CD253: Escalation of War
Release Date: 06/06/2022
After multiple formula-related infant deaths were reported to the FDA in February, samples from Abbott Laboratories' Sturgis, Michigan baby formula production facility tested positive for cronobacter, triggering a recall and a subsequent formula shortage. In this episode, Jen uncovers monopoly and neglect in the baby formula production industry, lack of oversight by the FDA, and the United States' refusal to adopt the World Health Organization's International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via ...info_outline CD253: Escalation of War
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Congress has signed four laws that send enormous amounts of money and weapons to Ukraine, attempting to punish Russia for President Putin’s invasion. In this episode, we examine these laws to find out where our money will actually go and attempt to understand the shifting goals of the Biden administration. The big picture, as it’s being explained to Congress, differs from what we’re being sold. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send...info_outline CD252: Women’s Health Protection Act
The Women’s Health Protection Act is a bill written by Democrats that would guarantee access to abortion services in the United States. While this bill is unlikely to become law, learning what exactly the Democrats are proposing is instructive, as many of us will be voting with abortion in mind later this year. Now that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn previous decisions that guaranteed access to abortion services for the past 50 years, what do Democrats hope to do in response? Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support...info_outline CD251: BIF: Driving Dangers Sustained
The recently signed infrastructure law continues the United States’ over-reliance on the most dangerous way to travel: driving a vehicle. Did Congress make sufficient safety improvements to decrease the dangers posed by driving in the United States? This episode will examine all vehicle-related safety provisions to help you weigh your own transportation options. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to:...info_outline CD250: Congress Saves the Postal Service
Congress did a good thing! In this encouraging episode, learn about a new law that saved the Postal Service from financial doom without spending one extra penny in taxpayer money. Then, listen to the highlights from a recent hearing about the electrification of the Postal Service’s vehicle fleet. Louis DeJoy may not have sabotaged the 2020 election, but is he sabotaging the effort to transition the Postal Service away from fossil fuels? Executive Producer: Stephen McMahan Executive Producer: Jose Huerta Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via ...info_outline CD249: A Few Good Laws
We have some new laws! In this episode, a brief overview of the government funding law that (finally) funds the government for 2022 and provides money and weapons to Ukraine, a new law that protects drinking water, a new law that slightly reduces the corruption of Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board, and a new law that guarantees you rights that corporate contracts have been taking away. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected]info_outline CD248: Understanding the Enemy
Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched an illegal, unjustified war against Ukraine and Putin himself is the only person who can stop the war immediately. In this episode, we seek to understand why President Putin has launched this horrific war in order to judge our country’s ability to bring the war to a quicker end. Executive Producer: Alex Bilotta Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments to:...info_outline CD247: BIF: The Growth of US Railroads
The infrastructure law provides the most significant investment in passenger rail in U.S. history, but substantial hurdles - including a powerful cartel - stand firmly in the way of a real national network. In this episode, learn the ways the infrastructure law paves the way for a better future for passenger rail along with the significant obstacles that it failed to address. Please Support Congressional Dish – Quick Links Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to: [email protected] Send Venmo payments...info_outline CD246: BIF: Appalachian Chemical Storage
The Infrastructure Law that was signed in late 2021 funds the first phase of a huge infrastructure project called the Appalachian Storage Hub, which would consist of large gas processing plants, underground chemical storage facilities, and pipeline networks to connect them all together. In this episode, get the details - as many as are known - about the plans for this possible project. Is this a good idea for our country? Please Support Congressional Dish Contribute monthly or a lump sum via Support Congressional Dish via (donations per episode) Send Zelle payments to:...info_outline CD245: New Year, Same Congress
Much media attention has been rightfully aimed at the recent failures of Congress, but there was, in fact, lawmaking happening at the end of 2021. In this episode, learn about some laws that didn't get much attention, including a law that solves a real problem and a few laws designed to economically punish China. We also take a look at what is happening in Congress as we start 2022 and look for opportunities for effective activism as we enter this Congressional election year.info_outline
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Recommended Congressional Dish Content
Ukraine and Russia
World Trade System
Shane Harris. May 24, 2022. “U.S. intelligence document shows Russian naval blockade of Ukraine.” The Washington Post.
