Thursday, March 02, 2023

Is the U.S. Egging on the War in Ukraine?

What do you think about the United States getting more deeply involved with the Russian-Ukraine War? The U.S. and NATO have been fanning the conflict by dumping increasing levels of military material in Ukraine and promising even more aid. In fact, President Biden recently flew to Kyiv to personally tell Ukrainian President Zelenskyy that the U.S. will be sending some $500 million dollars worth of military hardware. In January 2023, the Department of Defense proposed a $3 billion dollar package in military aid to Ukraine. 

If we go back to January 2022, we'll find that $3 billion dollars in of your money is just a drop in bucket. Starting in January 2022 through January of this year, you and I have paid for $78.8 billion dollars in aid to Zelenskyy. 31% of that (or about $23.5 billion) was exclusively for military hardware. Another 6% (or $4.7 billion) in the form of grants and loan guarantees for military purposes just in case they want to buy from one of our allies or something.

On top of that, American taxpayers have ponied up $18.3 billion in "security assistance". This covers logistic support, training, and incidentals like boots, belts, uniforms, winter/summer uniforms, rations and whatever else that's not covered previously. In short, the DOD is that one stop shopping that despots, tyrants, and warmongers the world over have come to count on. I wouldn't be surprised if each purchase didn't come with a gold "skull and crossbones" stick pin.

So, the total package just for military related items comes to $46.6% billion dollars, or 61% of $78.8 billion dollars in aid we've given so far.  As they say on television infomercials..."but wait, there's more!", and indeed there is. We've given $26.4 billion in financial aid. This is suppose to cover rebuilding Ukraine's infrastructure, ranging from rebuilding buildings and bridges to schools, roads, and general clean up.

So, what about the people of Ukraine? You know, the women and children that Biden briefly mentioned in his press conference with President Zelenskyy? Well, out of the $78.8 billion dollars, they were slated to receive $3.9 billion in aid. This was to cover temporary shelter, food assistance (including baby formula), as well as medical treatment and medicine. That amounts to just 5% of the 78.8% we provided on last year (and that doesn't cover the additional money that Biden just promised).  

It's worth noting that U.S. military aid to Ukraine has far exceed the amount of aid we've provide any other country, including our closest allies such as Israel which has received a beggarly $3.3 billion. Jordan has receives a mere $504 million dollars in military aid. For the record, prior to the war, Ukraine received just $284 million in American military hardware. 

As an aside, it's worth noting that while President Biden is being so generous with your money, he made no mention of trying to find a way to bring this war to end. You would think that in addition to spreading all that money around a little more fairly, especially on the humanitarian aid side, he would want to see a peaceful and fair resolution to this war.

Accurate reports are hard to come by, but it has been reported that at least 8,000 civilians have been killed with over 13,000 others injured. Many experts are saying that the number of civilian deaths have likely been grossly underreported and added that perhaps as many as 100,000 civilians are possibly dead and buried under unexplored rubble. Military deaths on both sides have lost far in excess of 100,000 each with some estimates putting the number of Russian troops killed as high as 200,000.

Here at home, we have a failing infrastructure system (we are rated a "C-" by the American Society of Civil Engineers). The World Economic Forum's of global infrastructure rankings placed the U.S. 13th in the world out of 141 countries, behind the United Arab Emirates and ahead of Belgium for 2019.  

We have a school system which consistently fails to measure up to international standards (we're 14th overall). A healthcare system which is just as bad (the U.S is 11th, which dead last among the leading industrialized nations). We are faced with rising food and gas prices, as well as rising taxes and stagnate wages amid an inflation rate of 6.4% (last year the inflation rate ranged from 7.480% to 9.060% with the majority being around 8.5%).

Our general quality of life has been on the decline for several years. Globally, we are ranked in the second tier at the 21st. Among the top countries ranked above us include Scandinavia, Germany, the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand, Italy and Portugal. We even have one of lowest life expectancies of any developed nation---in 46th place!

We have the highest income disparity of any developed nation. Top tier incomes among the one percent make more than 84% more than the bottom 20%. The top 20% earned more than half---52.2%---of all U.S. income in 2020.  CEO's average incomes that are more than 399% more than that of the average employee.  Despite laws to the contrary, women still earn on 82 cents for every dollar her male co-worker earns (the disparity is worse among female minorities).

What about the U.S. military? There's no question that after fighting a 20 year war, the U.S. military was pretty exhausted. Much of our equipment, including tanks, planes, and ships, were in desperate need of some intense maintenance. We were starting to run shortages in everything from bombs and ammunition to spare parts.  We've also experienced a drop in enlistments as service members decided to get out (it's worth noting that during our 20 year misadventure in Afghanistan and Iraq, service members did more tours of duty than at any point in U.S. military history. Much of that was under combat conditions).

According to a report published by Defense News, a detailed report by the Heritage Foundation showed that the U.S. military was weaker than it was in 2022. The "Index of U.S. Military Strength" focuses on the need for the U.S. to be prepared to be able to engage in two wars simultaneously or a major regional confrontation. 

