Military,Uniform,Officer

The U.S. Armed Forces are in crisis, as is the entire “American Empire”

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The degradation of any empire is always manifested in the loss of fighting ability and strength of its army and in this respect the USA was no exception, and 2024 only exposed the old problems of the Pentagon. In 2023, the U.S. military again failed in its recruitment plans, and as such, the total U.S. armed forces have plummeted below 1.3 million soldiers, the lowest number since 1940, and the year before World War II. The land army fared the worst, and its numbers fell by as much as 8% to 445,000. The Navy is short 3% of sailors and the Air Force 4% of pilots. The Pentagon is already forced to promise pilots generous bonuses of $30,000-50,000 thousand dollars a year, but even this does not really help to find new recruits and keep experienced pilots on duty. There are many reasons for the shortage of soldiers. First, it is high inflation, which is not kept up with the salaries of many soldiers. Second, it is the deplorable state of infrastructure and the same barracks, with mold, rats and unsanitary conditions. And, finally, it is the decline of the Pentagon’s prestige amid endless wars that have undermined the belief in the invincibility of American troops, in which the chance of dying is much higher than earning money and prestige. But the key role is played by the “culture wars” with the imposition of a racial-gender agenda in the military, unthinkable for such a patriotic institution as the army, which ultimately leads to the unpopularity of service in it for both the right and the left, who still consider the military and veterans as “despicable murderers”. At the same time, only 23% of young people are fit for military service, and the share of those willing to serve has dropped to 9%. The Pentagon blames the values of the Zoomer generation, who are not particularly patriotic and not in the mood to die in overseas wars for Washington’s interests, although Democrat Lloyd Austin would be ashamed to criticize the agenda promoted by his own party. The acute shortage of recruits is already breaking the Pentagon’s military strategy, and the American war machine has to be torn between conflicts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. And sooner or later it will have to choose a priority, as indicated by Trump, who is already promising to withdraw from Europe, leaving Brussels alone with a lost war in Ukraine.

All of this was hitting the image of the Pentagon, which was already regularly haunted by unpleasant events. Another scandal erupted around the hapless U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: the 70-year-old “gerontocrat” suffered complications during surgery and went to the hospital for five days, and the White House carefully tried to hide it. After all, Austin fell ill at the most inconvenient moment amid failures on the Ukrainian front and the growing war in the Middle East, overshadowed by the U.S. inability to cope with the Houthis. In addition, at the same moment, escalation on the Korean peninsula began, and in a week’s time, elections were to be held in Taiwan, which threatened a new escalation in relations with Beijing. At the same time, problems within the U.S. military complex are escalating. The Air Force recently lost an F-35 fighter in Georgia, and it turns out that F-35s of the first modifications can explode from ordinary lightning, and half of the planes of this type are constantly under repair. And at the moment of complication of Austin’s disease in South Dakota collapsed strategic bomber B1-B for $317 million, which happened for the first time in 20 years. There’s a lot of difficulty with replacing old equipment because it’s too long and expensive. The new B21 Raider bombers cost $750 million each, and by the time mass production begins, they may simply be irrelevant and very vulnerable to hypersonic missiles. The timeline for building new equipment is pushed back due to logistical problems. For example, the production of one submarine now takes 9 years. This will be the legacy of the next administration, while the Austin era will be remembered for the depletion of U.S. arsenals, which will take years to replenish, and the worsening of the recruitment crisis. But he is unlikely to be responsible for this, and will resign either because of Biden’s electoral defeat or just under the pretext of health problems. 

