I think Scott Ritter jumped the gun in calling the $40 billion dollar Ukrainian aid bill a “game changer.” Once you take time to parse the details you quickly realize the media is misleading the American public on the reality of the $40 billion dollars ostensibly designated to buy weapons and equip Ukraine with a cornucopia of lethality. Mark Cancian at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (aka CSIS) provides an excellent breakdown of what was actually appropriated. Here is a quick summary:
$19 billion for immediate military support to Ukraine
$3.9 billion to sustain U.S. forces deployed to Europe
$16 billion for economic support to Ukraine and global humanitarian relief
$2 billion for long-term support to NATO allies and DOD modernization programs
Right off the bat you can see that Ukraine is not getting $40 billion dollars worth of military goodies to whack Russians. They are not even getting $19 billion. The $19 billion is carved up into smaller packages:
- $6 billion for training, equipment, weapons, logistic support, supplies and services, salaries and stipends and intelligence support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine (and the specifics of the expenditures remain to be determined).
- $9 billion to replenish U.S. weapons stocks already sent to Ukraine.
- $4 billion for the Foreign Military Financing Program (this allows a foreign country like Ukraine to buy brand new weapon systems).
What could Ukraine buy with $4 billion dollars? They could order 444 M1A2 SEP battle tanks. Getting them built and delivered will take more than a year. Or Ukraine could buy 44 F-35 Jet Fighters. But that is just the cost of the air frame. Ukraine would then have to cough up at least $27,000 per flight hour per plane. Delivery on that system would take years. Lockheed Martin currently churns out 91 a year. So, if Ukraine is willing to wait 5 years it could have the most advanced fighter in the U.S. arsenal. But that assumes the U.S. Air Force stops buying and lets Ukraine get to the head of the line.
I want to point out that the United States defeated the Japanese and helped defeat the Germans in less time that is required to build 444 F-35s. Not exactly a positive game changer.
Given these facts, Ukraine can only hope to receive $6 billion in military assistance in the immediate future. That is a sizeable chunk of change but there is no requirement that it be spent primarily on weapon systems that are effective against the Russians.
No matter what aid is provided to Ukraine in the coming weeks, the Russians enjoy a decisive advantage in their control of the air space, their precision missile and rocket systems and their robust electronic warfare capabilities.
Drone technology is a game changer. It can fly at any time without risking a pilot being shot down or killed. It can conduct reconnaissance and surveillance of enemy troop locations and movements, which provides the attacking force with precise geo coordinates to destroy enemy troops with missiles or rockets.
It does not matter if the U.S. shares complete Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance about Russian forces because Ukraine does not have the weapon systems to act on that information using lethal force. Ditto if Ukraine has its own powerful ISR systems. It does not have the air power or the missiles to attack the Russian forces. In fact, Russia’s air defense systems have been quite effective in shooting down those planes and missiles Ukraine tried to use.
What happens if the U.S. sends artillery or missile systems with GPS capabilities? Russia is equipped with a first rate electronic warfare system that can intercept the GPS signals and use that information to target the weapon emitting the signal. Not a recipe for a long life of Ukraine’s new equipment nor the crew operating the system.
Ukraine does not have unlimited time. It is on the clock and Russia controls the time. If Russia succeeds in destroying or capturing the bulk of the Ukrainian army in the next four weeks, further aid from the U.S. and NATO is rendered irrelevant. Definitely not a game changer for Ukraine.
i dont understand why some ppl on the west forget the more complex weapon system need more trail eg training , maintenance , logistics .. assume that the money buy best of the best NATO weapons from its’ war stock , if they operate inside ukraine bases they will be lost due to russian bombardments.
scott ritter’s flawed conclusion is embarasasing considering his background and experience as military veteran. I mean he know war is not won by just a change of weapon system and influx of money , especially into a corrupt govt like the ukraine. He know historically the endless money and weapon US funnel into south vietnam didnt do squat if the govt so corrupt and weak , ditto the afghan govt that US supported for decades melt away in days.
