Ukraine and Russia: War and Consequences

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JD Vance on Ukraine:

Thank you, Mr. President. With respect to my colleagues who voted in the other direction on this particular piece of legislation, let me offer some serious concerns about the direction we’re headed as a country and about what this vote represents in terms of American readiness, American capacity to defend itself and its allies in the future, and most importantly, the American leadership’s ability to acknowledge where we really are as a country—our strengths, our weaknesses, what can be built upon, and what must be rebuilt entirely.

Historical Analogies: I am extraordinarily aware of a couple of historical analogies that should inform this debate. One that seems to always inform the debate and another that seems to never come up.

Chamberlain vs. Churchill Analogy: Opponents of further aid in Ukraine, and I count myself among them, say that this is a Chamberlain versus Churchill kind of moment. My distinguished colleague from Delaware made this observation. With no disrespect to my friend from Delaware, we need to come up with some different analogies in this chamber. We need to understand history as not just World War II replaying itself over and over again. Vladimir Putin is not Adolf Hitler. It doesn’t mean he’s a good guy, but he has significantly less capability than the German leader did in the late 1930s. America is not America of the late 1930s or the early 1940s. We possess substantially less manufacturing might in relative terms than we did almost 100 years ago.

Other Historical Analogies: There are other historical analogies we should be considering. The Second World War was devastating, but the First World War also holds important lessons. The lesson of World War I is that if you’re not careful, you can blunder yourself into a broader regional conflict that kills tens of millions of people, many of them innocent. In 1914, alliances, politics, and the failure of statesmanship dragged two rival blocks of militaries into a catastrophic conflict.

Current Context: In the past week alone, the Council on Foreign Relations has published an essay calling for European troops to sustain Ukraine’s lines as Ukraine struggles to raise troops. Some European leaders have said they might send troops to support Ukraine in the conflict. Perhaps the history lesson we should be teaching ourselves isn’t Chamberlain versus Churchill. Perhaps we should be asking ourselves how an entire world’s set of leaders allowed itself to blunder into world conflict.

Diplomatic Solutions: Is there possibly a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine? Yes, I believe there is. As critics of Vladimir Putin and supporters of Ukraine have pointed out, there was a peace deal on the table approximately 18 months ago. What happened to it? The Biden Administration pushed Zelensky to set aside the peace agreement and engage in a disastrous counteroffensive, which killed tens of thousands of Ukrainians, depleted decades worth of military stocks, and has left us in a worse position today.

Historical Analogy of Early 2000s: Another historical analogy worth pointing out is from the early 2000s. In 2003, I was a high school senior who believed the propaganda of the George W. Bush Administration that we needed to invade Iraq. It was a war for freedom and democracy, and those who appeased Saddam Hussein were inviting a broader regional conflict. It’s the same talking points 20 years later with different names. Have we learned anything over the last 20 years? No, I don’t think we have. We have learned that beating our chest instead of engaging in diplomacy does not produce good outcomes.

Critique of Current Foreign Policy: In the last 18 months, I have been accused by multiple people of being a stooge of Vladimir Putin. In 2003, I supported the Iraq War but later enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served honorably. I saw that I had been lied to and that the promises of the foreign policy establishment were a joke. Recently, our friends in the House waved Ukrainian flags on the floor, reminiscent of when they waved fingers stained with purple ink to commemorate Iraqi elections. The obsessive focus on moralism and democracy is no way to run foreign policy.

Lessons from the Iraq War: It is perhaps the most shameful period in the Republican party’s history of the last 40 years that we supported George W. Bush in the prosecution of that military conflict. My excuse is that I was a high school senior. What is the excuse of those who were in this chamber or the House at the time and are now singing the same song about Ukraine? Have we learned nothing? We need to update our mental thinking about when to get involved in military conflicts.

Unintended Consequences: The Iraq War had many unintended consequences, such as empowering Iran, a regional adversary. The same people who caused us to start a war that empowered Iran are now calling for more war. We should be worried about these unintended consequences.

Christian Populations: As a Christian, I care about the United States’ impact on Christian populations worldwide. In Iraq, before we invaded, there were 1.5 million Christians. Now, nearly all of those historical Christian communities are gone. This is the result of American foreign policy in Iraq.

