at preventing land wars in Europe.

                                                                              • bell-cot 12 days ago
                                                                                Lowest-cost scenario: No capacity to fight a large-scale war; no need to fight a large-scale war.

                                                                                Lower-middle-cost scenario: Capacity to fight a large-scale war; no need to fight a large-scale war.

                                                                                Upper-middle-cost scenario: Capacity to fight a large-scale war; a need to fight a large-scale war.

                                                                                Highest-cost scenario: No capacity to fight a large-scale war; a need to fight a large-scale war.

                                                                                (It'd be nice if NATO memberships were magical anti-war talismans. The reality is far more complex.)

                                                                                • LAC-Tech 12 days ago
                                                                                  If you put on your realist hat, there are two options.

                                                                                  One is for NATO (or another European military alliance) to be so powerful and cohesive in their relations to Russia, that Russia have no choice but to deal with it. This was presumably the false assumption that lead to the current war. (I really, really hope it was a false assumption).

                                                                                  The other option would have been to thaw relations, perhaps acquiescing to a few demands and showing more compromise. Say what you want about Russia - and there's a lot bad to say. But much worse actors have received much nicer treatment by the west. Think about everything that's been done to accommodate China since the end of the cold war, to say nothing of the likes of Saudi Arabia.

                                                                                  Instead a middle path was picked, and now we have war.

                                                                                  • negus 12 days ago
                                                                                    Did this simple solution prevent a war between two NATO members (Greece and Turkey) in past?
                                                                                    • gambiting 12 days ago
                                                                                      No, but it has prevented anyone attacking NATO countries from outside. It is not a solution for NATO countries fighting each other, however.
                                                                                  • pessimizer 12 days ago
                                                                                    > expand NATO membership

                                                                                    How could the cause of a conflict be the solution to preventing that conflict? Doing almost anything except attempting to expand NATO membership would have prevented the conflict in Ukraine.

                                                                                    • wbl 12 days ago
                                                                                      No it would not have. Ukrainian protest in 2014 was driven by wanting EU membership and trade ties. Russia responded with an invasion.
                                                                                      • ceeplusplus 12 days ago
                                                                                        Russia responded with an invasion because an EU state on their border would be like Mexico being an ally of China on the border of the US. Not saying Russian actions in the war haven't been despicable but if this happened to the US they would invade too.

                                                                                        I think the most likely outcome of this war is Ukraine gets split into 2 buffer states, one as a client to Russia and the other as a client to the EU/US. US can't afford to spend the hundreds of billions it would take for Ukraine to win (1000's of tanks, artillery pieces, IFVs, etc) and Putin can't back down now or he'll lose face and be toppled from leadership.

                                                                                        • spamizbad 12 days ago
                                                                                          I'm not sure if you've been paying attention to the current political situation in Mexico but AMLO has no problem strengthening ties to various countries that "threaten" US interests. And he's free to do so! Mexico is a sovereign country and is allowed to build diplomatic bridges to any nation it chooses. It would be completely inappropriate for the US try an annex Baja California or something in retaliation.

                                                                                          Just imagine if the international community took a firmer line on the US during GWOT - half a million lives could've been saved.

                                                                                          Edit: Was the US justified in fomenting death squads Latin America because those countries embraced socialism against the wishes of the United States? No? Then why is Russia entitled to a full-scale invasion over Ukraine's western aspirations?

                                                                                          • jonnybgood 12 days ago
                                                                                            There are already EU and NATO member states that border Russia and haven't been an issue for Russia. Russia/Putin in all likelihood really invaded because they believe Ukraine is ran by Nazis.
                                                                                            • 13415 12 days ago
                                                                                              No, this is not about Nazis. Putin simply always considered Ukraine to be part of Russia's legitimate "sphere of influence" and tried to steer it into becoming a pro-Russian vassal state. It's part of his incorrect views as a hobby historian. As a psychopath, or at least sociopath, he calculated that the 2014 invasion would not meet any strong resistance and was right. So he calculated in 2022 that grabbing more territory would work, too, and was wrong.

                                                                                              The problem with dictators like Putin is that they always overestimate their own judgments and nobody tells them when they're wrong. You could be the smartest guy of the world, if you run a whole country, are insanely rich, and constantly surround yourself with Yes-men, then your perception of reality will fail at some point. It's inevitable.

                                                                                              • ceeplusplus 12 days ago
                                                                                                You don't really think Putin believes that? Pretty sure that's just Russian propaganda for their domestic audience to justify the invasion. The real reason is preventing a EU ally on their border and gaining access to the gas fields in the Black Sea.
                                                                                                • Animats 12 days ago
                                                                                                  "You don't really think Putin believes that?"