Jim Garamone. Jun 1, 2022. “Russia Forcing Changes to NATO Strategic Concepts.” U.S. Department of Defense News.
Matthew Lee. May 27, 2022. “US: Turkey’s NATO issues with Sweden, Finland will be fixed.” AP News.
Ted Kemp. May 19, 2022. “Two maps show NATO’s growth — and Russia’s isolation — since 1990.” CNBC.
U.S. Involvement in Ukraine
Helene Cooper, Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes. May 5, 2022. “U.S. Intelligence Helped Ukraine Strike Russian Flagship, Officials Say.” The New York Times.
Julian E. Barnes, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt. May 4, 2022. “U.S. Intelligence Is Helping Ukraine Kill Russian Generals, Officials Say.” The New York Times.
Private Security Contractors
Christopher Caldwell. May 31, 2022. “The War in Ukraine May Be Impossible to Stop. And the U.S. Deserves Much of the Blame.” The New York Times.
Joaquin Sapien and Joshua Kaplan. May 27, 2022. “How the U.S. Has Struggled to Stop the Growth of a Shadowy Russian Private Army.” ProPublica.
H.R. 7691 Background
How It Passed
Glenn Greenwald. May 13, 2022. “The Bizarre, Unanimous Dem Support for the $40b War Package to Raytheon and CIA: ‘For Ukraine.’” Glenn Greenwald on Substack.
Catie Edmondson and Emily Cochrane. May 10, 2022. “House Passes $40 Billion More in Ukraine Aid, With Few Questions Asked.” The New York Times.
Glenn Greenwald and Anthony Tobin. May 24, 2022. “Twenty-Two House Republicans Demand Accountability on Biden's $40b War Spending.” Glenn Greenwald on Substack.
Amy Cheng and Eugene Scott. May 13, 2022. “Rand Paul, lone Senate holdout, delays vote on Ukraine aid to next week.” The Washington Post.
Morgan Watkins. May 13, 2022. “Sen. Rand Paul stalls $40 billion in aid for Ukraine, breaking with Mitch McConnell USA Today.
Stephen Semler. May 26, 2022. “The Ukraine Aid Bill Is a Massive Windfall for US Military Contractors.” Jacobin.
Biden Signs in South Korea
Kate Sullivan. May 20, 2022. “Flying the Ukraine aid bill to South Korea for Biden's signature isn't unheard of. It also may not be totally necessary.” CNN.
How Much Money, and Where Will It Go?
Stephen Semler. May 23, 2022. “A breakdown of the Ukraine aid bill.” Speaking Security on Substack.
“CBO Estimate for H.R. 7691, Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022, as Passed by the House of Representatives on May 10, 2022.” May 11 2022. Congressional Budget Office.
Christina Arabia, Andrew Bowen, and Cory Welt. Updated Apr 29, 2022. “U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine.” [IF12040] Congressional Research Service.
“22 U.S. Code § 2346 - Authority.” Legal Information Institute, Cornell School of Law.
Representatives’ Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Stocks
Kimberly Leonard. May 19, 2022. “20 members of Congress personally invest in top weapons contractors that'll profit from the just-passed $40 billion Ukraine aid package.” Insider.
Kimberly Leonard. Mar 21, 2022. “GOP Rep. John Rutherford of Florida bought Raytheon stock the same day Russia invaded Ukraine.” Insider.
Marjorie Taylor Green [@RepMTG]. Feb 24, 2022. “War is big business to our leaders.” Twitter.
“Florida’s 4th Congressional District.” GovTrack.
“Rules Based Order”
Anthony Dworkin. Sep 8, 2020. “Why America is facing off against the International Criminal Court.”
“History of the multilateral trading system.” *The World Trade Organization
“Facts: Global Inequality” Inequality.org
“Timeline: Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin.” Apr 23, 2007. NPR.
Kenneth Rapoza. Mar 20, 2015. One Year After Russia Annexed Crimea, Locals Prefer Moscow To Kiev Forbes.
“Crimea exit poll: About 93% back Russia union. March 16, 2014. BBC.