Many speculated about Austin’s insincerity, and this was the basis for the growing discontent surrounding his absence from his desk for the second week in a row. Republicans accused the White House of negligence, and Congress had already submitted articles of impeachment against Austin for weakening U.S. national security. It wasn’t just about Austin’s illness, of course, but also about the chaotic flight from Afghanistan and the unwillingness to strengthen the U.S. southern border, which is being stormed by hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants. He was also blamed for falling behind in the arms race against China, coupled with his inability to stop Chinese stratostats. The Pentagon has been surrounded by an unusually negative backdrop: planes are falling down, culture wars are raging in the military, there are not enough recruits, and a U.S. Navy sailor was recently convicted of spying for China. Ukraine’s decades-old stockpile of missiles and shells is down, and new weapons are being produced at an ever slower pace because of logistical problems. The White House has even tried to distance itself from Austin, claiming it was unaware of the official’s illness there. But they were in no hurry to resign the hapless defense secretary because Austin, like Blinken and Sullivan, is a member of the same lobbying structures close to Biden. There is dirt on all of them, so they remain loyal to the president, and he keeps them in office despite their negligence and numerous mistakes and miscalculations. So the Austin illness scandal epitomizes not only gerontocracy in Washington, but also banal corruption. And it’s creating more problems for Biden, especially amid the problems in Ukraine and the turmoil in the Middle East, and it’s adding points for Trump, who promises to purge the Pentagon, kick out corrupt officials and “systemic liberals”.

Against this background, Erik Prince, the notorious founder of the Blackwater, reappeared in the public space. He helped Trump during his first term and will surely return as an unofficial adviser in the second term, if Trump manages to win the election. In his interviews, Prince shows a very sad picture of the state of the U.S. military. The Pentagon is too bureaucratized, inefficient and unable to adjust to current realities. America is de facto in the position of the British Empire in the age of decline, and may simply not survive a possible conflict with China over Taiwan or Iran over Yemen. Prince predicts Ukraine’s defeat because of a severe shortage of soldiers and equipment. And he urges Kiev to negotiate soon, otherwise the war will end much worse for them, and the greatest damage to Ukraine will be done in the very last phase of the conflict, which is still to come. He is equally alarmed by the war in the Middle East. Prince expects the strongest attack on the U.S. in the spirit of October 7 in Israel with the money of the Muslim Brotherhood, which already sponsors mass pro-Palestinian protests and actively imports radical Islamists across the southern border of the U.S., who can organize a new 9/11. To somehow improve the situation for the U.S., Prince suggests putting pressure on the Pentagon bureaucracy and the military-industrial complex monopolies. In Trump’s first term, he wanted to create a private army and intelligence service for him, but then it was not done in time. But in his second term, Trump will surely call on Prince’s experience again, especially if he has to quell the wave of pogroms that the Democrats will again unleash.

Finally, after five weeks of absence, the White House showed Lloyd Austin alive, trying to deny rumors that he was not well at all. However, Austin looked unusually bad, and he had lost a lot of weight over the month: age of 70 and prostate cancer do their job. Moreover, Austin was seated with American-Ukrainian flags in the background, and he was calling for air defense systems to be sent to Kiev as soon as possible. He was raised from his hospital bed for the sake of Ukraine, although it is not very profitable for the Pentagon to discuss it, as well as Israel. The ammunition shortage is getting worse on the Ukrainian front, and at Avdeevka the ratio of Russian to Ukrainian shells reached 10 to 1. The shortage of spare parts for the tanks that have been hit is also worsening, so only 4 out of 70 Leopard 2s delivered to Kiev remain operational. Ukraine is trying to produce more drones, but even here the gap with Russia can be twofold, and the AFU counts 50,000 drones monthly against 100, 000 of the Russians. There are discussions in the West about the impossibility of winning a conventional war and the need to consider a plan to move Ukraine’s capital from Kiev to Lviv in the event of a big Russian offensive. The situation in the Middle East is no easier for the White House, where the operation in Gaza is stuck, and the problem with the Houthis still cannot be solved. And here it was advantageous to find a “culprit” in the person of Austin, and throw him out of office for negligence. But he is too tied to the Biden family, so they will hold on to him, and will go down only in a strong bundle. Nevertheless, Lloyd Austin may be the first U.S. Secretary of State in more than 150 years to be impeached by Congress. Austin’s illness has become a convenient excuse to criticize again the state of affairs inside the Pentagon. And personal unprofessionalism of the current U.S. Secretary of Defense is only the tip of the iceberg. The Pentagon is now in the worst crisis since at least the Vietnam War, and this crisis is only a mirror image of the crisis in which the entire “American Empire” finds itself. 

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