NATO is a mess and the Russians are winning

Ukraine war turning in Moscow’s favor as Western equipment and manpower in dangerously short supply

The British are about to sign a Naval Security Pact with Ukraine, doubling down on their support for the sinking Volodymyr Zelensky-led country.

Meanwhile, Germany is upping its arms commitment to Ukraine, even though its arms stockpile is practically empty. Both the UK and Germany are emptying their wallets and their arsenals while the US is trying to do the same thing.

At the same time, the Washington Times, in an article by Bill Gertz, reports that Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wi), who is the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, has come up with some novel ideas to help Taiwan make use of otherwise obsolete weapons in the US arsenal, mostly because getting new weapons right now is nearly impossible.

Gallagher says “Recent war games simulating conflict with China over Taiwan revealed that the US would run out of long-range precision-guided bombs and missiles less than a week into the conflict.” 

Bill Gertz reports that the Pentagon has a backlog of more than US$2 billion worth of weapons that Taipei purchased, held up by defense industry delays. 

Taiwan is currently waiting on 400 Harpoon missiles and 100 Harpoon launchers that the Pentagon announced in a sale over three years ago and which may not reach the island until 2029.

In short supply: A view of an RGM-84 surface-to-surface Harpoon missile immediately after leaving a canister launcher. Image: Asia Times Files / Twitter

The key point is that it will take five more years (eight years total) to deliver Harpoon missiles to Taiwan. It is even worse for other war stocks such as 155mm and 120mm ammunition.

The weakness and problems of the American defense industrial base pale in insignificance to the manpower shortages affecting most NATO members as well as the US.

Germany’s small army is lacking new recruits. Like the US, Germany has a volunteer force, but things are getting so bad the German government is thinking about some kind of conscription system

With the current German government already rapidly losing political support, trying to get the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, to vote in any conscription system would be political suicide. Boris Pistorius, Germany’s defense minister, understands the problem but has no solution likely to gain popular support. 

Politics in Germany is sliding to the right, with the AfD, Germany’s right-wing party, securing growing voter support. The AfD has not yet taken any position on conscription, but it is a nationalist party that would like to see the sanctions on Russia lifted and does not support any European-wide defense initiative.

The total number of armed forces personnel in Germany had dropped to  181,383 as of the end of October, with thousands of vacancies unfilled. 

The German tabloid Bild says that the German army has neither the strength nor the equipment required to effectively defend the nation. Yet, at the same time Bild was pointing out the military crisis, Germany announced it is sending a 5,000-strong brigade to Lithuania.