Current Situation in Ukraine: Today, the Ukrainian Parliament is considering enacting a law that would dispossess large numbers of Christian churches and communities. This war may lead to the displacement of a massive Christian community in Ukraine. This will be our shame for not seeing it coming and doing nothing to stop it.

Critique of Current Debate: There’s a weird way where the debate in this country has gotten warped. People can’t engage in good-faith disagreement with our Ukraine policy without being attacked as being on the wrong side. This way of making decisions is how we bankrupt this country and start a third world war.

Manufacturing Base: We do not have the manufacturing base to support a land war in Europe. We are spread too thin. Everyone now seems to agree that we are severely limited in the number of weapons we can send to Ukraine. The reality is that the longer this goes on, the more people will needlessly die.

Diplomatic Powers: We have passed legislation that attempts to curtail the diplomatic powers of the next Presidential Administration. We want to empower the next president to engage in diplomacy, not make it harder. This chamber is making it impossible for the next president to engage in diplomacy.

Border Security: The Ukraine supplemental funds Ukraine’s border while ignoring our own border crisis. We are supporting Ukraine’s border security while worsening our own migration crisis.

Repo Act: The Repo Act allows the Treasury Department to seize Russian assets to help pay for the war. However, it could make it harder to sell US treasuries, leading to higher interest rates and inflation.

European Allies: Germany, an important ally, is de-industrializing due to green energy policies. We should not subsidize Germany’s ridiculous energy policies. They should manufacture their own weapons and field their own army to defend Europe.

Fairness: It’s not fair that Americans are forced to bear this burden. We should signal to Europe that they need to become self-sufficient. If they are truly threatened by Vladimir Putin, they should spend more on military equipment.

Final Points: For 40 years, this country has made a bipartisan mistake by allowing our manufacturing might to be outsourced while increasing our commitments worldwide. This has weakened our country and overextended us. We cannot police the world with our weakened manufacturing base.

Conclusion: This bill does not fix our problems. It further extends our country. With that, Mr. President, I yield, recognizing that my colleague from Florida wishes to speak. Thank you.

Interesting to see the fake ear worm about Christian churches in Ukraine that was used to manipulate the Conservatives in the Senate against Ukraine taking action against a ‘church’ led by a KGB operative: Patriarch Kirill worked for the KGB in the 1970s, Swiss media reports | Euronews

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It is good to know there was at least one person in the pit of Congress who understands the real situation. But what are we going to do about it? From our current de-industrialized state, how are we going to play catch-up with China, with Russia, with India, with Brazil, even with Iran?

If we were serious, we would be talking about at least a quarter-century effort – starting with rebuilding the educational system, repealing tens of thousands of counter-productive regulations, setting out new rules for corporate governance, simplifying the tax code, ending unilateral “free trade”.

No-one in the Swamp is talking about that – not even J. D. Vance.

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I couldn’t agree more with every single point JD Vance made. He is a bit nicer than I am. The reason they don’t understand WW1 and always replay WW2 is because most of these dip wits probably know little or nothing about WW1. The baby boom generation are primarily the sons and daughters of the generation that fought WW2. They were imprinted with WW2 lore.

This argument is quite meaningless. The elites only matter to other elites. My opinion of the Pope, whom I find despicable, does not affect my view of Catholics. Similarly, I disapprove of the ADL, but that doesn’t mean their actions justify poor treatment of Jews. If Ukraine is attacking Christian churches, it is indefensible. While there are radical Muslims in some mosques, we do not condone the destruction of all mosques because of this. Those who worry about “democracy” may not grasp this, but those who value liberty certainly do.

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True but at least he’s not eager to police the world. I would have liked it better if he had just stopped at “We cannot police the world.”

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Sometimes I think democracy and liberty are opposites. It’s certainly true of Our Democracy, as the political class likes to call it — by which they mean their democracy.

Hate speech must be censored to protect Our Democracy. Elections must be “fortified” to protect Our Democracy. Dissidents must be jailed to protect Our Democracy. Political opponents must be prosecuted to protect Our Democracy.

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The political class, and the Left in particular, is insanely hung up on WW II and Hitler specifically. No history exists before or after Hitler for these people. The political class is of depressingly low quality.

