That would be bad enough, of course, but worse is the fact that we're depleting our own military stockpiles at a time when we are not able to reproduce them quickly enough.
There are several reasons why providing assistance to Ukraine may be in our and Europe's interests -- but there are more reasons why we should sit out that conflict and let the chips fall where they may. Among the reasons for taking a neutral approach: America has no vital national security interests in Ukraine; the country has historically fallen within Moscow's sphere of influence; many ethnic Russians live there, too; and finally, because our own national security interests are not being threatened, there is no reason to provoke a fight with a well-armed nuclear power.
And yet, once again without the consent of the governed, our leaders have involved our country in a fight that does not concern us, and at grave risk to our own military preparedness.
According to multiple reports, the U.S. has been sending billions of dollars worth of supplies and weapons to Ukraine as forces there battle the Russian invaders. One of the most prolific weapons we are sending is highly effective Javelin anti-tank missiles, which reportedly have inflicted heavy losses on Russian armor. And while it's good to know our weapons are effective, what's not good is that the Pentagon is running out of them and worse, has no ability to rapidly replace the dwindling stockpiles.
The United States has supplied Ukraine with thousands of Javelins, the anti-tank missiles that have become the iconic weapon of the war, but the U.S. inventory is dwindling. The United States has probably given about one-third of its stock to Ukraine. Thus, the United States is approaching the point where it must reduce transfers to maintain sufficient stockpiles for its own war plans. Production of new missiles is slow, and it will take years to replenish stocks.
The Russians have numerous armored vehicles, but their supply of trained crews and level of morale are declining. Will Ukrainian anti-tank weapons inflict enough Russian combat losses to produce a battlefield stalemate before Ukraine runs out of its most effective anti-tank weapons?
The white paper noted that the Javelin is a long-range precision-guided anti-tank weapon that can be carried by a lone infantryman. They have become legendary and iconic in the Russo-Ukrainian War -- so much so that a picture of Mary Magdalene holding one of the weapons and being dubbed St. Javelin have emerged, along with a Javelin song. In fact, the missile is the most capable of its kind in NATO's arsenal; the U.S. has reportedly supplied Ukraine with around 7,000 of the weapons.
The missiles have allowed Ukraine's forces, most of which are light infantry, to beat back Russian mechanized assaults even though the latter possess greater firepower. That said, while the Javelin is the most capable and best-known anti-tank system in the world, it is not the most numerous. That goes to the NLAW, another anti-tank system that is precision-guided as well but not as sophisticated as the Javelin and with less range. Also, other nations have provided the Ukrainians with anti-armor systems including the German Panzerfaust 3 and Sweden's Carl Gustav.
The CSIS white paper goes on to note that while the U.S. Army buys around 1,000 Javelins per year, the lead time is 32 months, meaning missiles ordered this fiscal year won't be delivered until sometime in 2024. And while the Army is taking delivery this year of missiles ordered in 2020, the rate of expenditure by providing thousands to Ukraine is much higher than normal, so stocks are becoming depleted faster.
This war is between Russia and Ukraine, not NATO. The U.S. should sit it out; it's not worth putting our own national security at risk.