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Anti-Empire

Anti-Empire

offsite link The Wholesome Photo of the Month Thu May 09, 2024 11:01 | Anti-Empire

offsite link In 3 War Years Russia Will Have Spent $3... Thu May 09, 2024 02:17 | Anti-Empire

offsite link UK Sending Missiles to Be Fired Into Rus... Tue May 07, 2024 14:17 | Marko Marjanović

offsite link US Gives Weapons to Taiwan for Free, The... Fri May 03, 2024 03:55 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Russia Has 17 Percent More Defense Jobs ... Tue Apr 30, 2024 11:56 | Marko Marjanović

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Alternative Copy of thesaker.is site is available Thu May 25, 2023 14:38 | Ice-Saker-V6bKu3nz
Alternative site: https://thesaker.si/saker-a... Site was created using the downloads provided Regards Herb

offsite link The Saker blog is now frozen Tue Feb 28, 2023 23:55 | The Saker
Dear friends As I have previously announced, we are now “freezing” the blog.  We are also making archives of the blog available for free download in various formats (see below). 

offsite link What do you make of the Russia and China Partnership? Tue Feb 28, 2023 16:26 | The Saker
by Mr. Allen for the Saker blog Over the last few years, we hear leaders from both Russia and China pronouncing that they have formed a relationship where there are

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2023/02/27 ? Open Thread Mon Feb 27, 2023 19:00 | cafe-uploader
2023/02/27 19:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link The stage is set for Hybrid World War III Mon Feb 27, 2023 15:50 | The Saker
Pepe Escobar for the Saker blog A powerful feeling rhythms your skin and drums up your soul as you?re immersed in a long walk under persistent snow flurries, pinpointed by

The Saker >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Could Ed Miliband Bring Down the Government? Sat Jul 13, 2024 15:00 | Will Jones
Ed Miliband is reportedly set to end new drilling in the North Sea and the cost of Net Zero is projected to run into the hundreds of billions. The scene is being set for the failures that could bring down the Government.
The post Could Ed Miliband Bring Down the Government? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link British Empire Must be Presented Like Nazi Germany, Curriculum Guidelines Insist Sat Jul 13, 2024 13:00 | Will Jones
The British Empire should be taught to school pupils like Nazi Germany, curriculum guidelines from the "leading provider of support for schools and trusts? insist.
The post British Empire Must be Presented Like Nazi Germany, Curriculum Guidelines Insist appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Labour Accused of ?Gambling With Public Safety? as it Unveils Plan to Free Prisoners After Just 40% ... Sat Jul 13, 2024 11:00 | Will Jones
Labour was accused of "gambling with public safety" as it unveiled a plan to free prisoners after just 40% of their sentence and a Minister suggested jail terms should be shorter still.
The post Labour Accused of “Gambling With Public Safety” as it Unveils Plan to Free Prisoners After Just 40% of Sentence appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Labour Set to Ban Puberty Blockers Permanently Sat Jul 13, 2024 09:00 | Will Jones
A ban on puberty blockers brought in by the Tories before the election could be made permanent as the Labour Party takes a harder stance on transgender issues.
The post Labour Set to Ban Puberty Blockers Permanently appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Miliband the Mad Monk Sat Jul 13, 2024 07:00 | Ben Pile
If Keir Starmer really intends to govern "unburdened by doctrine" why did he put a swivel-eyed climate zealot in charge of Britain's energy policy?
The post Miliband the Mad Monk appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link Netanyahu soon to appear before the US Congress? It will be decisive for the suc... Thu Jul 04, 2024 04:44 | en

offsite link Voltaire, International Newsletter N°93 Fri Jun 28, 2024 14:49 | en

offsite link Will Israel succeed in attacking Lebanon and pushing the United States to nuke I... Fri Jun 28, 2024 14:40 | en

offsite link Will Netanyahu launch tactical nuclear bombs (sic) against Hezbollah, with US su... Thu Jun 27, 2024 12:09 | en

offsite link Will Israel provoke a cataclysm?, by Thierry Meyssan Tue Jun 25, 2024 06:59 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Anti-Empire - Thu May 09, 2024 11:01

Destroyed Western equipment in Moscow brings joy to the faces of Yemeni and Serbian military attachés:

Destroyed Western equipment in Moscow brings joy to the faces of Yemeni and Serbian military attachés:

Anti-Empire - Thu May 09, 2024 02:17

Recently media has been posting that Gazprom has reported an annual operating loss of $7 billion — its first in twenty years.

However, I find there are other more interesting aspects to Gazprom's finances.

In 2024 Gazprom plans to spend $17 billion in capital investments, having spent $21 billion on the same in 2023, and $33 billion in 2022.

The decline from 2022 to 2023 is merely due to ruble devaluation. In ruble terms, 2 trillion were invested in each of these years, with 1.6 trillion to follow in 2024.

In three years then Gazprom will have spent $71 billion on new production, transport and refining (it also has an oil branch) capacity.

This compared to Russia spending $86 billion on the military in 2022, $109 billion in 2023, and $117 billion planned for 2024. This comes out to a combined $312 billion.

In other words, in three war years, (a war involving NATO with 100,000 Russians dead so far) Gazprom alone will have invested 23% of what Russia has invested into the war, into the gas business. 

$312 billion for the war, $71 billion for Gazprom to develop gas and oil fields, build pipelines, refineries, LNG terminals.

For more context, Gazprom capital investments in 2022 were equal to 1.4% of Russia's entire GDP. As well as 1.2 percent of GDP in 2023 and, 0.9 percent in 2024.

There are two ways to look at this. One is to say that it's good that Russia continues to make the investments that will sustain its revenue in the coming years and decades.

For example, Gazprom is contractually bound to up its export volume through Power of Siberia to China from 22 bcm to 38 bcm by 2025. That for one sounds like a project that ought to be completed, not least because the payoff is assured and will come soon.

However, in the energy business, the nature of most investments is such that they won't be recouped for decades, and in the meantime there is a war raging with 120 Russian dead daily.

There is an opposite argument to be made that Russia ought to stop these lavish peace projects and for a time being direct all energies to getting herself out of the Ukraine quagmire as soon as possible.

Instead, the approach Putin has landed on after September 2022 has been to resource the war in the way that can be sustained forever, but in a way that is indifferent to Russia's battlefield fortunes.

On the one hand, at 6% GDP war spending and low levels of forced mobilization relative to population size, Russia really isn't accumulating all that much war exhaustion, and can keep soldiering on forever.

But on the other hand, the current war investment can't guarantee much more than the sustainment of a conflict that is protracted and indecisive, with the only real path to its conclusion being that Ukraine's own war exhaustion eventually causes her to cry uncle.

Recently media has been posting that Gazprom has reported an annual operating loss of $7 billion — its first in twenty years.

However, I find there are other more interesting aspects to Gazprom's finances.

In 2024 Gazprom plans to spend $17 billion in capital investments, having spent $21 billion on the same in 2023, and $33 billion in 2022.

The decline from 2022 to 2023 is merely due to ruble devaluation. In ruble terms, 2 trillion were invested in each of these years, with 1.6 trillion to follow in 2024.

In three years then Gazprom will have spent $71 billion on new production, transport and refining (it also has an oil branch) capacity.

This compared to Russia spending $86 billion on the military in 2022, $109 billion in 2023, and $117 billion planned for 2024. This comes out to a combined $312 billion.

In other words, in three war years, (a war involving NATO with 100,000 Russians dead so far) Gazprom alone will have invested 23% of what Russia has invested into the war, into the gas business. 

$312 billion for the war, $71 billion for Gazprom to develop gas and oil fields, build pipelines, refineries, LNG terminals.

For more context, Gazprom capital investments in 2022 were equal to 1.4% of Russia's entire GDP. As well as 1.2 percent of GDP in 2023 and, 0.9 percent in 2024.

There are two ways to look at this. One is to say that it's good that Russia continues to make the investments that will sustain its revenue in the coming years and decades.

For example, Gazprom is contractually bound to up its export volume through Power of Siberia to China from 22 bcm to 38 bcm by 2025. That for one sounds like a project that ought to be completed, not least because the payoff is assured and will come soon.

However, in the energy business, the nature of most investments is such that they won't be recouped for decades, and in the meantime there is a war raging with 120 Russian dead daily.

There is an opposite argument to be made that Russia ought to stop these lavish peace projects and for a time being direct all energies to getting herself out of the Ukraine quagmire as soon as possible.

Instead, the approach Putin has landed on after September 2022 has been to resource the war in the way that can be sustained forever, but in a way that is indifferent to Russia's battlefield fortunes.

On the one hand, at 6% GDP war spending and low levels of forced mobilization relative to population size, Russia really isn't accumulating all that much war exhaustion, and can keep soldiering on forever.

But on the other hand, the current war investment can't guarantee much more than the sustainment of a conflict that is protracted and indecisive, with the only real path to its conclusion being that Ukraine's own war exhaustion eventually causes her to cry uncle.

Marko Marjanović - Tue May 07, 2024 14:17

Recently Macron has stated that France might want to send troops to Ukraine, and David Cameron (ex-British PM, now Foreign Affairs chief) has said Kiev has been given authorization to fire British-supplied cruise missiles into Russia.

I should say that the two statements are in no way alike. Macron’s statement is vague, comes with massive qualifiers, and refers to something that may or may not happen, and then only in the distant future:

“If the Russians were to break through the front lines, if there were a Ukrainian request, which is not the case today, we would legitimately have to ask ourselves this question.”

What Macron says is:

  1. He doesn’t have troops in Ukraine.
  2. There is no Ukrainian request for French troops in Ukraine.
  3. IF the Russians were to “break through”, and IF Ukraine were to make a request, France would then stop and think about whether to send troops or not.

So Macron puts two separate conditions on a French deployment, and even then it’s not an automatic deployment, but just a point at which France would deliberate on the question.

(He is being awfully dishonest here, were Russians to ever achieve a “breakthrough” that wouldn’t be a point where France started deliberating on sending troops. That would be the point where a significant French deployment became even more improbable. The last time France expected a Russian breakthrough she didn’t send troops, she evacuated her Embassy.)

Macron also has nothing to say on where these troops would be sent and in what role. There is a world of difference between sending trainers to Zakarpatia or de-miners to Kiev, and sending combat infantry to Donetsk. (Safe to say he doesn’t have the stomach for the latter.)

Cameron’s statement, on the other hand, is a real bomb. It refers to something that has already happened. He informs us that Ukraine has now received the green light to fire the batch of British missiles that are already on the way, into Russia.

It’s difficult to convey the level of provocation this represents. Even at the height of the Cold War proxy wars when the Soviets were shipping massive quantities of weapons to Vietnam, and Americans to Afghanistan, neither would dream of sending missiles for their proxies to fire into the Soviet/US mainland. (For obvious reasons.)

Moscow is bombing Ukraine on a daily basis, and can not protest when Kiev does the same to Russia in turn. However, Russia is doing nothing to Britain, and Russia can rightfully feel outraged when Britain allocates military spending to construct and finance missiles to be fired into Russia.

British personnel could even help fire into Russia, since Germany and PM Sunak have confirmed there is a small British deployment to Ukraine connected to the Storm Shadow missiles.

The Russian response has been to summon the French and British ambassadors, to order a snap rehearsal for launching tactical nuclear weapons, and to declare that UK military installations “in Ukraine and elsewhere” could be hit.

Russia conducts drills with nuclear-armed Iskanders almost every year. In of itself the exercise is nothing special, what is remarkable is that Russian state media has gone out of its way to make clear the drill is a snap exercise ordered personally by Putin in response to French and British statements. The Russian Ministry of Defense has echoed this, as has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I am not sure how convincing the tactical nuclear threat is. An Iskander has only the range to hit Ukraine, where there are few British targets. And if the few British personnel in Ukraine are pinpointed it hardly takes a nuke to get them.

Meanwhile, if the signal is supposed to be that if British missiles start slamming into Russia, that Moscow may start using atomic weapons on Ukraine this generates no deterrence at all. If a nuclear weapon is detonated on Slavic Ukraine that is no skin off of London’s back. To the contrary that assures the UK it has a whipping boy in Ukraine to suffer the consequences in its stead.

The symmetrical tit-for-tat vs London isn’t to make nuclear threats on Ukraine, but to signal that if Storm Shadows indeed start falling on Russia proper, Moscow will find itself looking for people who want to fire missiles into Britain, and providing them with such free of charge.

The Russian statement that British military installations anywhere in the world may be targeted is also appropriate, just because of the difficulties involved in hitting the British Isles via proxy. Finding proxies for a hit on British installations in the Middle East may be more viable, even if that would fall short of matching British proxy attacks onto Russian soil. (But the challenge here is how to hit the British without involving the host country.)

On the eve of the 2022 Russian invasion Dmitri Trenin had a fine article in which he wrote that “great powers do not bluff”. Trenin was in disbelief that Russia would indeed invade, but at the same time he reasoned that having built up the invasion force, Russia must now invade or it is no longer a great power, for it did not receive appeasement from DC or Kiev, and “Great Powers do not bluff.”

If British Shadow Storms indeed start falling on air bases and refineries in Russia, will Russia make good on its promise of a tit-for-tat? I make no predictions as to that. But I will say this. If Russia does not fire back it is no longer a great power, but has descended to “some other level in terms of its global status” as Trenin would put it.

In 2022 I did not believe Putin was willing to forsake great power status just yet. Britain (of all places) is betting that two years later that time has now come.

If she should be proven right missiles from other nations will follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47br-lH-quY&t=22s

Recently Macron has stated that France might want to send troops to Ukraine, and David Cameron (ex-British PM, now Foreign Affairs chief) has said Kiev has been given authorization to fire British-supplied cruise missiles into Russia.

I should say that the two statements are in no way alike. Macron’s statement is vague, comes with massive qualifiers, and refers to something that may or may not happen, and then only in the distant future:

“If the Russians were to break through the front lines, if there were a Ukrainian request, which is not the case today, we would legitimately have to ask ourselves this question.”

What Macron says is:

  1. He doesn’t have troops in Ukraine.
  2. There is no Ukrainian request for French troops in Ukraine.
  3. IF the Russians were to “break through”, and IF Ukraine were to make a request, France would then stop and think about whether to send troops or not.

So Macron puts two separate conditions on a French deployment, and even then it’s not an automatic deployment, but just a point at which France would deliberate on the question.

(He is being awfully dishonest here, were Russians to ever achieve a “breakthrough” that wouldn’t be a point where France started deliberating on sending troops. That would be the point where a significant French deployment became even more improbable. The last time France expected a Russian breakthrough she didn’t send troops, she evacuated her Embassy.)

Macron also has nothing to say on where these troops would be sent and in what role. There is a world of difference between sending trainers to Zakarpatia or de-miners to Kiev, and sending combat infantry to Donetsk. (Safe to say he doesn’t have the stomach for the latter.)

Cameron’s statement, on the other hand, is a real bomb. It refers to something that has already happened. He informs us that Ukraine has now received the green light to fire the batch of British missiles that are already on the way, into Russia.

It’s difficult to convey the level of provocation this represents. Even at the height of the Cold War proxy wars when the Soviets were shipping massive quantities of weapons to Vietnam, and Americans to Afghanistan, neither would dream of sending missiles for their proxies to fire into the Soviet/US mainland. (For obvious reasons.)

Moscow is bombing Ukraine on a daily basis, and can not protest when Kiev does the same to Russia in turn. However, Russia is doing nothing to Britain, and Russia can rightfully feel outraged when Britain allocates military spending to construct and finance missiles to be fired into Russia.

British personnel could even help fire into Russia, since Germany and PM Sunak have confirmed there is a small British deployment to Ukraine connected to the Storm Shadow missiles.

The Russian response has been to summon the French and British ambassadors, to order a snap rehearsal for launching tactical nuclear weapons, and to declare that UK military installations “in Ukraine and elsewhere” could be hit.

Russia conducts drills with nuclear-armed Iskanders almost every year. In of itself the exercise is nothing special, what is remarkable is that Russian state media has gone out of its way to make clear the drill is a snap exercise ordered personally by Putin in response to French and British statements. The Russian Ministry of Defense has echoed this, as has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I am not sure how convincing the tactical nuclear threat is. An Iskander has only the range to hit Ukraine, where there are few British targets. And if the few British personnel in Ukraine are pinpointed it hardly takes a nuke to get them.

Meanwhile, if the signal is supposed to be that if British missiles start slamming into Russia, that Moscow may start using atomic weapons on Ukraine this generates no deterrence at all. If a nuclear weapon is detonated on Slavic Ukraine that is no skin off of London’s back. To the contrary that assures the UK it has a whipping boy in Ukraine to suffer the consequences in its stead.

The symmetrical tit-for-tat vs London isn’t to make nuclear threats on Ukraine, but to signal that if Storm Shadows indeed start falling on Russia proper, Moscow will find itself looking for people who want to fire missiles into Britain, and providing them with such free of charge.

The Russian statement that British military installations anywhere in the world may be targeted is also appropriate, just because of the difficulties involved in hitting the British Isles via proxy. Finding proxies for a hit on British installations in the Middle East may be more viable, even if that would fall short of matching British proxy attacks onto Russian soil. (But the challenge here is how to hit the British without involving the host country.)

On the eve of the 2022 Russian invasion Dmitri Trenin had a fine article in which he wrote that “great powers do not bluff”. Trenin was in disbelief that Russia would indeed invade, but at the same time he reasoned that having built up the invasion force, Russia must now invade or it is no longer a great power, for it did not receive appeasement from DC or Kiev, and “Great Powers do not bluff.”

If British Shadow Storms indeed start falling on air bases and refineries in Russia, will Russia make good on its promise of a tit-for-tat? I make no predictions as to that. But I will say this. If Russia does not fire back it is no longer a great power, but has descended to “some other level in terms of its global status” as Trenin would put it.

In 2022 I did not believe Putin was willing to forsake great power status just yet. Britain (of all places) is betting that two years later that time has now come.

If she should be proven right missiles from other nations will follow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47br-lH-quY&t=22s

Anti-Empire - Fri May 03, 2024 03:55

On April 22 US Congress voted in the $61 billion "Ukraine Response" bill. On the same day it also voted in a $8.1 billion "Indo-Pacific" bill.

The latter allocates $1.9 billion to replace DoD arms that will be given, or have been given to Taiwan for free.

It also allocates some $1.7 billion for Taiwan to use to order arms from US companies.

$2.7 billion in weapons to Taipei in just one fiscal year for free.

Two days later on April 24 the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken traveled to China, and demanded that her government stops Chinese companies from selling electronic components and factory equipment to Russia.

Don't you just love the American Empire?

The US formally recognizes there exists only one China with a capital in Beijing. This from the US point of view makes Taipei a renegade government on sovereign Chinese territory. Nonetheless, the US gives away weapons to Taipei for free, while demanding China damages its economy and stops selling non-weapons to Russia for cold cash. (Nothing is said of machine tool exports to Ukraine and Western arms makers which China is also willing to fulfill.)

China already refrains from giving away weapons to Russia, and largely refrains from selling weapons and ammunition. Yet this is not enough, a hostile Empire that arms Taipei against China for free, demands that Beijing sanctions itself. Sanctions itself in order to help the Empire exhaust and humble Russia so that the Empire can then focus all of its resources on China alone.

https://twitter.com/BowesChay/status/1784356809173524591

And what's will all the utopianism anyway?

I can't believe anyone at State Department seriously thought Beijing would comply with these shocking demands, and that they would do anything but offend and aggravate the Chinese, so why even bring them up?  

Did Washington seriously not expect that eventually Russia would start investing in its military production capacity, and that China would make its machine tools available for that? (As she makes them available to anyone willing to pay for them.)

The only shocking thing is how long it took for Russia to start doing it. Did DC think the inactivity would last forever?

Now DC will pass some punitive sanctions on Chinese manufacturers and banks that will delay some shipments and make others marginally more expensive, but most of all will help confirm to Beijing that DC sees it as an enemy.

BTW, the Russians are not entirely dependent on machine tool imports. Since 2014 they have been building CNC machines of their own — but they lack the capacity to build them on a truly grand scale like the Chinese.

https://twitter.com/CarlZha/status/1784315196162597007

https://twitter.com/3rdwavemedia/status/1784396463684088105

https://twitter.com/tmpnam/status/1784441103007015422

https://twitter.com/RSA_Observer/status/1784264803348799567

https://twitter.com/BRICSinfo/status/1783989372846563788

 

On April 22 US Congress voted in the $61 billion "Ukraine Response" bill. On the same day it also voted in a $8.1 billion "Indo-Pacific" bill.

The latter allocates $1.9 billion to replace DoD arms that will be given, or have been given to Taiwan for free.

It also allocates some $1.7 billion for Taiwan to use to order arms from US companies.

$2.7 billion in weapons to Taipei in just one fiscal year for free.

Two days later on April 24 the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken traveled to China, and demanded that her government stops Chinese companies from selling electronic components and factory equipment to Russia.

Don't you just love the American Empire?

The US formally recognizes there exists only one China with a capital in Beijing. This from the US point of view makes Taipei a renegade government on sovereign Chinese territory. Nonetheless, the US gives away weapons to Taipei for free, while demanding China damages its economy and stops selling non-weapons to Russia for cold cash. (Nothing is said of machine tool exports to Ukraine and Western arms makers which China is also willing to fulfill.)

China already refrains from giving away weapons to Russia, and largely refrains from selling weapons and ammunition. Yet this is not enough, a hostile Empire that arms Taipei against China for free, demands that Beijing sanctions itself. Sanctions itself in order to help the Empire exhaust and humble Russia so that the Empire can then focus all of its resources on China alone.

https://twitter.com/BowesChay/status/1784356809173524591

And what's will all the utopianism anyway?

I can't believe anyone at State Department seriously thought Beijing would comply with these shocking demands, and that they would do anything but offend and aggravate the Chinese, so why even bring them up?  

Did Washington seriously not expect that eventually Russia would start investing in its military production capacity, and that China would make its machine tools available for that? (As she makes them available to anyone willing to pay for them.)

The only shocking thing is how long it took for Russia to start doing it. Did DC think the inactivity would last forever?

Now DC will pass some punitive sanctions on Chinese manufacturers and banks that will delay some shipments and make others marginally more expensive, but most of all will help confirm to Beijing that DC sees it as an enemy.

BTW, the Russians are not entirely dependent on machine tool imports. Since 2014 they have been building CNC machines of their own — but they lack the capacity to build them on a truly grand scale like the Chinese.

https://twitter.com/CarlZha/status/1784315196162597007

https://twitter.com/3rdwavemedia/status/1784396463684088105

https://twitter.com/tmpnam/status/1784441103007015422

https://twitter.com/RSA_Observer/status/1784264803348799567

https://twitter.com/BRICSinfo/status/1783989372846563788

 

Marko Marjanović - Tue Apr 30, 2024 11:56

In February Putin traveled to a defense plant in Tula, a city famous for defense plants (way back in the Napoleonic wars the Tula armory produced most of Russia's muskets).

There the government was staging an event titled "Everything for Victory!" This of course, is a reference to the famous Soviet WW2 slogan "Everything for the Front! Everything for Victory!"

At the event, Putin shared that the defense sector has added 520,00 jobs and is now at 3.5 million workers.

Sounds impressive in a vacuum, but that is just 17 percent more than what the defense complex had at the start of the war two years ago. And we're talking about a military-industrial complex that has been steadily shedding jobs for years. (Uralvagonzavod, the largest and most famous tank producer entered 2022 with 20,000 workers, but employed 30,000 as late as 2014.)

To be fair, many other industrial, mining and construction jobs are supporting the military complex but aren't included in the calculation. (Putin estimates 10,000 such enterprises supply 6,000 defense plants.) Also to be fair, there is a labor shortage in Russia currently. And again to be fair, some of the biggest defense plants are for strategic reasons located in far-away places that are difficult to lure workers to. Nonetheless, the total employed workforce in Russia counts 73 million!

73 million, and in two years of war a mere 0.5 million have been reallocated from other jobs to production for the war!

This is not "Everything for Victory". This is "We talk big, but we're still trying to get away with doing things on the cheap".

What's funnier is that at the event Putin shared his thoughts that victory in a modern war requires quick reactions:

“To be successful on the battlefield today, you need to quickly and adequately respond to the events taking place on the battlefield. Success is achieved by those who quickly respond to the means of destruction, reconnaissance and suppression that the enemy uses, quickly react to this, and not only find the opportunity to suppress them, but also make their own more effective means.”

What could be funnier than the world's champion in procrastinating on difficult but urgent calls lecturing his captive audience on the critical importance of speed in wars?

The glaring thing about Putin's defense-industrial mobilization isn't even its modest scale, but how late it comes.

A 17 percent uptick up would be a lot more impactful if it materialized within the first nine months of the war, and had been churning out equipment at this elevated rate for the whole time since then. But for such a modest expansion to take 2 years??

This of course is the result of Russia losing the entire 2022 to Putin's decision-making paralysis. The partial industrial mobilization did not start until sometime in 2023. Putin ran a whole peacetime budget in 2022, and didn't visit an arms factory (also in Tula) until December 2022!

Even this only happened once his arm had been forced by the wildly successful Ukrainian offensive against the outnumbered Russians in Kharkov. (An offensive that caught Putin overseeing the biennial Vostok military exercise with Shoigu and Gerasimov in the Pacific! So desperate he was to show that Ukraine was a non-war that didn't require any special effort or attention that he was attending to military matters... in the Far East! And tying down badly needed manpower for the show.)

This leads to urgent mobilization of 300,000 for the army, and down the line to a partial industrial mobilization.

Such a lack of urgency in a war in which nearly 100,000 Russians have already died and to which no end is visible is quite peculiar. One might think that once launched, the driving logic of the war would be to mobilize manpower and industry as quickly and as radically as possible, to achieve the biggest advantages as soon as possible and get the war over with quickly and decisively with fewest victims on both sides. (Hitler knocked Poland out in 1939 with fewer Poles dead than Putin has killed Ukrainians, and that's with Hitler hating Poles and being the worst guy in history, whereas Putin proposes that Ukrainians are one with his own people.)

Instead valuable time was and is being afforded to the West to slowly ramp up its own production for Kiev. Will the West take advantage of the opportunity afforded to it, and to what extent? Only seers know the answer to this question, but it's not the job of a responsible leader to gamble the fate of his nation on decisions to be made in Washington and Berlin.

The collective West of course dwarfs Russia in riches, population, technological advancement, and manufacturing output. But one thing Russia supposedly had going for her is that Ukraine was much more important to Russia than it is to the West. Thus while Russia could never overpower NATO directly, she could steal a march on it — be far quicker and decisive in her mobilization than the more indifferent West and present it with a fait accompli.

So far this has not been the case. Putin has talked about how Ukrainians and Russians are really one people, and how intolerable it is for Russia for her own former Russian people to be turned against her so, but his actions do not match this rhetoric.

So far his actions have been of someone who is very comfortable with giving the West ample opportunity to make the Kiev-Moscow conflict an even one, and therefore particularly bloody and long, with the greatest losses for East Slavs possible. The scale at which Russia fights, and the low speed with which it escalates that scale seem almost geared toward allowing Kiev and the West to keep up.

Do I think Putin is a party to a conspiracy to cull the Russians and Ukrainians? I actually don't believe that, I think the reasons for his feckless leadership lie elsewhere and I will write about them in the future. But I also don't think it matters. If you lead as a CIA agent would, your motives aren't nearly as important as the catastrophe you're causing your East Slav nation.

And I'm talking here as someone who didn't even want the war. I warned there would be a war and I warned against having one. But wars are wars, and wars come with their own rules that participants can't just wish away, but become hostage to. That's a very good reason not to start them. But if like Putin you do it anyway it's not a mercy to anyone to make sure the other side can match your pace in escalation of effort.

As Putin lectured at Tula there is a temporal dimension to war, and the speed of mobilization is just as important as mobilization potential.

In February Putin traveled to a defense plant in Tula, a city famous for defense plants (way back in the Napoleonic wars the Tula armory produced most of Russia's muskets).

There the government was staging an event titled "Everything for Victory!" This of course, is a reference to the famous Soviet WW2 slogan "Everything for the Front! Everything for Victory!"

At the event, Putin shared that the defense sector has added 520,00 jobs and is now at 3.5 million workers.

Sounds impressive in a vacuum, but that is just 17 percent more than what the defense complex had at the start of the war two years ago. And we're talking about a military-industrial complex that has been steadily shedding jobs for years. (Uralvagonzavod, the largest and most famous tank producer entered 2022 with 20,000 workers, but employed 30,000 as late as 2014.)

To be fair, many other industrial, mining and construction jobs are supporting the military complex but aren't included in the calculation. (Putin estimates 10,000 such enterprises supply 6,000 defense plants.) Also to be fair, there is a labor shortage in Russia currently. And again to be fair, some of the biggest defense plants are for strategic reasons located in far-away places that are difficult to lure workers to. Nonetheless, the total employed workforce in Russia counts 73 million!

73 million, and in two years of war a mere 0.5 million have been reallocated from other jobs to production for the war!

This is not "Everything for Victory". This is "We talk big, but we're still trying to get away with doing things on the cheap".

What's funnier is that at the event Putin shared his thoughts that victory in a modern war requires quick reactions:

“To be successful on the battlefield today, you need to quickly and adequately respond to the events taking place on the battlefield. Success is achieved by those who quickly respond to the means of destruction, reconnaissance and suppression that the enemy uses, quickly react to this, and not only find the opportunity to suppress them, but also make their own more effective means.”

What could be funnier than the world's champion in procrastinating on difficult but urgent calls lecturing his captive audience on the critical importance of speed in wars?

The glaring thing about Putin's defense-industrial mobilization isn't even its modest scale, but how late it comes.

A 17 percent uptick up would be a lot more impactful if it materialized within the first nine months of the war, and had been churning out equipment at this elevated rate for the whole time since then. But for such a modest expansion to take 2 years??

This of course is the result of Russia losing the entire 2022 to Putin's decision-making paralysis. The partial industrial mobilization did not start until sometime in 2023. Putin ran a whole peacetime budget in 2022, and didn't visit an arms factory (also in Tula) until December 2022!

Even this only happened once his arm had been forced by the wildly successful Ukrainian offensive against the outnumbered Russians in Kharkov. (An offensive that caught Putin overseeing the biennial Vostok military exercise with Shoigu and Gerasimov in the Pacific! So desperate he was to show that Ukraine was a non-war that didn't require any special effort or attention that he was attending to military matters... in the Far East! And tying down badly needed manpower for the show.)

This leads to urgent mobilization of 300,000 for the army, and down the line to a partial industrial mobilization.

Such a lack of urgency in a war in which nearly 100,000 Russians have already died and to which no end is visible is quite peculiar. One might think that once launched, the driving logic of the war would be to mobilize manpower and industry as quickly and as radically as possible, to achieve the biggest advantages as soon as possible and get the war over with quickly and decisively with fewest victims on both sides. (Hitler knocked Poland out in 1939 with fewer Poles dead than Putin has killed Ukrainians, and that's with Hitler hating Poles and being the worst guy in history, whereas Putin proposes that Ukrainians are one with his own people.)

Instead valuable time was and is being afforded to the West to slowly ramp up its own production for Kiev. Will the West take advantage of the opportunity afforded to it, and to what extent? Only seers know the answer to this question, but it's not the job of a responsible leader to gamble the fate of his nation on decisions to be made in Washington and Berlin.

The collective West of course dwarfs Russia in riches, population, technological advancement, and manufacturing output. But one thing Russia supposedly had going for her is that Ukraine was much more important to Russia than it is to the West. Thus while Russia could never overpower NATO directly, she could steal a march on it — be far quicker and decisive in her mobilization than the more indifferent West and present it with a fait accompli.

So far this has not been the case. Putin has talked about how Ukrainians and Russians are really one people, and how intolerable it is for Russia for her own former Russian people to be turned against her so, but his actions do not match this rhetoric.

So far his actions have been of someone who is very comfortable with giving the West ample opportunity to make the Kiev-Moscow conflict an even one, and therefore particularly bloody and long, with the greatest losses for East Slavs possible. The scale at which Russia fights, and the low speed with which it escalates that scale seem almost geared toward allowing Kiev and the West to keep up.

Do I think Putin is a party to a conspiracy to cull the Russians and Ukrainians? I actually don't believe that, I think the reasons for his feckless leadership lie elsewhere and I will write about them in the future. But I also don't think it matters. If you lead as a CIA agent would, your motives aren't nearly as important as the catastrophe you're causing your East Slav nation.

And I'm talking here as someone who didn't even want the war. I warned there would be a war and I warned against having one. But wars are wars, and wars come with their own rules that participants can't just wish away, but become hostage to. That's a very good reason not to start them. But if like Putin you do it anyway it's not a mercy to anyone to make sure the other side can match your pace in escalation of effort.

As Putin lectured at Tula there is a temporal dimension to war, and the speed of mobilization is just as important as mobilization potential.

Marko Marjanović - Sun Apr 28, 2024 12:54

It's June 2006, the height of the Iraq War. Luckily for you, you're not an orphan in Fallujah, but just another suburbanite in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It's a sleepy summer Saturday morning. As you're browsing the morning paper, your child is flipping channels. As he does so you catch half a second of a Bush speech. You'd normally never subject yourself to a Dubya speech, but this is unusual — why would the President be giving a speech at such an early hour? You tell the kid to switch back and your jaw drops.

Bush says that amid a tough and existential struggle against terrorism, a new Benedict Arnold has emerged to stab the nation in the back, to bring anarchy, fratricide, surrender and defeat. In light of that, Bush has issued orders to the DoD to deal harshly with this deadly internal threat. All who have taken up arms against the United States in this criminal and traitorous adventure consciously will answer to the people and be punished.

What the hell is going on? Civil war??? Bush mentions Blackwater and that Savannah has fallen but offers no specifics. You scramble to the internet to find out what's going on.

Turns out Blackwater is patrolling the streets of Savannah, has set up checkpoints around the city, and has even cordoned off the 4-star US Army general in the nearby Fort Stewart HQ along with his staff, effectively subjecting him to house arrest. What is more, 4000 Blackwaterites are marching up north from Savannah toward Arlington and Washington. Their stated goal is subjecting DoD chief Donald Rumsfeld to the same sort of house arrest and forcing his dismissal, but speculation is rife they're hoping their dash to the capital area destabilizes and topples Bush himself.

This might normally be called a mutiny, but seeing Blackwater is a separate organization from the US military, and a private one at that, the proper term is a coup. Like some hapless Panamanian, you now have the dubious privilege of watching the progress of a coup in motion against your national government in real-time. A coup that will determine your future, and of your country, and that you're helpless to influence. Unthinkable! What has this country sunk to?!

As you try to follow the advance of the Blackwater column on the interwebs, the news comes in. The mercenaries have shot down a US Army helicopter. And another. And another. US Army deaths are almost certain. And in an hour or two the private army will be passing through your Fayetteville.

Indeed, just as they enter your town they blow out a USAF surveillance plane out of the sky above it, as videos of the incident that hit your Facebook soon confirm. The fuckers! You aren't even that much of a support-the-troops guy, you were never for the war in the first place, you backed Howard Dean. But this is too much! Somebody is killing US military men right on US soil — and it's a fucking corporation!

You never thought you'd say this but this is one Bush war you're going to support! Dubya, go and ring Erik Prince's neck! Crush these merc killers of troops! Sure, after it’s done Bush will have to answer for allowing the situation to get so far from under him, and for getting in bed with these entitled criminals in the first place, but for now, he needs to do as promised and unleash the Pentagon against these murder yuppies!

Your first foray into backing a Bush war does not go too well. As far as you can see resistance to Blackwater consists of local mayors taking the initiative to improvise makeshift roadblocks, and Army engineers reportedly blowing up a few bridges. There are a few videos of what seems to be an aircraft targeting the Blackwater column, but it appears others were downed “preemptively” without ever firing on the mercenaries. There is talk of a “defensive line” being constructed but that is only at Washington outskirts. If after the jaw-dropping “stab in the back” speech you expected a Bush hammer to come down on Blackwater there isn't one in sight, which allows the 4000-merc column to cover 1000 km from Savannah to Virginia, coming within 300 km of the capital, mainly unopposed.

Instead, come evening, the exact opposite news hits. After the mediation of Tony Blair an agreement has been reached and Bush, the United States government, Erik Prince and Blackwater are back to being friends and back in business. Blackwater recruitment billboards that authorities had started to take down are being put right back up, and the Blackwater skyscraper in New York that was closed by the police is right back to being open again.

What the bloody hell?! After that speech on how the wartime backstabbers will face the punishment of the people? After the Blackwaterites shot up to half a dozen US aircraft, killing at least a dozen US airmen in a day?? They're going right back on the taxpayer payroll?? What kind of a godawful banana republic is this?!?

Read the rest at Anti-Empire's Substack: LINK

(It's a bunch of work to copy this to two places, time better spent researching.)

It's June 2006, the height of the Iraq War. Luckily for you, you're not an orphan in Fallujah, but just another suburbanite in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It's a sleepy summer Saturday morning. As you're browsing the morning paper, your child is flipping channels. As he does so you catch half a second of a Bush speech. You'd normally never subject yourself to a Dubya speech, but this is unusual — why would the President be giving a speech at such an early hour? You tell the kid to switch back and your jaw drops.

Bush says that amid a tough and existential struggle against terrorism, a new Benedict Arnold has emerged to stab the nation in the back, to bring anarchy, fratricide, surrender and defeat. In light of that, Bush has issued orders to the DoD to deal harshly with this deadly internal threat. All who have taken up arms against the United States in this criminal and traitorous adventure consciously will answer to the people and be punished.

What the hell is going on? Civil war??? Bush mentions Blackwater and that Savannah has fallen but offers no specifics. You scramble to the internet to find out what's going on.

Turns out Blackwater is patrolling the streets of Savannah, has set up checkpoints around the city, and has even cordoned off the 4-star US Army general in the nearby Fort Stewart HQ along with his staff, effectively subjecting him to house arrest. What is more, 4000 Blackwaterites are marching up north from Savannah toward Arlington and Washington. Their stated goal is subjecting DoD chief Donald Rumsfeld to the same sort of house arrest and forcing his dismissal, but speculation is rife they're hoping their dash to the capital area destabilizes and topples Bush himself.

This might normally be called a mutiny, but seeing Blackwater is a separate organization from the US military, and a private one at that, the proper term is a coup. Like some hapless Panamanian, you now have the dubious privilege of watching the progress of a coup in motion against your national government in real-time. A coup that will determine your future, and of your country, and that you're helpless to influence. Unthinkable! What has this country sunk to?!

As you try to follow the advance of the Blackwater column on the interwebs, the news comes in. The mercenaries have shot down a US Army helicopter. And another. And another. US Army deaths are almost certain. And in an hour or two the private army will be passing through your Fayetteville.

Indeed, just as they enter your town they blow out a USAF surveillance plane out of the sky above it, as videos of the incident that hit your Facebook soon confirm. The fuckers! You aren't even that much of a support-the-troops guy, you were never for the war in the first place, you backed Howard Dean. But this is too much! Somebody is killing US military men right on US soil — and it's a fucking corporation!

You never thought you'd say this but this is one Bush war you're going to support! Dubya, go and ring Erik Prince's neck! Crush these merc killers of troops! Sure, after it’s done Bush will have to answer for allowing the situation to get so far from under him, and for getting in bed with these entitled criminals in the first place, but for now, he needs to do as promised and unleash the Pentagon against these murder yuppies!

Your first foray into backing a Bush war does not go too well. As far as you can see resistance to Blackwater consists of local mayors taking the initiative to improvise makeshift roadblocks, and Army engineers reportedly blowing up a few bridges. There are a few videos of what seems to be an aircraft targeting the Blackwater column, but it appears others were downed “preemptively” without ever firing on the mercenaries. There is talk of a “defensive line” being constructed but that is only at Washington outskirts. If after the jaw-dropping “stab in the back” speech you expected a Bush hammer to come down on Blackwater there isn't one in sight, which allows the 4000-merc column to cover 1000 km from Savannah to Virginia, coming within 300 km of the capital, mainly unopposed.

Instead, come evening, the exact opposite news hits. After the mediation of Tony Blair an agreement has been reached and Bush, the United States government, Erik Prince and Blackwater are back to being friends and back in business. Blackwater recruitment billboards that authorities had started to take down are being put right back up, and the Blackwater skyscraper in New York that was closed by the police is right back to being open again.

What the bloody hell?! After that speech on how the wartime backstabbers will face the punishment of the people? After the Blackwaterites shot up to half a dozen US aircraft, killing at least a dozen US airmen in a day?? They're going right back on the taxpayer payroll?? What kind of a godawful banana republic is this?!?

Read the rest at Anti-Empire's Substack: LINK

(It's a bunch of work to copy this to two places, time better spent researching.)

Anti-Empire - Thu Apr 25, 2024 04:03

Rheinmetall was making 70,000 shells per annum before the war, plans to build some 450,000 this year, 700,000 in 2025, and 1 million by 2027.

If these targets are met by the end of this year the US Army and Rheinmetall will be jointly producing roughly 110,000 shells monthly, or 3500 daily. Great many of them will be sent to tear Russian soldiers apart (imagine the converse of Putin daring to send ammunition to Afghans).

This does not include 155 mm production in France and South Korea, and production of 152 mm and 122 mm in places like Czechia and Bulgaria. These aren't on the same scale as America's and Rheinmetall's but everything adds up.

Last month Putin stated it would be "ridiculous" for Russia to negotiate "just because Ukraine is running out of ammunition". This is bravado. The reason some shaky and temporary truce right now would be bad for Moscow isn't because Ukraine is running out, but because from here on Ukraine's ammunition situation will only improve.

The Russian advantage in having a foe that can afford to fire a mere 1000 rounds per day will not last. The West was not lightning-quick in making investments in capacity, but Putin failed to do very much with that. Advantage that existed was not taken.

https://twitter.com/ricwe123/status/1768021499603214590

If an investment of X in lives, men, and treasure, would have been enough to defeat Kiev in 2022, then it would now take an investment of 5X to accomplish the same.

Between the expansion of Kiev's army, its growing experience, and the capital investments being made in the West to better serve as its industrial rear, with each day Kiev is becoming a more difficult foe to subdue, not a feebler one.

Rheinmetall was making 70,000 shells per annum before the war, plans to build some 450,000 this year, 700,000 in 2025, and 1 million by 2027.

If these targets are met by the end of this year the US Army and Rheinmetall will be jointly producing roughly 110,000 shells monthly, or 3500 daily. Great many of them will be sent to tear Russian soldiers apart (imagine the converse of Putin daring to send ammunition to Afghans).

This does not include 155 mm production in France and South Korea, and production of 152 mm and 122 mm in places like Czechia and Bulgaria. These aren't on the same scale as America's and Rheinmetall's but everything adds up.

Last month Putin stated it would be "ridiculous" for Russia to negotiate "just because Ukraine is running out of ammunition". This is bravado. The reason some shaky and temporary truce right now would be bad for Moscow isn't because Ukraine is running out, but because from here on Ukraine's ammunition situation will only improve.

The Russian advantage in having a foe that can afford to fire a mere 1000 rounds per day will not last. The West was not lightning-quick in making investments in capacity, but Putin failed to do very much with that. Advantage that existed was not taken.

https://twitter.com/ricwe123/status/1768021499603214590

If an investment of X in lives, men, and treasure, would have been enough to defeat Kiev in 2022, then it would now take an investment of 5X to accomplish the same.

Between the expansion of Kiev's army, its growing experience, and the capital investments being made in the West to better serve as its industrial rear, with each day Kiev is becoming a more difficult foe to subdue, not a feebler one.

Anti-Empire - Wed Apr 24, 2024 05:29

Interestingly, the US does not buy artillery shells from the corporate defense sector, but instead produces them in government-owned munitions plants. (Albeit a contractor is apparently hired to operate the taxpayer-owned plants.)

Anyhow, at the start of the war these American armories were making 14,000 155 mm artillery rounds.

After the war started the US Army invested $1.45 billion to expand the production capacity. (It is not clear to me if this money was allocated in May 2022 or December 2022. The latter seems likelier.)

The result was that by October 2023 the production had doubled to 28,000 rounds monthly.

In November 2023 the Army allocated a further $1.5 billion to invest in capacity.

And the passing of the "Ukraine aid" bill last week allocates yet another $3.1 billion to expand production.

Some of the money will go toward building an entirely new ammunition plant in Texas that will be the most automated to date.

On October 2023 Army said it was planning to be building roughly 37 thousand rounds per month by April 2024, 60 thousand by October 2024, and 100 thousand by October 2025.

Thus 18 months from now the US will be producing over 3300 rounds daily.

Some of these will go toward replenishing the partly depleted US stockpile, but I predict that as long as the war rages the majority will be going to Ukraine.

Currently Russia fires about 6000 artillery rounds daily, while the Ukrainians are back to firing just 1000. (They were firing up to 5000-6000 themselves during their attempted 2023 offensive.)

As we have seen this is a temporary state of affairs. US capacity to supply Ukraine with shells is increasing quite rapidly. The EU has been slower in ramping up, but its capacity is rising as well.

Some two years from now the Ukrainians could themselves be firing 5000 rounds daily.

By failing to knock out Ukraine quickly, Russia has granted Washington the opportunity to beef up Kiev and greatly intensify the fratricidal Slavic slaughter.

Interestingly, the US does not buy artillery shells from the corporate defense sector, but instead produces them in government-owned munitions plants. (Albeit a contractor is apparently hired to operate the taxpayer-owned plants.)

Anyhow, at the start of the war these American armories were making 14,000 155 mm artillery rounds.

After the war started the US Army invested $1.45 billion to expand the production capacity. (It is not clear to me if this money was allocated in May 2022 or December 2022. The latter seems likelier.)

The result was that by October 2023 the production had doubled to 28,000 rounds monthly.

In November 2023 the Army allocated a further $1.5 billion to invest in capacity.

And the passing of the "Ukraine aid" bill last week allocates yet another $3.1 billion to expand production.

Some of the money will go toward building an entirely new ammunition plant in Texas that will be the most automated to date.

On October 2023 Army said it was planning to be building roughly 37 thousand rounds per month by April 2024, 60 thousand by October 2024, and 100 thousand by October 2025.

Thus 18 months from now the US will be producing over 3300 rounds daily.

Some of these will go toward replenishing the partly depleted US stockpile, but I predict that as long as the war rages the majority will be going to Ukraine.

Currently Russia fires about 6000 artillery rounds daily, while the Ukrainians are back to firing just 1000. (They were firing up to 5000-6000 themselves during their attempted 2023 offensive.)

As we have seen this is a temporary state of affairs. US capacity to supply Ukraine with shells is increasing quite rapidly. The EU has been slower in ramping up, but its capacity is rising as well.

Some two years from now the Ukrainians could themselves be firing 5000 rounds daily.

By failing to knock out Ukraine quickly, Russia has granted Washington the opportunity to beef up Kiev and greatly intensify the fratricidal Slavic slaughter.

Anti-Empire - Tue Apr 23, 2024 03:14

Yesterday Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has announced it has signed a contract for the supply of 4000 Chinese DJI Mavic 3 drones for 14.5 million USD.

It has already allocated money for another 16,000 such machines.

This is simply business as usual since a great deal of DJI's output ends up in Ukraine:

The Oct. 8 statement made by Denys Shmyhal at the Kyiv International Economic Forum that Ukraine is effectively buying 60% of DJI’s global output of Mavic quadcopter drones, even though the vendor officially prohibits selling to militaries, highlights how commercial technology with military utility can permeate conflict zones practically unimpeded.

According to a recent New York Times report based on official Ukrainian and Russian customs data from a third-party provider, between January and June, Kyiv is estimated to have received “millions” of Chinese-made drones and spare parts, primarily coming from European intermediaries.

DJI announced in spring 2022 that it will sell to neither Ukraine nor Russia. At that time the fear in the West was that DJI would be supplying Russia, so this was a way for DJI to get ahead of such allegations and avert sanctions.

Instead what has happened is that DJI has effectively become a part of, primarily, the Ukrainian military machine, and only secondarily of the Russian one.

Though to be perfectly fair it isn't entirely clear how DJI could prevent resales to Ukraine. (Or to Russia.)

Yesterday Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has announced it has signed a contract for the supply of 4000 Chinese DJI Mavic 3 drones for 14.5 million USD.

It has already allocated money for another 16,000 such machines.

This is simply business as usual since a great deal of DJI's output ends up in Ukraine:

The Oct. 8 statement made by Denys Shmyhal at the Kyiv International Economic Forum that Ukraine is effectively buying 60% of DJI’s global output of Mavic quadcopter drones, even though the vendor officially prohibits selling to militaries, highlights how commercial technology with military utility can permeate conflict zones practically unimpeded.

According to a recent New York Times report based on official Ukrainian and Russian customs data from a third-party provider, between January and June, Kyiv is estimated to have received “millions” of Chinese-made drones and spare parts, primarily coming from European intermediaries.

DJI announced in spring 2022 that it will sell to neither Ukraine nor Russia. At that time the fear in the West was that DJI would be supplying Russia, so this was a way for DJI to get ahead of such allegations and avert sanctions.

Instead what has happened is that DJI has effectively become a part of, primarily, the Ukrainian military machine, and only secondarily of the Russian one.

Though to be perfectly fair it isn't entirely clear how DJI could prevent resales to Ukraine. (Or to Russia.)

Anti-Empire - Mon Apr 22, 2024 12:26

You may have heard the information that Russia's 2024 federal budget devotes 38% of spending to "National defense and national security".

Indeed, media in the West is saying the Russia is now running a "war budget". Is that true?

29% of the federal budget is indeed earmarked for the military, while 8% of it will be spent on "national security".

But what is "national security" spending in Russia?

That is spending on the Rossgvardia gendarmes, prison guards, the small foreign intelligence service, and the FSB and border guards.

So in fact this "national security" spending contributes very little to the war, and has very little to do with the war.

So in fact the share of the Russian federal budget that goes to the war is actually just 29%.

Moreover the federal budget is not equal to government spending. For example in 2023 30 trillion rubles were spent through the federal budget, and 19.5 trillion through regional budgets.

So the federal budget accounts for only about 60% of government spending. Thus Russia's defense spending for 2024 will be only 17.5 percent of government spending.

Moreover as the federal budget represents 20% of GDP, defense spending in 2024 will represent 6% of GDP.

Is 6% of GDP a lot, or a little?

Let's put it in context.

6% of GDP is what Reagan was spending in mid-1980s in peacetime. It is also two to three times less than what the Soviet Union was spending during Reagan.

So then is Russia's 2024 federal budget a "war budget"? No, it is not.

It is a substantial increase over 2023 in which just 4% of GDP went to defense, yes. But it still isn't any sort of a "war budget".

What it actually is, is the last peace budget. It devotes as much as possible to the military, but only under the constraints of neither growing government spending nor cutting into services.

Government spending will grow only minimally from some 30% to some 32% of GDP. Health and education meanwhile will receive the same amount of funding as in 2023 but due to inflation this is actually a slight decrease in real terms.

A true war budget, a true economic mobilization for the war means that government spending sharply rises as % of GDP, even as services are cut.

It also means that everyone becomes noticeably poorer as labor and industrial capacity abandon consumer goods for war goods.

The 2024 budget isn't that. It doesn't radically intervene in Russian living standards. In fact it is the opposite. It is a budget that clings to normalcy amid a war with 100,000 Russian dead, and against a bloc with 20 times the population and 25 times the economy.

By contrast SIPRI estimates that Kiev, which is actually aware it is in a war, spent 37% of GDP on it last year, and has government spending accounting for 64% of GDP. (Though some of that is enabled by foreign financial aid, mainly by the EU.)

You may have heard the information that Russia's 2024 federal budget devotes 38% of spending to "National defense and national security".

Indeed, media in the West is saying the Russia is now running a "war budget". Is that true?

29% of the federal budget is indeed earmarked for the military, while 8% of it will be spent on "national security".

But what is "national security" spending in Russia?

That is spending on the Rossgvardia gendarmes, prison guards, the small foreign intelligence service, and the FSB and border guards.

So in fact this "national security" spending contributes very little to the war, and has very little to do with the war.

So in fact the share of the Russian federal budget that goes to the war is actually just 29%.

Moreover the federal budget is not equal to government spending. For example in 2023 30 trillion rubles were spent through the federal budget, and 19.5 trillion through regional budgets.

So the federal budget accounts for only about 60% of government spending. Thus Russia's defense spending for 2024 will be only 17.5 percent of government spending.

Moreover as the federal budget represents 20% of GDP, defense spending in 2024 will represent 6% of GDP.

Is 6% of GDP a lot, or a little?

Let's put it in context.

6% of GDP is what Reagan was spending in mid-1980s in peacetime. It is also two to three times less than what the Soviet Union was spending during Reagan.

So then is Russia's 2024 federal budget a "war budget"? No, it is not.

It is a substantial increase over 2023 in which just 4% of GDP went to defense, yes. But it still isn't any sort of a "war budget".

What it actually is, is the last peace budget. It devotes as much as possible to the military, but only under the constraints of neither growing government spending nor cutting into services.

Government spending will grow only minimally from some 30% to some 32% of GDP. Health and education meanwhile will receive the same amount of funding as in 2023 but due to inflation this is actually a slight decrease in real terms.

A true war budget, a true economic mobilization for the war means that government spending sharply rises as % of GDP, even as services are cut.

It also means that everyone becomes noticeably poorer as labor and industrial capacity abandon consumer goods for war goods.

The 2024 budget isn't that. It doesn't radically intervene in Russian living standards. In fact it is the opposite. It is a budget that clings to normalcy amid a war with 100,000 Russian dead, and against a bloc with 20 times the population and 25 times the economy.

By contrast SIPRI estimates that Kiev, which is actually aware it is in a war, spent 37% of GDP on it last year, and has government spending accounting for 64% of GDP. (Though some of that is enabled by foreign financial aid, mainly by the EU.)

Anti-Empire >>

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