I wonder how will the populations of the “West” responds when and especially if because it’s not a given they will grasp the reality that the Ukrainians were sacrificed for a sham cause? That money was thrown away on “cheap” outdated weapons that were of little use to untrained troops, and that we squander billions on militarism at the drop of a hat. But an NBA announcer is saying on national television that he hopes the Warrior’s win so he doesn’t have to go back to that filthy, dirty City, that is San Francisco. Billions wasted on a fools’ errand at the drop of a hat while homelessness and drug addiction ravages our country, in places large and small, costal and Midwest.
And yet, we’re suppose to fight two nuclear powers simultaneously, with millennials who are 20% binary? Will the citizens of the US demand an end to this madness?
for decades the govt of the ‘west’ put wool over their own citizen for their wars , everything wrapped in the pretense of honor and good vs evil and the western people lapped this up or just plain didnt care
why expect this time ‘men of the west’ will see the obvious lies ? only few ‘men on the wall’ like LJ saw this crap but it take more than just truth and fact to wake up western people who are deep drunk on kool aid
Michael Murry says
Will the Nazi American Terrorist Operation still deliver the promised weaponry — and personnel trained to use it — if the “country” answering to the word-like noise “Ukraine” still exists, but only in a rump form specified by the victorious Russian Federation? How embarrassing if the actual $6 billion in weaponry finally arrives only to find Russians ready and waiting to take possession of it. Time does matter here and the Kiev Coup Authorities (KCA) have far less of it than Mr Ritter seems to imagine.
What this article illustrates is that the US is subsidizing a failed state to stave off a collapse of the military and economy.
8 out of 10 of Ukraine’s largest cities and probably half or more of it’s economy are in or directly adjacent to the current theater of ground combat. Only 2 of the 10, Kiev and Lviv are any distance from the front lines.
2 of those 8 metropolitan areas are under Russian control. And the other 6 have substantial Russian speaking populations not far from the front lines.
Russia doesn’t need to increase it’s force to bring those 6 front line areas into Russian control. It just needs to continue it’s methodical advance.
The increase in oil and gas revenue is paying for most or maybe all of the war and sanctions cost. And Russia has little government debt and substantial financial reserves.
The US and it’s NATO partners subsidizing a failed state and losing war as Russia moves the front lines west. Is likely to do more harm to NATO than Russia. Which is in the process of adding a valuable income producing territory to it’s economic sphere of operations.
Larry it’s timely to reflect on noted military historian Martin Van Crevald’s comments suggesting Bush be impeached for the Iraq invasion.
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president’s men. If convicted, they’ll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.
I think Joe may have out done Bush II.
Michael Murry says
As a former (and completely ineffective) enlisted trainer of the now-defunct South Vietnamese Brown Water Navy, I once heard Martin Van Crevald say something about U.S. advisers in Iraq that rang a bell with me. To wit: “The only thing the Americans can train the Iraqis to do is how to kill Americans. How stupid can they get?” Mea culpa.
i read that Roy Boehm’s LDNN graduates are also the one who sink USS Card after graduation , turned out they are North Vietnam agents.
Michael Murry says
Pepe Escobar has recanted his brief flirtation with the Scott Ritter $40-billion-“Game Changer” theory: NATO vs Russia: what happens next. An excerpt:
Difficult to change the game from chess to strip poker once losing becomes inevitable. Scott Ritter correctly understood this only a few weeks ago. So it puzzles me why he would panic and do an about-face just because our corrupt Congress made another lunge for the nation’s Treasury. At least Pepe Escobar has the integrity to admit a brief lapse of judgement.
Pepe Escobar have vast experience as journalst and he definitely a good source , he might not be as deep into technical military stuff but his analysis worth reading
as for strip poker , it is a scam for the females , no one want to see male junk but every male want the female to lost badly..
D.E. Murray says
$40 bn may not be a “game-changer” militarily, but it’s a demonstration of the commitment the US has to creating trouble for Russia right in its back yard. Until there’s a genuine sea-change in political leadership, this will continue. It’s a “game-changer” politically. We’ve turned a fateful corner.
I don’t like this – I hate it. I’m not arguing for it. I’m against it. But that’s how I see it.
I’m telling you my gut says the money is diverted. Zelensky lied about evacuation, he’s not above claiming to buy military aid, but only a fraction and diverting funds elsewhere. At least 50% of any money is mostly admin anyway, paying people to handle the money. I give the person on the street corner with a cardboard sign my wallet contents…it ALL goes to them. Anywhere else 10% at best. Does not matter where they spend it or how, I KNOW I’m better off than they are no matter what.
US is like COVID, killing more Ukrainians through denial or hubris than Russia would have done alone!
Thanks Larry my listeners love you.
The 40 Billion is not sustainable in a collapsing food chain and economies. The Ukrainians, the Europeans will have no choice but to give in to Russia’s reasonable demands. That is what Scott Ritter left out of his equation.
I tried to donate $100, but they insist on using paypal, which I will not use for many reasons. Have another way?
Larry Johnson says
I’m working on an alternative. Thanks for the support.
Walter Roth says
I wanted to write that a few days ago.
The truth about the 40 billion is that almost all of the money ends up going to US companies.
They make income from it.
And it is to replenish the learned camps…… and probably now with more modern weapons than the ones given to Ukraine.
Whichever way you look at the 40 billion, most of it gets stuck in the US arms companies…. Still, it will weigh on the US budget.
To me it really looks like a redistribution operation.
I’m curious if they really make Stinger again.
My colleague worked at Wild-Heerbrug during his training as a machine mechanic. Here in Switzerland a well-known manufacturer of high-precision components …………..also for the optical seeker heads of the Stinger.
But now he will soon be retiring, because that was 40 years ago.
However, production techniques have changed enormously since then.
Skeptical Canuck says
Thanks again Larry, very cogent and important points about the supposedly ‘game changing’ $40 package.
One tiny detail on the GPS enabled weapons tho, is that I believe the GPS satellites do the transmitting, and there are only receivers on the weapons, so no possible anti-radiation tracking of them. And, IIRC, it requires reception from at least 3 satellites to be able to derive position info
However, the Russians have EW that can spoof and/or interfere with the GPS signals so as to make position info derived from them, erroneous.
some guided system have 2 way datalink with SATCOM
For reason the USA would deliver state-of-the-art weapons to Ukraine so that they fall into Russian hands and are studied; they would save Russia billions of billions in research and development.
dunno , russia have better weapons in some sectors compared to NATO. Russian ATGM are far better than NATO ones , ditto cruise missiles as russia proven time and time to easily jam / destroy FUKUS missiles in syria. and then the hypersonic weapons which NATO do not have.
OTOH russia and china have access to downed F117 and the modern RQ170 stealth drone , which give them good view on US stealth tech.
the only advantage of NATO weapon systems is the propaganda how superior is western made stuff compared to china / russian made crap.
I wouldn’t put it past the numbskulls in Washinton. Heck look what they did in China. Transferred all our technology and know how, built its economy to the largest in the world and now we’re trying to pick a fight. Our political class are a bunch of grifters and will sell the grandmothers to the highest bidder.
Cynical Rex says
The Russians not only have to concern themselves with the battlefield, but with geopolitics in the longer term: I think Scott Ritter was alluding to this. What I mean is, the Russians effectively control eastern Ukraine, but to move out further is to risk escalating with NATO. If Russia does not move into western Ukraine to remove Nazi influence, a new cold war situation emerges where the US and EU can re-arm, train and risk escalation again just like in the old cold war. Ritter was saying that long-term, geopolitically, time may not be on Russia’s side.
Now, this does not take into account the sanctions and economic situation, which is punishing the West, especially Europe. If EU’s economy implodes, there may be a strong, anti-NATO pushback to elect new govts that restore peace and economic cooperation with Russia. The sanctions will likely also impact the upcoming US mid-term elections, and perhaps the presidential election in 2024: especially as inflation affects not just oil, but fertilizer and food shortages due to the war.
It may be that the US govt tries to forget and disappear this conflict, as it is doing in the media right now: to some extent abandoning Ukraine to its fate and leaving Russia untouched. The war may have revealed too much weakness in the US capability, that its military is no match for Russia’s, and this is a blow to its international prestige and will increase the move away from the Dollar standard, as well as countries in the global South and East moving into Russian/Chinese political orbit. The US will not want this future, but without resorting to nuclear war, I don’t see how the US can stop from being eclipsed by the Russia/China alliance.
D.E. Murray says
“The Russians not only have to concern themselves with the battlefield, but with geopolitics in the longer term: I think Scott Ritter was alluding to this. ”
Yes, that’s the big picture. I think Ritter has made a fool of himself numerous times but that’s not important. He’s onto something. I think that we critics of US policy are not immune to smoking copium ourselves. The Russians will prevail militarily in the Donbass, of that I’m sure. Then what?
This situation reminds me in a broad sense of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Not in every detail but in the larger sense. Israel wins militarily every time but they can’t stamp out Palestinian nationalism. Same goes for Ukrainian nationalism, which is, in essence, “Not Russia Slavicism.”
The points you make in your second & third grafs are rational, but never underestimate the power of insanity in politics. The US has too much invested in Russophobia since 1997. Countering Russia everywhere and everywhen is the religion of a bunch of entrenched fanatics in the Blob.
” What I mean is, the Russians effectively control eastern Ukraine, but to move out further is to risk escalating with NATO. ”
Why would they have to? The US digs its own grave almost every time. One of the reasons we are in the mess we are in happens to be because the US armed religious fanatics against the USSR. We’ve spent the last two decades dumping blood and treasure in the desert dealing with that problem. Now, they need that spent treasure to deal with a real threat to its global position, but oops. And don’t forget that the US is in serious domestic crisis. This is the only developed country on the planet where kids are regularly gunned down in school, yet they are going to continue to be the sole world power?
Russia simply has to wait. The US is very quickly going into its final death drive. A war with China will destroy its global position. That will be the final embarrassment and the end of the US as the “leader of the free world”. With the US unable to exert influence over eastern Europe, Russia will naturally step in to restore order among the Baltic states as it used to do. Russia will not absorb them, but it will be a mitigating influence in that part of the world.
Remember Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations”? The neo-cons misunderstood his central thesis and bastardized it, but his thesis is proving itself correct. Russia is one of the civilization states that will serve as a “civilizational core” in the world, essentially “governing” the orthodox world. China will reemerge as the arbiter of east Asia – as it was for centuries. The US will likely remain as the primary influence over western Europe. What is happening is a return to a much older order that existed before WW2 and the rise of the US as the sole superpower. Nations will be arranged around shared cultural, religious, ethnic, and geographical considerations rather than ideological considerations.
Thanks for this. The devil is in the details, in this case. And thank you also for always taking the high road in debates with Scott Ritter. You are a gent.
Aid package is even worse than shown above– it is all in the headline categories. About 1/2 goes to the State Department which will use through means that funnel much back to US as has been done since at least 2014. Ukraine will get $4-6B for something remotely military– at high cost and delivered too late.
The rush of the old R and D pols to deliver the aid package tells one on how much is getting kicked back.
I watched Mr Ritter with Judge Napolitano where he explains his reasoning:
I thought it was a quite reasonable assessment
GPS signals are generated by a constellation of satellites in orbit. The GPS receiver is passive and uses time difference of the signals from the different satellites to triangulate its location. What the Russian can do is jam the signal so these systems are GPS denied.
The time delay between money available and Ukrainians receiving the weapons could be expedient by supplying NATO stockpiled weapons and using the money to replace the NATO stockpile. Training also takes time. I suspect at some point the training and tactics will be shifted more to guerrilla style warefare since direct and open confrontation is failing.
FYI -GPS receivers are passive systems and do not transmit, so having GPS running is not going to give away your location. However Russia has the technology to jam/degrade the signals from the GPS satellites – effectively making the receiver inoperable or very inaccurate
As I have said before this first $40 Billion will not be the game changer, the next $40 Billion, meh maybe, we will see.
Scott’s main concern I believe was the open ended future funding (mostly by the lease/lend) and the safe space rebuilding of new units in Western Europe (+Canada?). He is correct to state that this is a change to the political equation but he also maintains that Russia’s aims and goals will remain unchanged.
This is no surprise.
Both Russia and the West have told everyone what they want to do! This is a part of the Wests way of being a drain and weakening Russia.
As Mr Larry pointed out in an earlier post, Russia will not just sit back, there will (has been?) a response. Sometimes sitting in our armchairs in the heat of battle people get ahead of events, change and escalation is not always aloud and thunderous or on the field of battle. There is nothing to see here yet but I believe it is coming.
The watch word for June is “Diesel” and one of Russia’s most vicious weapons is the greed of Wall St.
Hola Larry (English translation down).
Saludos desde la colonia estadounidense de Puerto Rico.
Te dejo la entrevista que le hicieron a Scott Ritter ayer. Él no cambia su posición de que Rusia perderá en Ucrania por esos 40 mil millones. Él menciona que los objetivos políticos de Rusia (desmilitarización y desnazificación) serán ahora más difíciles de alcanzar con las nuevas variables en el terreno.
Usted, Ritter y Martynov son geniales leerlos o escucharlos y ahora más que empiezan a diferir. Ninguno de los tres están difiriendo en el análisis militar fundamental, sino en el político.
Greetings from the U.S. colony of Puerto Rico.
I leave you the interview with Scott Ritter yesterday. He does not change his position that Russia will lose in Ukraine because of that 40 billion. He mentions that Russia’s political goals (demilitarization and denazification) will now be more difficult to achieve with the new variables on the ground.
You, Ritter and Martynov are great to read or listen to and now more than begin to differ. None of the three are differing on the fundamental military analysis, but on the political.
Larry, thanks for passing on the breakdown of the $40 billion. Appreciate.
I really don’t think that is what Scott meant by game changer. I think what he meant is a commitment to financing. He was quite pissed off about Congress approving the money. He said so in a recent RT article on May 19.
“With a $40 billion plan, the US is setting itself up for an expensive failure in Ukraine.”
Consider this. Brown University just did an analysis of what the US spent in Afganistan. $2.6 trillion dollars. The NYT is throwing around the number $2 trillion. Even the DoD admitted to $950 billion.
And the number going around for Iraq is $2 trillion.
And both of those campaigns were huge military failures. But they wrecked Afghanistan and Iraq and had huge implications for that part of the world.
$43 billion is a drop in the bucket. I would not be surprised if that number is close to $100 billion by the end of the year.
Congress passed $43 billion with virtually no debate. So I don’t think there will be much debate on another $50 billion or so.
And certainly I think Americans see Ukraine as being much more in the national interest than they saw Iraq and Afghanistan given the fact that they see Ukraine as a fledgling European democracy trying to take on the evil communist godless Russians. That of course is all propaganda but so far Americans are still buying this nonsense.
In my mind I see this as a commitment to spend lots of money in Ukraine. Whether that is a game changer or not may be in the eyes of the beholder.
Larry, it is said in some places that many Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered today.
Several brigades, battalions etc…
Do you know something?
Larry Johnson says
Read my latest.
Does this 40 billion include was being given through the Ukraine land lease act that was enacted the day Russia celebrated the ending of World War II? I’m wondering if we were supplying them with more weapons than we realized because of the land lease act, and the initiation of the land lease act is what makes me believe that World War III has already begun. The only time that we’ve use the land lease act was during World War II when we supplied Russia with 14,000 Aircrafts, 400,000 vehicles, thousands and thousands of tanks etc. etc. I’m wondering if this $40 billion it’s just a guise to make us think we’re not giving them as much as we are and to not let the rest of the world realize that we are literally funding this entire war.