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Arsenal of Dumb-ocracy

“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” That was the old American way of conducting foreign policy. By contrast, the Biden Administration embraces a motto of “talk shit and carry a small stick.” 

 For all the liberal bombast about “Putin’s war in the Ukraine” and the need to defend freedom and democracy in Europe by giving enormous amounts of weapons and sums of cash to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, there is a striking lack of actual power behind these American promises. As it turns out, the dementia-ridden emperor has no clothes. More importantly, he has no industrial might. 

America is no longer the “arsenal of democracy.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt coined the phrase in 1940 to describe American foreign policy after Nazi Germany invaded France and Japan invaded Manchuria. For FDR, the United States would not be an official combatant but instead would do everything short of actually fighting in order to support England and China against the Axis powers. Later, America would pledge its support to freedom by giving hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Preserving the murderous and expansionist Communist regime was, of course, a key part of defending the world from totalitarianism.

FDR’s arsenal of democracy language might have been suspect in light of America’s then-neutral status—how can one claim to be a non-combatant while actively shipping weapons to only one side of a conflict?—but it was not mere bluster. America in 1940 had an enormous manufacturing capacity—unparalleled by any other power on earth. 

Joe Biden, on the other hand, has kept FDR’s language but without having the material power to back it up. He talks the talk but cannot walk the walk. The America of 1940 doesn’t exist anymore. Our once great manufacturing capacity is a mere shadow of its former self. The upper Midwest where Americans once produced goods that were the envy of the world are now riven by drug addiction, population decline, and spiritual collapse. The Rust Belt is, figuratively speaking, rusted out. 

America’s delusional ruling class believes that because they have made strongly worded moral pronouncements and signed pieces of paper giving money and weapons to Zelenskyy that these things will simply magically appear out of thin air. The average congressman, like the average general, has a childlike view of the world. Like the people who believe food comes from grocery stores, these naïve innocents don’t understand how anything works.

In reality, America’s supply chains for weapons rely entirely on minerals and materials from abroad. Even the simplest item for our military—small caliber bullets for rifles—cannot be made entirely within the United States. For one, the United States does not have a single domestic source of antimony, a material used to harden lead alloys for bullets. Moreover, there are, by my research, no domestic producers of lead styphnate—the material of which bullet primers are made. Official market research for niche chemicals is hard to acquire. 

A Google search for “Congress and lead styphnate” comes up with results . . . from the 1990s. It is very possible there is not a single member of Congress today nor a single journalist at any major American newspaper who knows what lead styphnate is, for what it is used, or where to get it. 

During World War II, the United States fired 42 billion rounds of ammunition. Today, the Army’s lone major small arms ammunition production facility—the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant outside of Kansas City—produces just 2 billion rounds per year. In other words, it would take two decades at current production rates in order for the U.S. military to produce the ammunition we fired during World War II. 

As of last summer, the Biden Administration was trying to prevent the facility from building some kinds of commercially available ammunition. That decision would have led to some 500 highly skilled workers being laid off. At the very moment Joe Biden wants to ramp up ammunition production for Ukraine, his administration is trying to fire government contractor ammo makers in order to keep them from selling ammo on the civilian market. 

Clown, meet circus. 

Raytheon indicates that simply replacing current stocks of weapons used up in Ukraine will take the better part of a decade. The Washington Post reports: “In the first eight months after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Ukrainian forces burned through 13 years worth of Stinger antiaircraft missiles and five years of Javelin missiles, according to Raytheon, which produces both weapons.”

Artillery production is even worse. The Army maintains a single artillery round production facility in Scranton, Pennsylvania. That plant could produce, prior to the Ukraine war, 14,000 155mm howitzer shells a month. The Ukrainian forces on the front were burning through 7,700 rounds per day

During World War II, the Allies likely fired 11 million tons of artillery shells. The average 155mm shell weighs roughly 100 lbs. At current production rates, it would take the American government more than 1,300 years to reach that level of production.  

The story on the guns actually firing those shells is likewise depressing. The New York Times reports the United States sent 142 M777 howitzers to Ukraine. This represents roughly three regiments worth of artillery—equal to the Marine Corps’ entire active duty contingent. I served as a Marine artillery officer in the 11th Marine regiments from 2018 through 2020. One of my sources in the unit revealed to me that at the beginning of the war, the United States had sent all of the guns from two out of the three artillery battalions to the Ukraine: in essence crippling the 1st Marine Division’s artillery support. 

I am sure there are people with masters degrees from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies who could write a 10,000 word essay explaining why this is all genius. 

But even if one could justify gutting our own military in the name of a conflict half a world away, we cannot justify our utter inability to replace the weapons we sent abroad. The M777 howitzer is built by BAE Systems. The “B” in that title stands for “British.” America’s primary howitzer system is built entirely in England at BAE’s Barrow-in-Furness facility. Nor is there a way to buy more of them in the near future. The United States purchased some 1,000 of the guns and, at present, BAE is just finishing up production for India. Once that is completed, it will take three years for the facility to fire up again in order to produce more guns. Why the delay?

Well, the M777 howitzer is made from titanium. The largest single titanium producer in the world is the VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation . . . located in Russia. The world’s largest mined supplies are in China. The United States imports virtually all of the titanium it uses in its weapon systems because there is almost no domestic supply. 