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He is a good speaker, especially when considered in contrast to the other politicians in the running for the White House. Worth actually listening to his speech because the delivery is quite good.

And while this is not related to the topic of the speech, this reader’s main concern is regarding his lack of executive experience. Granted, should he get elected as Trump’s VP there is a good chance he will have opportunities to fix that gap rather quickly.

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That is an appropriate concern. But what do we mean by “executive experience”? Getting a DIE parachute into an executive job does not guarantee any level of adequate performance – as Ms. Cheatle has demonstrated in real time.

An executive at the presidential level has two main tasks. The first is to set the right direction. With his stated emphasis on focusing on dealing with US problems instead of swaggering around the globe, Vance seems to have that one covered.

The other critical executive task is choosing the right people to undertake tasks. With his broad range of different businesses, Elon Musk is clearly a master at choosing people. Now, let’s be blunt – we all remember the disappointing performance of many of the individuals President Trump selected during his time in office. Despite his prior personal success in business (which must have relied on choosing the right people), does President Trump really have this base covered in the world of Swamp politics?

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That, of course, is the 100 Trillion dollar question. Ultimately I don’t know, I’m not directly plugged into his political organization. What I will note though, is its lack of visible internal drama compared with previous times, and his overall more disciplined demeanor. He shoots his mouth off at random much less, though enough for us to be sure it really is Trump.

My speculation is that he has learned, and has built a better organization that is probably capable of finding staff who aren’t swamp creatures. Just how many of them are out there to be found, is a question. I think that he’ll have to husband his reliable and experienced staff carefully, and keep a close eye on the rest. Reintroducing the Schedule F regulation right up front (instead of near the end of his term) will definitely help.

Be interesting to see what he does with Mike Flynn this time.

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This is an article by Lyn Alden on reshoring.

I find Lyn very intelligent and really like her stuff (maybe because she was an engineer). She points out in this article that building back our manufacturing capability isn’t just about the facilities. It is about manufacturing understanding and talent. These don’t come overnight.

When people describe the reshoring effort to bring some of that industrial capacity back to the United States, they usually just focus on the first order details: the manufacturing facilities themselves. “It won’t be old heavy industry”, they say. “It’ll be automated, additive manufacturing. This can all run much cheaper now.”

And some of that is indeed true. 21st century manufacturing will trend in a more automated and additive direction than 20th century heavy industry did. But that doesn’t mean reshoring manufacturing is trivial. The actual building of a manufacturing facility is the easy part; it’s everything else in and around it that is hard.

That brings us to the second and third order details. Industrial capital (e.g. manufacturing facilities) is just one part of the equation. We also need sufficient energy capital to power it all, and sufficient human capital to install, operate, and maintain it all.

To quantify some of the energy capital, or more specifically the electricity subset of that, China currently produces nearly twice as much electricity as the United States. Here are the annual numbers via Enerdata:

China: 8,833 TWh
USA: 4,510 TWh
India: 1,802 TWh
Russia: 1,165 TWh
Japan: 1,063 TWh

She also points to the issues TSMC and Craftsman have had building manufacturing in the US. We don’t have the talent. This reflects my personal experience setting up manufacturing facilities in the US, Europe and Asia.

When we started investing in manufacturing in countries that did not have talent, we had to bring the talent. We had to bring everything from machine operators and craft people to engineers and management. Engineers and management would do 2 to 5 year FSE stints. You cannot get sophisticated equipment running without expertise that comes with experience.

The other problem is the vast interconnected supply chain. Whatever is manufactured requires many inputs. This is one issue with tariffs. If you pay 50 percent to bring in nylon, good luck molding a part that costs less than the molded part with a 50 percent tariff. Materials and therefore subassemblies and components make up a large part of the cost.

As I heard a guy say today. We cannot win by out governmenting them. We have to allow and incentivize industry to want to build the capability.

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I don’t have much confidence. First it is hard for narcissists to not fall for ass kissers. Trump blames his poor decisions on others and there is no sign he has changed in this way.

