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THE WORKERS PARTY

Weapons supply chain issues show Imperialism is weak

By Lara Spurr (Workers GB Writers Group)

The conflict in Ukraine is needlessly killing tens of thousands, and showing the rapacious drive to rearmament and shameless war profiteering.

Kiev’s demand for weapons is stretching the west’s arms manufacturers beyond their capacity to keep up, with problems sourcing raw materials and lack of manufacturing capacity considerably slowing the process down. NATO, the western empire’s military wing, is now experiencing a depletion of its own regular arsenal in many of its provinces, with obvious potential consequences for its ability to wage endless war. 

Some of the orders meant for Kiev, or to replace lost or outworn equipment in NATO’s regular stocks, will not be filled for many months, or even years. Raw materials such as metals and chemicals for explosives, as well as lack of surge capacity in the west’s military tech sector more generally, are holding up production. Ukraine has been firing 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds per day, which is similar to the entire annual order of such for a smaller European state in peacetime. Because of the way the defense industry is set up in the west, it is not always easy to immediately ramp up or surge production if necessary. According to market advice in the FT, doing so is capital intensive and manufacturers and investors want the certainty of longer term government contracts to make it worth their while. 

Contrast this with the Russian military tech sector, which is still largely state owned and composed of large Soviet-era factories designed to have immediate surge capacity should the occasion demand it, and we can see pretty clearly why arms supply is not an issue for Moscow’s side of things. On top of this Russia is rich in its own raw materials, resources and engineering know-how, crucially it has plentiful cheap energy for manufacturing. 

This last point goes a long way to explaining why NATO is using Ukraine to try and batter down Russia’s gates in the first place – the imperialists wish to use that particular geographical route through Ukraine to try and get at all the Eurasian goodies which Russia holds! The decaying west smells the natural wealth in the east, and wants it for itself.

The sanctions slapped on Russia so gleefully by the EU have turned out to be tantamount to them shooting themselves in the foot. Another reason for the hold up in European arms manufacture has been the increase in energy prices as a result of the loss of cheaper energy direct from Russian pipelines. It appears that their American friends have blown up one of them (Nordstream 2) and they are now having to buy Russian fuels via other countries at inflated prices as a means of getting around their own sanctions. 

The American liquid natural gas which is NATO and “rules based order” compliant is of course more expensive than the Russian gas EU manufacturers enjoyed for many years. It’s likely that things in Ukraine will have become disastrous for the western empire as a whole long before its arms manufacturers are finally able to provide all the weapons it has promised. However, of course they will profit off the government contracts, i.e. taxpayers money, in the meantime. 

As well as the tragedy of the huge loss of life in Ukraine is the fact that it was once one of the most successful, wealthiest industrial areas of the old Soviet Union. Its people enjoyed a longer life expectancy prior to the collapse of the USSR and there was a brotherhood between it and other peoples in the union. Now socialists are persecuted and their parties and symbols banned. It has become a dystopian hellscape of out-of-control fascist tendencies, death and destruction because of the west’s interference, greed and proxy-abuse which have had inevitable inflammatory geopolitical consequences. 

The usual ravenous corporate scavengers are circling Ukraine right now hoping to feed on its carcass once the western military tech corporations have profited from the slaughter. Black Rock, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs (all reeled off by Zelensky in a recent video clip as corporate “knights in shining armour”) will move in to ‘invest’ in and help rebuild Ukraine, in the way they always do once the imperial war machine has done its job. 

So the Imperial core will then own it fully and use it as a launch-pad from which to work on breaking up Russia into juicy manageable parts for consumption. Or, at least, this is their plan. Reality may well not match their imagined scenario, however. Russia has faced these sorts of over-ambitious pirates many times before in her history, and all the signs suggest she’s not about to roll over and give up her wares now. 

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