The United States can barely keep its steel mills open. As of 2017 there were only 9 integrated steel plants in America. These are facilities that can turn raw iron ore directly into steel in one location. In December, one of these facilities, the U.S. Steel facility in Gary, Indiana, had to lay off 244 workers because a global influx of tin into the American market—a surge of 30 percent in 2022—caused that portion of the facility to become unprofitable. 

It isn’t much better when it comes to computer chips. Hellfire missiles use computer guidance chips made out of gallium arsenide. There are zero operating gallium mines anywhere in America. 

The list of critical materials and minerals that cannot be mined or processed in America on any kind of scale should shock the American people. Even more infuriating—all of this was a choice. 

The American economy simply is not built to actually manufacture critical goods. The libertarian economists can explain why. It comes down to comparative advantage. American manufacturing workers want to own their homes, receive good wages, and health care benefits. The American people also want clean water and air. That costs money. The Chinese don’t care about any of that. Chinese workers will do the same work (badly) for slave labor wages while their country is turned into a toxic wasteland. Therefore, it is better for Wall Street’s balance sheets if they can ship that work abroad. 

The green line goes up! GDP has never been higher!

There is a cost, of course, to all this outsourcing and grifting. Places like New York City and San Francisco get flooded with cash, yes, and white upper middle class Americans get to see phenomenal returns from the stock market as cost savings in labor and environmental costs are turned into fat dividends and rocket-fueled valuation growth. 

If you had invested $100 dollars in the S&P 500 in 1904, you would have just $200, adjusted for inflation by 1984. You would have doubled your real money in 80 years. Between 1984 and today, however, that amount would have grown to $1600—a multiple of eight

This growth isn’t driven simply by real production. America’s proportional ability to make critical infrastructure, as I’ve shown, has precipitously declined. Instead, these numbers testify, in large part, to Wall Street’s gutting of the American economy. Parasites in America’s blue states sucked dry the conservative heartland. Rural manufacturing communities—like Hillsdale, Michigan, where I live—are today in all-out decline. Empty factories dot the landscape. Once vibrant communities are now ravaged by drugs, obesity, and poverty. Hillsdale city today can barely pave the roads. Local tax revenues have never recovered to pre-2008 Great Recession levels. 

This hollowing out of the American economy was wonderful for both America’s corporate and ideological masters. Wall Street got profits and the liberals got to effectively liquidate their political enemies. Blue-collar white workers simply don’t care about trans rights and reparations for minorities. These largely white working-class communities want good jobs and benefits. They want nice middle-class lives. They like Trump. This is racist. 

At least, so I am told.

In his book, Fentanyl, Inc.: How Rogue Chemists Are Creating the Deadliest Wave of the Opioid Epidemic, Ben Westhoff includes a striking description of working-aged men shooting up opioids in the old Magic Chef Factory outside St. Louis. In other words, these unemployed would-be workers were shooting up Chinese made fentanyl in a place whose product, ovens, was now also made in China. There is no clearer depiction of our national industrial decline. 

In America now, the easiest access to wealth and power does not flow through small businesses or manufacturing facilities but through managerial white collar work. In order to get those kinds of jobs, a college education is required. The Left, therefore, gets to ensure that access to economic advancement necessitates that young Americans pass through their ideological seminaries.

America no longer has a free economy but a gatekeeping economy controlled by people who hate the old America. Good work to all the libertarians and conservatives in D.C. think tanks who helped make this happen! Enjoy your 401k payouts—assuming they don’t get expropriated in the name of anti-racism!

America today is no longer the arsenal of democracy but, instead, the arsenal of dumb-ocracy. Grifters and idiots with a time horizon calculated in quarterly profits instead of years, much less decades or centuries, now lead the country. The goal of the Biden crime family, like everyone else in D.C. today, is to shake down the country before the golden goose finally croaks for good. Hence the endemic and unpunished insider trading in Congress. 

The only feasible solution that includes a better life for ordinary Americans in the heartland is to utterly cleanse this ruling class from power. Don’t just drain the swamp—nuke it from orbit. Salt the ground afterward, just to make sure. 

America’s economic might is in freefall. Our military is a paper tiger. Law and order are bywords of a dead era. The path forward, unless something drastic happens, is clear—everything everywhere will slowly get worse until it all simply falls apart Brazil or South Africa style. 

There is a chance, perhaps, to avoid this crisis. We can start by getting out of the stupid war in Eastern Europe. Ukraine is not our problem. Putin is not Hitler. We need to begin raising tariff rates on foreign goods in an effort to try and build back our organic manufacturing capacity to some degree. We also need to drastically limit immigration in order to boost wages, lower housing prices, and boost social cohesion.

We need to ban critical race theory, affirmative action, and federal interference in hiring, housing, education, and schooling. We need to allow companies to IQ test employees in order to rid ourselves of the ubiquitous demand for college degrees and their concomitant student debt. 

It doesn’t have to be like this. American policymakers made choices to bring us to this point. It is the task of America’s future leaders to choose a way out. 

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About Josiah Lippincott

Josiah Lippincott is a Ph.D. student and a former U.S. Marine Corps officer. You can find him on Telegram at https://t.me/josiah_lippincott or subscribe to his Substack here.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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