Larry Elliott. Jun 2, 2022. “Russia is winning the economic war - and Putin is no closer to withdrawing troops. The Guardian.
Nigel Gould-Davies. May 12, 2022. “We Must Make Sure Russia Finishes This War in a Worse Position Than Before” The New York Times.
Jake Johnson. Jun 1, 2022. “'Slippery Slope... Just Got a Lot Steeper': US to Send Ukraine Advanced Missiles as Russia Holds Nuke Drills.” Common Dreams.
C. Todd Lopez. Jun 1, 2022. “Advanced Rocket Launcher System Heads to Ukraine.” U.S. Department of Defense News.
Greg Norman. Jun 1, 2022. “Russia stages nuclear drills after US announces rockets to Ukraine.” Fox News.
Christian Esch et al. May 30, 2022. “What's Next for Ukraine? The West Tries to Figure Out What Peace Might Look Like.” Spiegel International. See Image.
Alastair Gale. May 24, 2022. “China and Russia Sent Bombers Near Japan as Biden Visited Tokyo.” The Wall Street Journal.
Mike Stone. Mar 11, 2022. “Exclusive: Pentagon revives team to speed arms to Ukraine and allies, sources say.” Reuters.
Secretary Austin and the Pentagon
Jim Garamone. May 20, 2022. “Austin to Host Second Ukraine Contact Group Meeting Monday.” U.S. Department of Defense News.
Natasha Bertrand et al. Apr 26, 2022. “Austin’s assertion that US wants to ‘weaken’ Russia underlines Biden strategy shift.” CNN.
David Sanger. Apr 25, 2022. “Behind Austin’s Call for a ‘Weakened’ Russia, Hints of a Shift.” The New York Times.
Mike Stone. Apr 12, 2022. “Pentagon asks top 8 U.S. weapons makers to meet on Ukraine -sources.” Reuters.
Glenn Greenwald. Dec 8, 2020. “Biden's Choice For Pentagon Chief Further Erodes a Key U.S. Norm: Civilian Control.” Glenn Greenwald on Substack.
Democrats Still All In
Marc Santora. May 1, 2022. “Pelosi and Democratic lawmakers vow the U.S. will stand with Ukraine. The New York Times.
RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service. May 1, 2022. “Civilians Evacuated From Mariupol; U.S. House Speaker Pelosi Visits Kyiv.” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“Ukraine war: Joe Biden calls for removal of Vladimir Putin in angry speech.” Mar 26, 2022. Sky News.
Passed by Voice Vote in the Senate
Senate Vote: 100-0 (amended the original House bill)
House debate 1 (on original version)
House debate 2 (final version)
May 23, 2022
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): Speaking about Ukraine, first what Putin, Putin’s war on Ukraine and Ukraine's determination, resolving the sacrifices they've made for the cause of freedom has united the whole world, that it's united, US Senate and Congress, I think like nothing I've seen in my lifetime. I think we're totally committed to supporting Ukraine, in every way possible, as long as we have the rest of NATO and the free world helping. I think we're all in this together. And I am totally committed as one person to seeing Ukraine to the end with a win, not basically resolving in some type of a treaty. I don't think that is where we are and where we should be. Reporter: Can I just follow up and ask you what you mean by a win for Ukraine? ** Sen. Joe Manchin:** I mean, basically moving Putin back to Russia and hopefully getting rid of Putin.
May 19, 2022
Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation
Charles Edel, Ph.D., Australia Chair and Senior Adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Bonny Lin, Ph.D., Director, China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Tanvi Madan, Ph.D.Director, The India Project, Brookings Institution
Dan Blumenthal, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Director of Asian Studies, American Enterprise Institute
- 6:57 Tanvi Madan: One implication that is already evident, most visibly in Sri Lanka, is the adverse economic impact. The rise in commodity prices in particular has led to fiscal food and energy security concerns and these, in turn, could have political implications and could create a strategic vacuum.
- 7:15 Tanvi Madan: A separate and longer term economic impact of the crisis could be renewed goals, perhaps especially in India, for self reliance and building resilience not just against Chinese pressure, but also against Western sanctions.
- 7:28 Tanvi Madan: The second potential implication of the Russia-Ukraine war could be that Beijing might seek to take advantage in the Indo-Pacific while the world's focus is on Europe, between the Taiwan or the East or South China Sea contingencies. The contingency that would have the most direct impact in South Asia would be further action by the PLA at the China-India boundary, or at the Bhutan-China boundary that could draw in India. This potential for Sino-Indian crisis escalation has indeed shaped Delhi's response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Despite its recent diversification efforts, the Indian military continues to be dependent, if not over dependent, on Russia for supplies and spare parts for crucial frontline equipment. India has also been concerned about moving Moscow away from neutrality towards taking China's side. Nonetheless, there is simultaneously concern that Russia's war with Ukraine might, in any case, make Moscow more beholden to Beijing and also less able to supply India, and that will have implications for India's military readiness.
- 10:10 Tanvi Madan: The fourth implication in South Asia could flow from the war's effect on the Russia-China relationship flows. The Sino-Russian ties in recent years have benefited Pakistan. However, they have been of great concern to India. If China-Russia relations deepened further, it could lead to increased Indian concern about Russian reliability. And a Dheli that is concerned about Moscow's ability and willingness to supply India militarily or supported in international forums will seek alternative partners and suppliers a potential opportunity for the US as well as its allies and partners.
- 18:15 Bonny Lin: China has shifted its position on the Ukraine conflict to be less fully pro Russia. Xi Jinping has expressed that he is deeply grieved by the outbreak of war. China has engaged in diplomacy, called for a ceasefire, proposed a six point humanitarian initiative, and provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine. China's position on Ukraine, however, is far from neutral. China has not condemned Russia or called its aggression an evasion. Xi has yet to speak to President Zelenskyy. There is no evidence that China has sought to pressure Russia in any way or form. China has amplified Russian disinformation and pushed back against Western sanctions. To date, Beijing has not provided direct military support to Russia and has not engaged in systemic efforts to help Russia evade sanctions. However, China's ambassador to Russia has encouraged Chinese companies to quote "fill the void in the Russian market."
- 19:14 Bonny Lin: The Ukraine crisis has reinforced China's view that US military expansion could provoke conflict in the Indo-Pacific. Chinese interlocutors have voiced concern that the United States and NATO are fighting Russia today, but might fight China next. China views NATO expansion as one of the key causes of the Korean conflict and sees parallels between NATO activities in Europe and US efforts in the Indo-Pacific. Beijing is worried that increasing US and ally support for Taiwan and other regional allies and partners elevates the risk of US-China military confrontation. This pessimistic assessment is why Beijing will continue to stand by Russia as a close strategic partner.
- 19:56 Bonny Lin: The Ukraine crisis has reinforced and strengthened China's desire to be more self reliant. China is investing more to ensure the security of food, energy, and raw materials. Beijing is also seeking more resilient industrial supply chains, as well as PRC-led systems, including alternatives to Swift. At the same time, Beijing is likely to further cultivate dependencies on China, such that any potential Western led sanctions on China or international-community-led sanctions on China in the future will be painful to the West and difficult to sustain.
- 21:15 Bonny Lin: China has observed that Russia put its nuclear and strategic forces on high alert and NATO did not send conventional forces to Ukraine. This is leading China to question its nuclear policy and posture.
- 21:57 Bonny Lin: As Beijing watches the Western and particularly G7-led unity among advanced democracies, it is also seeing that a number of countries in the developing world are not joining in on the sanctions. As a result, Beijing has tried to increase its influence and in many ways building on Russian influence in developing regions. And Beijing is likely to try to get all that influence moving forward.
- 24:24 Dan Blumenthal: China took the opportunity of Russia's invasion on February 4 to lay out a document that criticizes, very specifically, almost all aspects of United States global policy. Very specifically, including Oculus for NATO enlargement to Oculus to the Indo Pacific strategy. It got Russia to sign up to Xi Jinping's theory that we're in a new era of geopolitics that will replace US leadership, that US leadership is faulty and it's dividing the world into blocks such as NATO, that NATO expansion is the problem, that Indo-Pacific strategy is the same thing as NATO expansion.