                                                                                                  He seems to. Putin's clear goal is "Make the Russian Empire Great Again". He's been grumbling since the fall of the USSR that, for the first time in centuries, Russia is a second-rate, "or even a third-rate" power. He wants to turn that around. His role model is Peter the Great. His model of world power is the 19th century, when the British Empire, the Imperial German Empire, the Austria-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, and France had multiple medium-sized wars over land.

                                                                                                  This is a guy who was personally hammered by the fall of the USSR. The USSR had huge national security organizations and most of them were laid off. Putin himself was driving a cab for a while around 1990. There's a mindset amongst the former national security tough guys that they are supposed to be in charge. Now they are again. The strong rule; the weak cower. Such is the way of the world.

                                                                                                  Post-USSR capitalism was a disaster for Russia. People starved. The population dropped. That produced demand for a "strong leader", a long-standing theme in Russia. Weak Russian leaders have been disasters. (Kerensky, Gorbachev, etc.) Now, Russia again has a strong leader who bows to no one. Putin is popular.

                                                                                                  He can't afford to lose a war, though. Russian leaders who lose wars do not live long. He wouldn't survive to retire to a golf course in a warm climate.

                                                                                                  This is hugely oversimplified, and someone who knows more Russian history could do much better.

                                                                                                  • pm90 12 days ago
                                                                                                    What you said is all true, but the Nazi thing is almost certainly propaganda. Putin wants to restore the USSR and his justification for annexing Ukraine has been to question the existence of a separate Ukrainian Culture and State. You only have to go over the stuff he’s talked about since the last invasion; most of it is the reunification nostalgia, very little about defeating “Nazis”.
                                                                                                    • dragonwriter 12 days ago
                                                                                                      > Putin wants to restore the USSR

                                                                                                      The Russian Empire is probably more accurate (he has repeatedly specifically referenced Peter the Great); the USSR he has portrayed as simply a poorly managed intermediate stage of historical Russia.

                                                                                          • JanSolo 12 days ago
                                                                                            I think you're being facetious here. NATO expansion was Russias stated cause of the Ukrainian Conflict. However, Putin's statements since then have made it clear that the real objective is more of an ideological one. He wants to expand and build into a sort of neo-russian empire. Ukraine was considered the easiest target because of the ongoing Donbass conflict. However it could easily have been Georgia, Khazakstan, Azerbaijan or others.
                                                                                            • soperj 12 days ago
                                                                                              What caused Russia to invade Georgia in 2008 then?
                                                                                              • dmpk2k 12 days ago
                                                                                                https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/apr/01/nato.georgia

                                                                                                Five months later the Georgia war happened.

                                                                                                • corrral 12 days ago
                                                                                                  There's... a bit more background than that. Russian activity to fracture the country and outright threats of resolving the situation with military force, date back years before Georgia sought NATO membership, and indeed, before the '03 pro-western shift in their government. Which, gee, I wonder why they might have decided they want allies opposed to Russia.
                                                                                              • BiteCode_dev 12 days ago
                                                                                                If Ukraine had been in NATO, Russia wouldn't have invaded.

                                                                                                They did because Ukraine was in the verge of joining, knowing that once it was done, they would not be able to attack anymore.

                                                                                                Plus, NATO being historically a shield, not a sword, Russia stance was basically the equivalent of stating "to look for safety or we kick your ass".

                                                                                                • dmitrygr 12 days ago
                                                                                                  > was in the verge of joining

                                                                                                  Where did you get this incorrect information? Joining NATO non-negotiably requires checking a few boxes, one of which is having all your borders settled and under no dispute. Ukraine did not fit this requirement and thus could not have been on the verge of any such thing. They had stated their desire to join, then canceled (under Yanukovych), then re-stated it, but they were never even close to being admitted.

                                                                                                  • LAC-Tech 12 days ago
                                                                                                    NATOs operations have frequently involved air campaigns against states that pose no direct threat to any of its members. Quite a bizarre shield.

                                                                                                    You can tell me the operations were justified. I'm yet to be convinced that the Russian regime should not feel threatened by them.

                                                                                                    • ncmncm 12 days ago
                                                                                                      Troops need combat experience somewhere for there to be any hope of their effectiveness. That was enough justification, from a military standpoint.

                                                                                                      Unfortunate geopolitical consequences of the conflicts are unfortunate.

                                                                                                  • verve_rat 12 days ago
                                                                                                    Bullshit.
                                                                                                  • omginternets 12 days ago
                                                                                                    It’s only a good thing if nobody develops these capabilities unilaterally.
                                                                                                    • pm90 12 days ago
                                                                                                      Right, but only regional powers have a real chance of doing that.

                                                                                                      Before you have a military industrial complex, you need the industrial complex, or at least the capacity to develop one. Smaller countries with scant resources are vulnerable to sanctions so they generally don’t have this capability. The bigger countries try and get nukes. Who’s left?

                                                                                                      • omginternets 11 days ago
                                                                                                        Your reasoning doesn’t hold. Bigger countries don’t “try to get nukes” at the expense of an industrialized military. They can, and do, get both.
                                                                                                    • barry-cotter 12 days ago
                                                                                                      > Its actually good that we may not have the industrial capacity to supply large scale conflicts for great lengths of time.

                                                                                                      If WW1 Germany and France had the industrial capacity then any modern developed country does. The dislocation will just be more wrenching. Dislocation can include losing the war.

                                                                                                      • corrral 12 days ago
                                                                                                        - Expanding membership of a mutual-defense alliance is risky. If you let someone in who's good at picking fights, you can end up in a situation that you really didn't want to, and that may not have happened in the first place if they hadn't had the treaty to make them feel more secure with e.g. brinksmanship.

                                                                                                        - Shifts in political alignment of members can, similarly, do strange things and lead to bad situations. Take Hungary—right now they just look maybe just a tad down the path toward authoritarianism, but what if that turned into a civil war? What if the government that you're allied with gets into a bit of the good ol' genocide? Serb/albanian type situation, or maybe just your run of the mill widespread political purges? On the one hand there's some moral obligation to intervene, plus the legitimate interests of neighboring states in countering severe violence and instability in their vicinity; on the other hand now you and anyone else who's considering intervention, in the alliance or not, has a bit of a dilemma on their hands. It complicates an already complicated situation.

                                                                                                        - As an alliance grows stronger it invites reaction from opponents. This doesn't make those reactions "right" (I'm very aware that this is one argument for why Russia invaded) but it's a fact. The reaction needn't be war, but might be creation or expansion of opposing alliances. Larger alliances, more shared borders in more places... that's a recipe for world war.

                                                                                                        Every member you add is, in a sense, a long-term liability and threat to the stability of the alliance. These arrangements are not purely beneficial, in practice, including for members.

                                                                                                        • gunfighthacksaw 12 days ago
                                                                                                          But that would undermine Russia’s security to invade neighbouring countries, install kleptocrats and subjugate the population! You can’t just have a unified bloc of prosperous, (mostly) democratic countries right there; how scandalous! /s
                                                                                                          • WillPostForFood 12 days ago
                                                                                                            There’s a simple solution to prevent conflicts like the one in Ukraine: expand NATO membership

                                                                                                            I agree, but it is too late to do any good for Ukraine now. We need to industrially produce an end to the conflict, or give it over to Russia.

                                                                                                          • baybal2 12 days ago
                                                                                                            An excellent article when it comes to throwing a dry fact into the face.

                                                                                                            An even greater commentary been provided by this tweet: https://twitter.com/kamilkazani/status/1539623100144295936

                                                                                                            How did America pump out liberty ships faster than even China can build ships today during the WW2?

                                                                                                            US military production was a byproduct of its great civilian heavy industry. US tanks, ships, airplanes, bomber, guns were mostly made by factories repurposed from making civilian goods. So when the demand for them waned, so did the raw military potential. This was in contract to USSR, where civilian manufacturing was a byproduct of weapon production.

                                                                                                            American military planners knew that all well during the late cold war, and its pursuit of "smart weapons" was an attempt to substitute quality for quantity, and capitalise on American leadership in electronics. This paid out extremely well. Even first generation smart munitions were many times more efficient.

                                                                                                            After the Cold War, US peacetime military planning started to stagnate, and finally disappeared due to obsession with "special operations" during the War on Terror, and military procurement becoming a business like operation. By only allowing expensive toys winning procurement competitions, the military pigeonholed itself into extremely uncompetitive purchasing position.

                                                                                                            While USA has no rivals in arms exports for things like fighter jets, nearly no brand new weapon systems developed after year 2000 are bought by US allies. As you see even now, most bought US hardware today is still from the Cold War era, which is a proof of the above. Look at the super expensive titanium M777 howitzer: they wanted to restart its production recently, but... surprise! They have to buy its titanium from Russia. F35's titanium bulkheads are now turning into a similar issue.

                                                                                                            US electronics is no longer an edge for its military industry, and more likely a liability. What however the West can deny China, and Russia are high grade machine tools, and other implements for the heavy industry: modern Chinese steel industry was built by Dutch, car industry by Germans and Italians, materials by Japan, electronics assembly by Taiwanese, and heavy machinery by Koreans.

                                                                                                            • Throwawayaerlei 12 days ago
                                                                                                              "nearly no brand new weapon systems developed after year 2000 are bought by US allies"

                                                                                                              Could you enumerate a few more of them than the obviously ludicrous M777? And does that count as "brand new"?? What about the Standard Missile 3 for example?