The report goes to say that the U.S. military fails to meet that objective, and currently would struggle in a single front confrontation. The article goes on to state that the military is still capable of "projecting" its strength around the world (meaning we can be anywhere at any time), our fighting capabilities are greatly diminished.

Of all the various branches, only the Marines were still rated as "strong" (hooyah "Devil Dogs"!). The Army was rated as "marginal" while the Navy was "weak" and the Air Force was "very weak". The Space Force was also listed as "weak", citing slow updating of ageing technological platforms.

The Navy's score was based on a lack of combat fit ships (most are in need of overhaul) and an inadequate number of additional "manned" ships. The Air Force lacks adequately trained pilots and the pilots they do have are logging in less than satisfactory flight time (same for the Navy). Nevertheless, we seem to have enough "surplus" military hardware to send to Ukraine but not to satisfy our own needs. To me that just doesn't make sense.

Finally, the reports identifies China as our primary military adversary due to its expanding military capabilities, technology, and growing aggressiveness. China was followed by Russia with its large nuclear capability. North Korea was mention as low threat along with various countries in the Middle East including Iran.

So, where does that leave us? At present the United States is still trying to be the world's policeman and arbiter of events. However, things are rapidly changing. China is now the world's largest economy according to some experts Where it can continue at its present pace is another question. Countries like India and Brazil are on the ascent economically too.

The U.S. is showing serious cracks in almost every area, especially the most important ones of education, technology, and global competitiveness.  It's political system has morphed from a Republic into a neo-fascist Corporatocracy; a surveillance state born out of fear thanks to 9/11. We have a social and political divide unlike anything since the decade preceding the Civil War, not to mention a growing economic divide brought on in part by our "outsourcing" of good paying production jobs.

We are unwilling to stop the hemorrhage of illegal immigration. Worse yet, politicians no longer have the decency to lie to us about trying to stop it!  They just ignore and keep on doing as they please. And so, those who encourage them to come over and those who hire them, often turning these individuals into serf labor, go unpunished.

Meanwhile, we maintain the highest prison population in the world; much of which is based on uneven sentencing. We focus on "doing time" rather than rehabilitation for those convicted of non-violent crimes. We even fine and convict individuals for possession of what grows naturally. Tell me corporation self-interest isn't behind this.

I think our chief problem stems from our failure to take a stand and then stand by our decision. We're too afraid of "offending" someone or being called a name than speaking the truth. We don't want to take responsibility for our actions. Instead, we find someone or something else to blame. There are consequences to our actions and we need to step up and own them---good or bad. 

 When it comes to the government we keep falling into the same ole trap that somehow, magically, the "next time it will be different". We allow ourselves to be seduced by the lies. Politicians, the two corporate owned political parties and their corporate owners are counting on it. It won't change. Why? Because we fail to remember the adage that what we allow to happen will continue to happen.

Lastly, we have a bad habit of sticking our noses where they don't belong globally. It's not our place to decide what government or leader another country should have. Did you know that since the end of WWII in 1945, the U.S. has been involved in the overthrown or attempted overthrow of 57 countries, including the predecessor of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy? 

We need to accept the decision of a people freely voting in their own country for the government they want whether we like it or not and then to find ways to work with those governments if we really want to promote democracy. Besides, we wouldn't tolerate it, why should anyone else?

Not everyone wants to be America's "mini-me". In fact, of all 96 democracies in the world, not a single one has emulated the United States. Not one. Instead, they prefer the parliamentary system of the UK where everyone is represented in lieu of our "winner-take-all" two corporate party system.

Americans are, by and large, a very generous people. We've come to the world's rescue every time disaster has struck. In the case of Ukraine, we should continue to help the people of Ukraine with humanitarian aid while stopping to egg on a war aimed at: A: Antagonizing Putin, B: Securing Right to the oil and gas, C: Securing rights to coal and other natural resources, D: Threatening Russia's national security with NATO/U.S. missiles on Russia's border. Our focus should be on stopping a war which could have and should have been avoided.


 If you want to know more about this article's topic, please check out the links below. If you enjoyed the article, please consider passing it along to others and don't forget to subscribe. It's free! Lastly please be sure to "like" us on whatever platform you use to read It helps with the algorithms and keeps our articles in circulation. Thank you! 


How Much Aide Has the U.S. Sent Ukraine? Here Are Six Charts

Soaring Death Total Gives Grim Insight Into Russian Tactics


U.S. Health System Ranks Last Among 11 High-Income Countries

The Quality of Life


US military in decline, threats from China "formable" , report says

Executive Summary of the 2023 Index of U.S. MilitaryStrength





Richard Kenneth Eng said...

I always laugh when Americans accuse China of being "aggressive." How many wars has China fought since 1979? Zero. How many wars has America fought since 1979?

US "democracy" has always been a joke. Julius Nyerere famously said, “The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.”

Americans are wonderful people. It's the ones elected into political office who are out of their minds. They're corrupted by money and in the back pocket of the corporate elite (military-industrial complex, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Everything).

Paul Hosse said...

Thank you Richard for your comment. Sadly, I have to completely agree. Our Republic is gone. We have devolved into an neo-fascist corporatocracy, led by an uber wealthy elite not so affectionately known as Oligarchs. They own both parties along with the media. Our Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves!