A butterfly flaps its wings in China and a German arms manufacturer can't make ammunition.
JVL thanks for continuing the triad during the holiday! But of course you all should take a break, you deserve it.
Hopefully I don't sound too communist... but globallism is driven by capitalism. My Trumpy friend lamented the lack of baby formula during the pandemic and of course blamed the left and Biden - basically feeling and saying that THE LEFT in charge destroys access to basic necessities, when that should be a basic thing that the government does for the country. I did not have the heart to tell her that the party of patriotism stop talking about buying American a LONG time ago.
Before my body gave up on me, I worked in automotive then aerospace for many years. The auto industry contorted itself terribly to try and hang on to the "American made" label, and the government was A ok with it. If a Japanese supplier opened an office in America, all of a sudden all those assemblies that came from Japanese labor were "American made" and the box labeling sported the name of the new subsidiary that was only an office here, ex. Yazaki America. Later they gave up the pretense and the industry shifted to saying "US automakers" without discussing where parts were made. The public saw a big shift in auto dealers - a popular one in the Cleveland area used to advertise "American, and Proouud of it!" That guy now peddles Kias along with Chevy.
It is similar in aerospace, a constant drive to get lower priced parts no matter where they come from, with divisions even measured and rewarded for increased foreign supply chains. For US military, the push is always for lower price, and also a push to simplify acquisition in order to reduce government spending. (Sourcing parts and their engineering drives the cost way up.) To this end, even for defense products, the government bends backwards to create ways we can source internationally, including the sharing of technical data and any Military Specifications (materials, strength, tolerances, etc) needed to create the parts. They also now allow the sale of miltitary aircraft to "partner" countries. Not only do potential future "enemies" have the aircraft in hand to replicate, but it is made much easier because maintaining aircraft requires a full system of documentation for repair and replacement of parts.
This is all driven by capitalism. That is why we needed to bring some chip mfgs up to speed with gov money. China and Japan are more advanced in the ways they manage labor (I assume also with managing engineering and development) than we are. Removal of waste and mastery of work instructions is a big deal all the time, from the time a worker is hired or from the time a new mfg plant is built. We just don't have the same focus. So over time, American suppliers simply cannot compete on cost, and this is one reason American mfg jobs don't pay workers well, it is the one of the 2 obvious cost cutting targets of head count and wage. Obvious because it is easier to see these costs that add most of the value to a product. It is much harder to assess all the salaried overheads (that is one reason that Musk at Twitter just started with a big labor cut - it makes it much easier to see what departments & functions are critical to the business, and which are "fattier.")
Sorry for the long post. My point was that if we want a robust supply chain, we need to invest domestically and evaluate all the ways we make a workforce strong. And capitalism does not incentivize companies to do this. Those US chip makers are going to require government subsidies to compete with China forever, or until we make changes.
Thanks for your response. Since I have no idea who you are or what your experience with Salamander, I'll reserve any judgment. Also, I feel strongly that Bulwark folks would not be likely to to recommend a post that was overtly anti- AV.
But, I could be wrong. Time will tell
"Amateur warriors deal in tactics. Professional soldiers deal in logistics. "
True enough, and thanks for the referral to Salamander.
Cynical re-interpretation of the quote, from a career senior enlisted, very much a combat type (Falklands) in Her Majesty's armed forces:
"Amateurs study tactics. Pseudo-intellectuals study logistics. Professionals study promotion."
I never served in uniform, but I did, as part of my stint in the military industrial complex, see a fair amount of that (along with bureaucratic infighting) in the up or out US armed forces. But then I mostly dealt with officers doing tours in the Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) or occasionally procurement or program management offices.
Everything Elliott Pearce says is true. What the Russians did was a textbook example of the old joke about wanting to accomplish something in the worst way. But beyond that-- far beyond -- the situation that Putin's folly has created has much to teach us about what reality is and it should scare us. The old saw about learning from history -- we learn only the wrong lessons from the past, yet in retrospect we see, if we can free ourselves from our selves (our heuristics, our deep id needs) how stupid we were not to see what was clearly before our eyes at the time. Yet we insisted on acting as if what we constructed in our cognition from our sense impressions was
As an amateur historian, I'm of course of that ilk that knows all from his armchair. And it's easy for me to analyze all the battles of history, from Guagamela or before to Kaserine Pass to Vietnam to ... pick your instance. Because So here goes.
One thing we see is clearly that if empires hang on long enough against weaker opponents the weaker opponents get enslaved if not exterminated. Logistics and determination always win in the end, if the fight stretches out long enough. [Debate here, I seek to be enlightened if wrong.] For a weaker opponent to prevail against a stronger empire it has either to have that empire collapse or change its objective, or have that empire exhaust its ability to continue the constest. Rome survived innumerable catastrophic setbacks in its ascendency because it Never, Never, Never gave up. Not just Rome of course.
The weaker party must endure until the stronger party gives up, or exhausts his resources (his as male pronoun because men are-- fill this in. )
Lots to mention here, but in the case of Putin, and indeed the case of all polities striving in war, among the resources, in the absence of annihilation, ability to press on is the dominant element.
Hitler had this. He ran out of resources. Stalin didn't, because Hitler ran out of resources first.
Churchill understood this. He had help and he wasn't at his last extremity. But he knew he could have been France. France wasn't out of resources, it gave up. Churchill didn't. Neither did Stalin or Hitler.
By the way, if you admire Chuchilll, I recommend you google the Punjab Famine. To win WWII he was instrumental in starving millions of Indians -- subjects of the Raj, theoretically as dear to the monarch as any other subject -- to death. Look it up. I do not know yet, having not thought through this, exactly how I judge his actions. The best I can say would be, he was confronted with a real life trolley problem, and acted as his background and the exigencies of the moment impelled him. So did Robert E Lee, John C. Calhoun, Ulysses S Grant, and countless others. The morality of wars is sufficient to cause one to entetrain as not entirely deplorable, thoughts that humanity, as homo sapiens, will eventually cease to afflict our planet.
So my point is actually twofold. First, Putin is probably not wrong to imagine that if only he can hold on, the Ukrainians will run out of resources - among these foreign support with superior munitions. You can subjugate a people with no armament more complicated than sharpened sticks if you have numbers on your side and the opponent has nothing better left in his armory. He may succeed or he may fail. We shall see.
But the second is even more serious. Probably this was not Putin's plan -- almost assuredly it was not -- but whatever his intent, he is accomplishing something greatly to his advantage in his conceived life and death struggle with what we formerly called, and still for lack of a better term, call the West. The war in Ukraine is depleting the armories of Western polities. If the Ukraine conflict continues long enough, NATO, the Americans, and the polities potentially in line to object to expansionist military behavior from the large assemblage of variously authoritarian regimes seeking advantage against them will be catastrophically vitiated, if not utterly eliminated. And without those armories the non-authoritarian miscellany cannot hope to hold their own, much less prevail, against the ambitions of those who have ambitions to render them helpless neutrals or even subordinate vassals.
So all the West should be engaged in an emergeny project to re-stock. Not the insane arasenals of folly of the cold war -- the damned stupid horrible awful resource-wasting missiles, tanks, bombs, bullets, drones... all the things that are needed to ensure that they are worthless, but whose acquistion requires vast expenditures of energy and treasure at the expense of meeign acute human needs.
Where is Biden and my party on this? Silent. And even more silent --not even silent, but worse, actively trying to prevent action -- his trading-card NFT flogging adversaries, focused on destroying any hope of domestic consensus on any issue, even (and especially) existential emergencies) to attain immediate political mastery.
By the way, I've been a Democrat, and deeply skeptical of the way we've squandered our military resources (Vietnam, Iraq, the cold war nuclear madness of tens of thousands of warheads and delivery systems invented more to aggrandize economic interests than to counter an actual military threat). But I'm afraid this is different.
The Chinese are watching. Putin is hunkering down and he knows when we run out of fancy stuff we're going to hold back whatever we have left. When we are down to supplying pointed sticks, will we recall and regret pretending nothing important was happening?
That our federal grandees quickly unknotted the supply chain to feed the war machine but can't do the same for such unimportant things as food and medicine for everyday Americans speaks volumes about our priorities. War is indeed a racket, General Smedley.
As others have noted, you included the Wolfe story twice. But no matter because it’s a great story! And a great newsletter this morning, so thanks for that. As for your girls’ basketball team winning in your absence (per yesterday’s Secret Podcast), they were just trying to prove their worth so you’d return as their coach!
BTW, when it comes to things military, mostly with minimum political commentary I follow the folks over at Task and Purpose.
You liked Labash writing so much you clipped the Wolfe story twice!
Have been reading Slack Tide from the jump, and for reasons not completely understood (even by me) am an unabashed Tide / Labash promoter, and would recommend it and him to anyone, with the caveat that Labash's style, while much appreciated by myself and many others, may, at least at times, be an acquired taste for some, sort of like the bourbon he seems to savor. But it's a taste worth acquiring if you don't already have it and want to challenge your own viewpoint of some things occasionally. And I will say that, like JVL's comment section, Slack Tide's is top shelf. Labash rides herd pretty close on it, and brooks no a--holery, though hot and spicy is OK, as long as proffered in reasonable quantities. And I've *met* many a good writer there as well.
JVL's first link "about writing" hooks up to Labash's Free Range piece from July, in which Alex Didion is the "interviewer". "2022: The Year We Won't Forget" posted yesterday, and Didion again serves as interlocutor. At the risk of becoming a complete Labash shill with absolutely no shame at all...
Full disclosure: I don't know Labash. Never met the guy. Never even heard the sound of his voice, which apparently is the way he likes it, him having written in the past about not doing pods and such because he prefers his writing do the talking for him. Which I think it does pretty well. And I've received no financial compensation or other inducements for this completely unsolicited endorsement.
(Alright, Matt. That's another bottle of the top shelf stuff you owe me. That puts the count of what you owe up to...well, anyway, my shelf's gettin' empty. Time to pony up. I've got guests coming for the holidays, and I'm a cheapskate and would rather not make it BYOB just because you're one, too.)
Earlier this year, you got me started on Matt Labash and Slack Tide. Thanks.
Just two, about some great word choices: Labash's "in my cups" - haven't heard that one in a while; and Dinan's "synedoche" - had to look that one up.
I think the interesting thing about the Cdr Salamander article is that I suspect that JVL grasped the problem far better than the Cdr did. The Cdr may be super knowledgeable but his Rush Limbaugh type writing style make him suspect.
My main take away is this. What makes you think it is possible to put the genie back in the bottle and manufacture everything it takes to conduct a modern war in one country. Even one as diverse as ours.
Another point on this subject. Now imagine being a country where half of the manufactures, who supply your defense manufacturing, can't trade with you because of sanctions.
Matt Labash on writing is spectacular, thanks for highlighting, but the factoid he revealed that has left me amazed on a Saturday morning is that Tom Wolfe drew inspiration from...Henry Miller!
JVL as usual has brought up an important fact no one has addressed in all the happy talk about Ukraine's military success.
When Ukraine and NATO run out of smart munitions Putin will still have millions of human cannon fodder units. A million casualties mean nothing to him. He has a fifth colunn in America that now controls the judiciary and one house of Congress. It is in their power to cause a US debt default and/or other disasters-- leading to recapture of the White House, a depression, and/.or sufficient other chaos to eliminate America as an effective supporter of the Ukrainians.
When the Ukrainians are out of the weaponry they need to counter the Russian advantage in sheer numbers, and the West has abandoned them, then it's just a matter of Putin and his regime holding on.
Loved, loved, loved the Matt Labash. I've been a reader - writer since before I could actually do either. Probably started with my Bible-thumping gramma's endless Bible Stories for Children - nestled in her lap. These characters didn't wear clothes, they wore garments, and richly colored ones too. Oh boy! But soon enough I told gramma I was outta there if all the peeps who didn't do as they were told were going to hell. Not me.
My highest aspiration has always been to be a housewife. My first written work, as soon as I could write words, was a play called Spring Cleaning, modeled after my mom ( a gifted housewife and a pretty damaged person ), and her BFF's complaints about...housecleaning. All I remember of it is that the 2 characters wore bandanas and the play made the adults laugh. Success!
Now I have, somewhere around here, about 5 written takes on the scum - almost-alive scum - between the toilet and the bathtub. And back behind the toilet...you're on your knees, on the hard floor, and it hurts and then and you've got to reach way back there with your sponge but you've left the bucket of warm sudsy water out of reach so now you have to scoot, on your knees, to reach it. It hurts more, and now even my shoulder hurts from clonking the bathtub. How does all that thick, hairy scum even get there? Is it just natural, or are there darker forces at work? Then, as I pack up my tools, the bathroom actually kinda shines and I like that.
I've always heard the 'write what you know about.' So I do.
Thanks for the Salamander link.
While I cannot admit to asking similar questions from the start, I did start to wonder several months ago, what happens to our military if some other state decides to jump ugly, we open the door to the storage room, and there is nothing there. The burn rate of munitions inexorably leads to Salamander's post
also, found this article from 8 years ago. Since it was such an obvious solution, I trust they didn't muck it up