USAF General: West’s arms industrial base set to dominate Russia’s

Countries with autocratic governance structures, like Russia, tend to accelerate their defense sector operations even as their economy suffers, particularly in light of ongoing warfare activities in Ukraine, and with added impetus from Iran and North Korea. This sentiment was shared by Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven L. Basham. 

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Basham, who also serves as the deputy commander of the U.S. European Command, expressed these views during the “Transatlantic Security After 75 Years of NATO” event. The event was hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and was streamed live. 

He emphasized that the West is not simply a bystander in this defense industrial race. In his words, “Don’t be mistaken. The pace is picking up and it will undoubtedly outstrip Russia’s capabilities. Russia’s interference in Ukraine gives us the time we need to prime our industrial sector,” Basham concluded.

Basham revealed, “Russia, previously known as a defense exporter, seems to have made a significant switch. They’re now importing not only large volumes of equipment but also technology on a grand scale. Much of this technology influx is from China. Confronted with challenges from their domestic equipment, Russia seems to be strengthening its relationship with China,” he remarked. 

“National security demands our vigilant efforts beyond our own borders,” he advised. “Ukraine simply requires our steadfast, unwavering, and enduring support. I believe that’s exactly what we’re providing at the moment. We need to maintain this stance and strive to communicate it more effectively to the American public,” he conveyed. 

Furthermore, he emphasized how the U.S., alongside its allies and partners, is fortifying defenses against Russian aggression, citing the recent induction of Finland and Sweden into NATO. 

Basham stressed the importance of protecting NATO, articulating, “Let’s be clear here. Regardless of the outcome in Ukraine, Russian ambitions won’t be confined to Ukraine unless we halt their advance right there.”

When it comes to U.S. military deployment in Europe, U.S. experts emphasize the importance of a consistent physical presence. 

“A sustainable partnership with our allies necessitates active engagement. Integration and exercise can be achieved through continuous commitment, not just periodic involvement,” one expert stressed, referring to the ongoing responsibilities of the U.S. towards NATO. 

An expert, Basham, highlights the global threats posed by both China and Russia, mentioning their malevolent impact specifically in Europe, notably in the space and cyber domains.


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