Just look at his economic team. Seriously. Same old same old. Not to mention literally old. There is maybe one guy on the team that has had to function in the real world for which they would be held accountable for their ideas. Nassim Taleb recently tweeted that he has never seen a business hire an economist. I think there is an obvious reason.

Trump should shun the blow hard economists and financial engineers for people with actual experience trying to Make products in the US.. He should avoid large corporate “experts” that have either failed or only survived because of government protection.

Trump is from the FIRE industry. The financialization of the US is a problem and the folks in that industry will have no clue how to fix a problem they created. As they say the arsonist as the firefighter is ludicrous.

Trump actually seems to believe that the stock market is a reflection of the real economy! He is also a big spender. Being slightly better than the worst in history.

In place of cutting taxes on companies that don’t make anything in the US, he should propose a zero tax on any company that manufactures in the US that is less than 100 million in sales or pick your number to exclude the grifter large corporations. Incentivize competition not grifters that will buy back stock with the extra profits.

I doubt he will be any better at picking politicians for political appointments than he is at picking economic advisers.

As stated in the other post. If we had the knowledge and will to build a stronger nation, it would take 20 years minimum.

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I love this idea, but we should also tie it to no H-1B visas.

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If you want boots on the ground, real world information on the challenge that small manufacturers face, check out Origan’s YouTube. This company was started by one of the founders of underarmor with funding from Joe Rogan and Jocko Willick. They have videos of finding old textile equipment, the difficulty of finding US suppliers, etc. There is absolutely no reason they should be paying tax as they try to revive American manufacturing.

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Meanwhile we are subsidizing solar panels made in China. You can’t make this stuff up.

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You’re missing my point. The Church argument fed to the Senators was disinformation. Once they went and verified the situation, like Johnson, they changed their mind.

You mean Origin from Maine. Very good products, and sister company Jockofuel as well.

https://www.youtube.com/originusa

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https://insideevs.com/news/619758/tesla-china-engineers-staff-fremont-california/amp/

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We do not have sufficient labor in this country to manufacture at previous scales without immigration.

I worked for 3M before retiring. 3M’s manufacturing facilities are mostly located in towns with populations between 10,000 and 30,000. I retired a couple of years ago, but for the previous ten years (at least), our plants could not find enough workers. They had “NOW HIRING” signs that should have been made permanent. This shortage affected all levels, from entry-level production to engineers.

Consider the number of engineers. Currently, in the US, we have twice the number of engineers per capita as in 1970, despite deindustrialization.

If you oppose immigration, you must acknowledge that we cannot sustain manufacturing. The US government often provides misleading information, but some numbers can serve as a reference. The unemployment rate was less than 4%, indicating full employment (all those willing and able to work were working). There is full employment, with probably 16 million or more illegal immigrants working. Who will replace them and fill all the new manufacturing jobs?

Either we have millions of able-bodied workers unwilling to work, or we don’t have enough people to fill jobs. If it is the former, why would they suddenly be willing to work? Some argue that the pay isn’t good enough. Well, they could move to Brookings, SD, and get a job at the 3M manufacturing facility. There isn’t a high-paying job for the type of job they want at the exact location they want. I doubt these same folks would work at this plant if it was in their neighborhood. The pay is too low, and the work is too difficult compared to what they are currently doing.

I agree that wages are low and have not kept up with inflation. However, I don’t agree that this justifies not working. The type of person who refuses to work and makes excuses is unlikely to succeed in a manufacturing job. They don’t even make good citizens or neighbors. Entitlement is not a good character trait.

We have painted ourselves into a corner, and the only way out is through serious amounts of work and discomfort. The US is like a morbidly obese person hoping for Ozempic to make weight loss easy. There is no Ozempic for what ails us.

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My apologies. After going back and reading your comment and looking at the link again, I still didn’t grasp your point. Maybe it is in the video that Johnson changed his mind. I didn’t watch the video. For some topics, if I have a choice between reading and video, I will choose reading.

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By difficult you mean physically demanding or cognitive challenging?

Male labor force participation is at or near an all time low.

Regarding H1B work visas, I don’t have a problem if they go to companies in South Dakota or small towns. I absolutely detest and oppose work visas for Silicon Valley and programmers from India.

Does 3M still have a reputation for innovation? Minnesota mining manufacturing!

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