Can America’s arms industry respond? It must help supply not only Ukraine but also European allies that are rushing to re-arm and America itself, which must replenish its stocks and worry about the risk of great-power conflict. “One of the great success stories of this war is that we have been able to supply the Ukrainians with large numbers of munitions,” says Thomas Mahnken of the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think-tank in Washington. “My question is: who is going to supply the United States? Nobody.”
Eric and Eliot dissect the war in Ukraine and discuss Eliot’s articles in the Atlantic and Foreign Affairs. What is the new phase of the war? Are Russian forces exhausted, what is their strategy? How will the Ukrainians counter? Is the Biden package enough? Eliot asks Eric about the lessons of Ukraine for other parts of the world and his Bulwark article on ending the policy of strategic ambiguity for Taiwan. Should we settle in for a long war of attrition?
Eliot and Eric welcome Charlie Edel, Australia Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to discuss security in the Indo-Pacific, the role of Australia, the AUKUS partnership, John Quincy Adams and U.S. foreign policy—do the “restrainers” read Adams correctly?—and the role of literature in understanding history.
Put bluntly, although the United States and its allies have been able to resupply Ukraine, the United States cannot count on similar help should the roles be reversed.
Although Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO has been discussed for more than a decade and half, it is not a member—and so the alliance is not committed to defend it, nor to attempt to deter attacks against it. (Indeed, a vote over whether to deter an attack against Ukraine would likely have splintered the alliance.) Vladimir Putin took full advantage of Ukraine’s living in this gray zone where its frequently voiced aspirations for NATO membership are not matched by a security guarantee. Still, after Russia’s invasion began, NATO’s guilty conscience prompted decisions to funnel arms and equipment into the beleaguered country; the Western anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems reinforced and enhanced the ability of Ukrainian defenders to wreak enormous damage on the Russian aggressor, rendering combat ineffective some 15 to 20 percent, if not more, of the Russian battalion tactical groups devoted to the operation.
Travis Sharp, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told Breaking Defense the Houthis “pose an active and persistent threat to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.” He added that the circumstances in Yemen have made it increasingly difficult for the US to maintain situational awareness about the group’s capabilities. Sharp suggested Cooper’s unwillingness to connect CTF-153 with the Houthi attacks may be an issue of politics.
“If the United States were to propose an explicitly anti-Houthi task force, they might not get many countries in the region who would be willing to join that because the countries have varying perspectives on what’s happening in Yemen,” he said.