- 25:45 Dan Blumenthal: We should take very seriously what they say, particularly in Chinese, and what they're saying is very clearly pro-Russia and very clear, specific, searing critiques of the US-led world order.
- 26:47 Dan Blumenthal: And frankly, while the West is unified, and the US and the West and some of our Asian allies are unified, most of the rest of the world is not with us on this issue of China and Russia being these authoritarian, revisionist great powers, and that's a real problem.
May 18, 2022
House Committee on Foreign Affairs: Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism
Dr. Hanna Notte, Senior Research Associate, Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
Dr. Frederic Wehrey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Caitlin Welsh, Director of the Global Food Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Grant Rumley, Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
12:55 Hanna Notte: First, Moscow's military presence in Syria has given it a buffer zone on its southern flank to counter perceived threats from within the region, but also to deter NATO outside the European theater. And second, Russia has turned to the region to diversify its economic relations with a focus on arms sales, civilian nuclear exports and wheat supplies. And in building influence, Russia has largely followed what I call a low cost high disruption approach, also using hybrid tactics such as private military companies and disinformation. Now, these Russian interests in the region will not fundamentally change with the invasion of Ukraine. Today, Russia's regional diplomacy remains highly active, aimed at offsetting the impact of Western sanctions and demonstrating that Moscow is not isolated internationally.
14:09 Hanna Notte: Starting with arms control and Non-Proliferation, though Moscow seemed intent on spoiling negotiations to restore the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] in early March. It subsequently dropped demands for written guarantees that its cooperation with Iran would not be hindered by sanctions imposed over Ukraine. But still, I think the geopolitical situation might make Moscow less willing to help finalize a nuclear deal. As in the past, Russia is also unlikely to support any US efforts to curb Iran's use of missiles and proxies in the region, because essentially, Iran's regional strategy pins down us resources while elevating Russia as a regional mediator, which serves Russian interests well.
15:17 Hanna Notte: Just a few words on Syria. Security Council resolution 2585 on the provision of humanitarian aid to northwest Syria is up for renewal in July. Now, Rationally speaking, the Kremlin should cooperate to avoid a worsening of serious food crisis, especially if an end game in Ukraine remains out of reach. But considering the current level of tensions between Russia and the West, I think the United States should be prepared for a Russian Security Council veto regardless, alongside continued Russian stalling on the Syrian constitutional committee. Moscow has no serious interest in seeing the committee advance. It will instead try to foster a Gulf Arab counterweight to Iran in Syria through normalization, especially for the contingency that Russia may need to scale back its own presence in Syria due to Ukraine.
16:14 Hanna Notte: First, unfortunately I think there's a widespread perception that the Ukraine war is not their war, that it's a Great Power NATO-Russia war, partially fueled by NATO and US actions visa vis Russia.
16:27 Hanna Notte: Second, there are accusations of Western double standards. The military support to Kyiv, the reception of Ukrainian refugees, these are rightly or wrongly viewed as proof that the West cares significantly more about conflict in Europe's neighborhood than those in the Middle East.
16:42 Hanna Notte: Third, regional elites worry about US conventional security guarantees. They fear that the threats posed by Russia and China will accelerate a decline in US power in the Middle East. And they also fear that the US will have limited bandwidth to confront Iran's missile and proxy activities. And with those fears, they feel they cannot afford to put all their eggs into the US basket.
17:07 Hanna Notte: And then finally, each regional state has very distinct business and security interests with Russia. As a result, and I'll end here, I think us opportunities to get regional states to turn against Russia are circumscribed. loosening these ties that states have been building with Russia will require a heavy lift.
18:57 Frederic Wehrey: This engagement is largely opportunistic and ad hoc. It seizes on instability and power vacuums and exploits the insecurities of US partners in the region about the reliability of US support, and their displeasure with the conditionality that the US sometimes attaches to its arms sales. Russian arms deliveries, in contrast, are faster and free from restrictions related to human rights. But Russia cannot provide the security guarantees that many Arab states have depended on from the United States.
19:29 Frederic Wehrey: Now, in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is trying to reap dividends from its investment in the region, call in favors, and capitalize on local ambivalence and hostility to the United States, both from states and from Arab publics. America's Arab security partners have differed on joining the Western condemnation of Russian aggression, and some of refuse to join efforts to isolate Russia economically.
