Vance: ‘We Don’t Make Enough Munitions to Support a War in Eastern Europe, a War in the Middle East, and Potentially a Contingency in East Asia’

U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), told the Munich Security Conference this weekend that the U.S. should “pivot” its foreign policy to focus more on East Asia, and that the U.S. doesn’t make enough weapons to continue to support the war in Ukraine.

On the question of European security, I think there’s a fundamental issue here that Europe really has to wake up to. And I offer this in the spirit of friendship, not in the spirit of criticism, because, no, I don’t think that we should pull out of NATO, and no, I don’t think that we should abandon Europe. But yes, I think that we should pivot.

“The United States has to focus more on East Asia,” said Vance. “That is going to be the future of American foreign policy for the next 40 years, and Europe has to wake up to that fact.”

Vance then echoed remarks he made last week during U.S. Senate floor speech last week by saying the U.S. is depleting our missiles faster than we can replenish them.  

Fundamentally the limiting factors for American support of Ukraine, it’s not money, it’s munitions.

“America, and this is true, by the way, of Europe too, we don’t make enough munitions to support a war in Eastern Europe, a war in the Middle East, and potentially a contingency in East Asia,” said Vance. “So the United States is fundamentally limited.”

He gave as an example the fact that it takes a year to for the U.S. to make the amount of PAC-3 (Patriot) interceptor missiles that Ukraine depletes in one month. Vance said those missiles are now on a “five year back order.” 

Vance also said the U.S. is talking about “ramping up” production of artillery to 100,000 a month by 2025, while Russians are already making almost 500,000 a month right now. 

He then said Europe needs to “step up” in Europe.

The problem with Europe is that it doesn’t provide enough of a deterrence on its own because it hasn’t taken the initiative in its own security. I think that the American security blanket has allowed European security to atrophy.

“And again, the point is not we want to abandon Europe,” he said. “The point is we need to focus as a country on East Asia, and we need our European allies to step up in Europe.”

He said the key for this to happen is for Europe to stop “deindustrializing” and to start increasing its manufacturing base.

“Look at the number of people working in manufacturing in Germany now versus ten years ago,” said Vance. “Look at the critical raw materials produced in Germany now versus ten years ago. The energy dependence now versus 10 or 20 years ago. We have got to stop deindustrializing.”

“We want Europe to be successful, but Europe has got to take a bigger role in its own security. You can’t do that without industry.”

Established in 1963, the Munich Security Conference, is an annual forum for debates on international security policy. Held in Munich, Germany, it gathers heads of state, defense ministers, senior government officials, and leaders from international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to discuss current and future security challenges.

Vance, 38, was first elected to serve Ohio in the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 2022 General Election. He defeated U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), winning 53% to Ryan’s 47%.

Vance served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007, graduated from Ohio State University, and received a J.D. from Yale University Law School.

He also is the author of the the 2016 book, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” which reached The New York Times Bestseller list in 2016 and 2017.

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