‘This Equipment’

"Is this equipment available?" Oksana Markarova wondered aloud, during an interview with a Ukrainian daily. Markarova serves as Volodymyr Zelensky's ambassador to the United States. "This equipment" was a reference to some $1 billion in direct military assistance to Kyiv freed up Tuesday after the US Senate cleared a crucial foreign aid bill. The legislation spent months languishing in America's fractious lower chamber, where House Speaker Mike Johnson, an ultraconservative in his own right an

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3 thoughts on “‘This Equipment’

  1. The lack of elasticity in Western weapons production is irritating to investors as well. E.g. RTX guided Raytheon segment (that’s the military weapons biz) revenue flattish for 2024, despite surging foreign orders for Raytheon’s air defense systems and $50BN in the supplemental funding bill that is “addressable by” Raytheon products. The companies’ backlogs are growing significantly faster than their revenues.

    That said, the US has large excess and obsolete weapons stocks. A lot of the weapons provided by the US to Ukraine are just that.

  2. You left Japan off the list. They rank #10 at $50.2b, just ahead of South Korea. Editorial choice, I get it, but their proximity to China makes them at least as interesting as South Korea.

    A few random notables from that report, which I had not, in fact, already read:

    I found the high ranking for India interesting, and my first thought was, “Because Pakistan.” Pakistan though, only ranks #30 on the list, with $8.5b in spending, a decrease of 13% from the previous year. Presumably they would spend more if they could, which is an indirect testament to how deeply impoverished Pakistan is.

    Amusingly, ranks #28, 29, and 31 go to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark respectively. The Scandinavians are slacking. Sweden and Norway are well under their NATO spending targets at 1.5% and 1.6% of GDP respectively. Denmark however, precisely hit the 2.0% level, but only by increasing spending 39% YoY. Finland, incidentally, is only in 35th place on the spending rankings, but in GDP terms, they’re spending 2.4%, putting them ahead of every other NATO member but two, the United States (obviously) at 3.4% of GDP and the new champ…

    Poland, in 14th place globally, who spent $31.6b, or 3.8% (!) of GDP, a target which they hit by increasing spending a whopping 75% YoY.

    It’s almost like your proximity in history to enduring a Russian invasion has a powerful motivating ability.

    On a final note, Germany is pretty pathetic, spending just 1.5% of GDP, well below the 2% NATO target, and that’s after an increase of 9% YoY.

  3. Putin recognizes the chaos in the US and the favorable impact (to him) of his disinformation apparatus (including Tucker C, etc.). How long until he crosses the divide and detonates a “small” tactical nuke? Careful attention to location and wind direction and he could get away w/ it now. Seriously. Insufficient political will in US or Europe to respond in kind or send troops and/or necessary materiel into Ukraine. If Putin waits, he risks a post-election consolidation of US political power among those encouraging Ukraine’s defense and a much more difficult long game to achieve his objective: eliminate Ukraine and “return” the territory to Russia.

NEWSROOM crewneck & prints