20:31 Frederic Wehrey: Russia's disastrous war in Ukraine is tarnishing its reputation as an arms supplier in the Middle East. Russian weapons have been shown to be flawed in combat and often fatally. So, Battlefield expenditures and attrition have whittled away Russia's inventory, especially precision munitions, and sanctions have eroded its defense industrial base, especially electronic components. As a result, Russia won't be able to fulfill its existing commitments, and potential buyers will be increasingly dissuaded from turning to Russia. This shortfall could be modestly exploited by China, which possesses large quantities of Russian made arms and spare parts, which you could use to keep existing inventories in the region up and running. It could also intensify its efforts to sell its own advanced weaponry like drones.
23:50 Caitlin Welsh: The war has reduced supplies and increased prices of foods exported from Ukraine and Russia, namely wheat, maize and sunflower oil, driven up demand for substitute products and reduced fertilizer exports from the Black Sea. Today's high cost of energy puts further pressure on food and fertilizer prices. Most vulnerable to the impact of these price spikes are countries for whom wheat is a major source of calories that rely on imports to meet their food security needs, and that source a significant proportion of their imports from Ukraine and Russia.
24:38 Caitlin Welsh: Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat, sourcing over 70% of its wheat from the Black Sea.
25:42 Caitlin Welsh: The Russian Ukraine war is limiting access to wheat for Lebanon, already in one of the worst economic crises in the world. Lebanon has not recorded economic growth since 2017 and food price inflation inflation reached 400% in December 2021. Lebanon procures approximately 75% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
28:48 Grant Rumley: Russia is one of the few countries in the world to maintain a relatively positive diplomatic standing with nearly every country in the Middle East. It does so through a combination of an active military presence, high level diplomatic engagement, and a concerted effort to position itself as a viable source of arms, should countries seek non-US material.
29:08 Grant Rumley: Russia's military presence in the region is well documented by Russian MOD statements. Russia has deployed over 60,000 troops to Syria since intervening in 2015. From its two bases in Syria, Hmeimim and Tartous, Russia is able to project power into the eastern Mediterranean, influence the course of the Syrian civil war, and intervene in countries like Libya.
29:47 Grant Rumley: Russia's invasion of Ukraine, however, threatens Russia standing in the region. Already reports indicate Russia has begun withdrawing some troops and mercenaries from the region to support its invasion of Ukraine. While we can expect these reports to continue if the war continues to go poorly for Russia, I'm skeptical of a full Russian withdrawal, and instead expect Russia to continue to consolidate its forces until it's left with a skeleton presence at Hmeimim and Tartous, its most strategic assets in the region.
30:26 Grant Rumley: On arms sales, the Russian defense industry, which has struggled to produce key platforms following sanctions initially placed after its 2014 invasion of Ukraine, will likely have to prioritize replenishing the Russian military over exporting. Further, customers of Russian arms may struggle with the resources to maintain and sustain the material in their inventory. Still, so long as Russia is able to make platforms, there will likely always be potential customers of Russian arms.
41:25 Grant Rumley: I definitely think customers of Russian arms are going to have several hurdles going forward, not only with simply maintaining and sustaining what they've already purchased, but in some of the basic logistics, even the payment process. Russian bank complained last month that it wasn't able to process close to a billion dollars in payments from India and Egypt over arms sales. I think countries that purchase Russian arms will also now have to consider the potential that they may incur secondary sanctions, in addition to running afoul of CAATSA [Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act-Related Sanctions]. I think from from our standpoint, there are many ways that we can amend our security cooperation approach. The Middle East, I think is a key theater for the future of great power competition, not only have we been competing with Russia in terms of arms sales there, but China increasingly has sold armed drones to the region. They've sold it to traditional partners, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE. And what they're doing is is oftentimes what we're not willing to do, our partners in the region seek co-production, they seek technology sharing. China and Russia are willing to work together to build these advanced platforms, Russia and the UAE inked an agreement several years ago to produce a fifth generation fighter. Nothing's come of that yet. China and Saudi Arabia, however, signed an agreement a couple of months ago to jointly produce armed drones in Saudi Arabia. And so I think the US may want to think creatively in terms of both what we sell, how we sell it, and what we're doing to make this more of a relationship and something beyond a strict transaction.
43:39 Grant Rumley: Their presence in Syria has evolved from a modest airstrip in 2015, to a base at Hmeimim that by open source reporting can serve as a logistics hub, a medical hub, it has the runways to host Russia's most advanced bombers. There was reports before Ukraine that Russia was deploying two 22 bombers there and hypersonic missiles. Their facility at Tartous, likewise. Their ability to stage naval assets there has expanded to they can now stage up to 11 ships there. So it has grown from from a rather modest beginning to something much more challenging from a US standpoint. In terms of what we can we can do, I think we can continue to support Ukraine and the defense of Ukraine, and the longer that Russia is bogged down in Ukraine, the harder it will be for Russia's military to extend and maintain its presence in the Middle East.
1:01:45 Grant Rumley: I think the US has several partners in the middle of major Russian arms purchases that we can, like Turkey and the S 400, that has requested the F 16, or Egypt and Sukhoi Su-35, that has requested the F 15. I'm not saying we have to make a deal right now for that, but I think it's clear that these countries are going to have gaps in their capabilities where they had planned on having Russian platforms to complement, and we can work with our partners and work with our own defense industry and see if there's ways in which we can provide off ramps for them to gradually disinvest these Russian platforms.
1:03:00 Frederic Wehrey: When countries in the in the region buy US arms, they believe they're buying much more than the capability, the hardware, that they're purchasing an insurance policy. I think especially for states in the Gulf, there's a fundamental sense of insecurity. These are states that face Iran, but they're also autocrats. They're insecure because of their political systems. They face dissent from within. We saw that with Egypt. So they're purchasing a whole stream of US assurances -- they believe they are.
1:06:00 Grant Rumley: The issue of of co-production is one means to address a common complaint, which is buying from America takes too long. That its too complicated, that if we get in line to buy something from the US, we're going to have to wait years to get it. A good example is the F 16. There are over 20 countries in the world that fly the F 16. We currently -- Lockheed Martin builds it out of one facility. That facility, if you get in line today, you're probably not getting the F 16 for five years from when you sign on the dotted line for it. In the 70s and 80s, we co-produced the F 16 with three other European countries and we were able to get them off the line faster. The initial order at those facilities was for 1000 F 16s. The initial order for the F 16 plant in South Carolina was for 90 F 16s for Taiwan and Morocco. And so from an industry standpoint, it's a question of scale. And so they're not able to ramp up the production because while the demand may get closer to 1000 over time, it's at 128. Last I checked, it's not there yet. And so I think we can use foreign military financing, longer security cooperation planning, working with our partners on multi-year acquisition timetables to then also communicate and send a signal to the defense industry that these are orders for upgrades, for new kits that are going to come down the road. You can start to plan around that and potentially address some of these production lags.
1:17:52 Grant Rumley: China has a lot of legacy Russian platforms, and will likely be a leading candidate to transfer some of these platforms to countries that had purchased Russian arms in the past and may be seeking maintenance and sustainment for them. I think China's already active in the Middle East, it's already flooding the market with armed drones. It's already looking to market other platforms as well. It's sold air defense systems to Serbia. It's looking to advance its arm sales. And so if if we aren't going to be the supplier, China is going to step in.
