Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where is the Arsenal of Freedom?

Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man makes a good case that we may be on the downward slope towards either a large regional war or the next world war.  I'm not going to argue about whether or not he's right.  I certainly hope that he and his sources are being too pessimistic, but I won't be surprised if they're spot on.

Let's say that a regional conflict between the Arab states and Iran spreads to become something that China gets involved in.  Or maybe India and Pakistan finally decide to settle their feud by turning their respective capitols into ex-cities.    Where will the manufacturing capacity be found to provide the stuff needed to equip new formations as well as replace things that are lost, damaged, or just plain wear out?

When the last two world wars happened, the United States was still the largest manufacturing economy in the world.  The tanks, ships, trucks, uniforms, bullets, guns, and all of the other sundry things needed to fight a modern war were made here.  Prior to our entry in World War II, we freely gave war materielle to Great Britain to help her stay in the fight and still had the capacity to build up our own military.

How quickly can we turn the existing manufacturing capacity of the United States towards total dedication to manufacturing war materielle?  Can we even manufacture Abrams tanks, F-18's, or the ships to convoy them across the big water in the numbers that would be needed?

We've sent a lot of our manufacturing capacity overseas in the past 40 years or so, for good and bad.  The good is that products come from a more varied set of suppliers, which brings down costs and stimulates innovation. The bad is that we may have sent so much of our heavy manufacturing away that we do not have the capacity to surge our production of the things we and our allies would need in time of war.  Heck, we can't even start up the old factories.  If the buildings still exist, the machinery has often been sold for scrap or shipped overseas. If the equipment is intact, where are we going to find the people who are physically and mentally prepared to do heavy manufacturing in the numbers that we would need?

Like I said, I hope that the worries about war are overblown, but I'm a big believer in "hope for the best, and prepare for the worst".

UPDATE - As usual, if you ask the Internet, someone smart will give you an answer.  Borepatch gives good cause to have a bit of hope that we could once again be the Arsenal of Freedom.


MrG's said...

And you have to get the EPA to stay off your back, building heavy machinery and facilities is dirty work and there will not be time to do environmental studies and have the sierra club or some far left group throw lawsuits around. AM I a pessamist? I think I am, the same people that would throw the lawsuits around hate the U.S.A anyway and would love to see us lessened.

Old NFO said...

I'm not sure we are CAPABLE under the current administration... Just sayin...

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