1:18:57 Caitlin Welsh: USDA has projected that 35% of the current wheat crop from Ukraine will not be harvested this year. So their exports are curtailed, at the same time Russia's exports are continuing. Russia has been exempted. Russia's agricultural exports and fertilizer has been exempted from sanctions for the United States, EU and other countries. So Russia continues to export. In fact, USDA is estimating that Russia's exports are increasing at this time. And I'm also seeing open source reporting of Russia stealing grain from Ukraine, relabeling it, and exporting it at a premium to countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
May 12, 2022 NBC News
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): My oath of office is to the US Constitution, not to any foreign nation. And no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America. We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy. This bill under consideration would spend $40 billion. This is the second spending bill for Ukraine in two months. And this bill is three times larger than the first. Our military aid to Ukraine is nothing new, though. Since 2014, the United States has provided more than $6 billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine, in addition to the $14 billion Congress authorized just a month ago. If this bill passes, the US will have authorized roughly $60 billion in total spending for Ukraine
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): The cost of this package we are voting on today is more than the US spent during the first year of the US conflict in Afghanistan. Congress authorized force, and the President sent troops into the conflict. The same cannot be said of Ukraine. This proposal towers over domestic priorities as well. The massive package of $60 billion to Ukraine dwarfs the $6 million spent on cancer research annually. $60 billion is more than the amount that government collects in gas taxes each year to build roads and bridges. The $60 billion to Ukraine could fund substantial portions or entire large Cabinet departments. The $60 billion nearly equals the entire State Department budget. The 60 billion exceeds the budget for the Department of Homeland Security and for the Department of Energy. And Congress just wants to keep on spending and spending.
May 12, 2022 Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Jessica Lewis, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
Erin McKee, Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia, U.S. Agency for International Development
Karen Donfried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Beth Van Schaack, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA): Are we making it very clear to Russia that we do not want to pose an existential threat to them, that our only goal is to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine? Karen Donfried: We are making it very clear to Russia that this is not a conflict between Russia and the United States. We are not going to engage directly in this war. President Biden has been explicit in saying we are not sending US troops to fight in this war. So I do believe we have made that clear. Our goal here is to end a war not to enlarge it.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): As you all are waking up every morning, I know with the thought in mind that America's role here is to help Ukraine win and I want to talk a little about how we define victory. When Secretary Austin said after meeting with President Zelenskyy, that we can win this war against Russia -- this happened a few weeks ago -- I thought that was positive. On Monday, the foreign minister of Ukraine, who all of us have had a chance to visit with said, of course, the victory for us in this war will be a liberation of the rest of the territory. So Assistant Secretary Donfried, first, just a yes or no. Do you believe Ukraine can win this war? Karen Donfried: Yes. Sen. Rob Portman: And how would you define victory? Would you define victory as requiring the return of all Ukraine sovereign territory, including that that the Russians seized in 2014? Karen Donfried: Well, Senator Portman, thank you for that question. And thank you for your engagement on these issues. Your question very much relates to where Chairman Menendez began, which is, are we in a position of believing that it is Ukraine that should be defining what winning means? And I agreed with Chairman Menendez's statement on that, and that is where the administration is. We believe Ukraine should define what victory means. And our policy is trying to ensure Ukraine success, both by — Sen. Rob Portman: So the administration's official position on victory is getting Crimea back and getting the Donetsk and Luhansk region back as well. Karen Donfried: Again, I believe that is for the Ukrainians to define.
Karen Donfried: Against this threat to regional security, global stability, and our shared values, we are supporting freedom, democracy, and the rules based order that make our own security and prosperity and that of the world possible.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): I believe we must also think about reconstruction efforts in Ukraine, the tools and ongoing governance and economic reforms, specifically in the judicial space, that will facilitate rebuilding critical Ukrainian sectors and attracting foreign investment.
May 11, 2022
House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense held a budget hearing on the Department of Defense.
Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Defense
Michael J. McCord, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer
General Mark A. Milley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
21:40 General Mark Milley: Alongside our allies and partners, at any given time approximately 400,000 of us are currently standing watch in 155 countries and conducting operations every day to keep Americans safe.
21:56 General Mark Milley: Currently we are supporting our European allies and guarding NATO's eastern flank, in the face of the unnecessary war of aggression by Russia, against the people of Ukraine, and the assault on the democratic institutions and the rules based international order that have prevented great power war for the last 78 years since the end of World War Two. We are now facing two global powers, China and Russia, each with significant military capabilities, both who intend to fundamentally change the current rules based order.
May 9, 2022
- Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC): If Putin still standing after all this then the world is going to be a very dark place China's going to get the wrong signal and we'll have a mess on our hands in Europe for decades to come so let's take out Putin by helping Ukraine
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary ofDefense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks to Traveling Press
April 25, 2022
March 26, 2022
November 4, 2015
House Foreign Affairs Committee
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