American manufacturing is back… to making weapons

Joe Biden’s announcement of tank supplies to Ukraine came with boasts about boosting American jobs

Bradley Blankenship

Bradley Blankenship is an American journalist, columnist and political commentator. He has a syndicated column at CGTN and is a freelance reporter for international news agencies including Xinhua News Agency. 


American manufacturing is back… to making weapons

FILE PHOTO ©  Global Look Press/Keystone Press Agency

Amid soaring inflation and other economic woes, the administration of US President Joe Biden has been obsessed with emphasizing any shred of positivity they can find. That’s especially true with that typically American buzzword: jobs. 

Last Thursday, the president tweeted a graph showing the the latest four-week average number of joblessness claims vs what it was when he took office. Apparently the number has shrunk more than four-fold. The previous day, Biden quote-tweeted a post by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, showing job creation for blue collar workers is supposedly attributable to his clean-energy agenda, that “climate action” equals “jobs.”

These two examples are fairly innocuous, but then on that same day as the latter tweet, another series of posts followed. One of them said simply, “American manufacturing is back.” Another was official confirmation of news that the US is now sending 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which he described as “evidence of our enduring and unflagging commitment to Ukraine and our confidence in the skill of Ukrainian forces.”

The latter was important because it represents a major escalation of US involvement in the conflict in the Eastern European country. Only a handful of countries have been graced with this weapons system, and the US is sending an entire battalion’s worth of them to Ukraine. It’s an indication that there are potentially no limits to what Washington is willing to give Kiev.

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It leads naturally to questions of whether high-end American warplanes or surface-to-surface missiles will end up in Ukraine. It also leaves us to ponder what these systems would be used for. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would defend Russian territory, including Crimea, “by any means necessary”. Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials have vowed to retake the peninsula. 

So Biden’s tank announcement – which follows a string of others by Western capitals – shows the potential for a war that could span well outside of Eastern Europe and go global. It could even mean outright nuclear annihilation. That is a truly terrifying prospect, especially for those of us in close proximity to the action right now. 

It doesn’t seem like Biden is all that afraid, given his tweet that “American manufacturing is back.” Not only are Abrams tanks manufactured in the US in Lima, Ohio, but they’re also made by union workers. Check, check for the Biden’s administration’s made-in-America and union-made priorities. 

To note, we have seen a similar line before from some other prominent folk. For one, Jack Matlock Jr., the former US ambassador to the Soviet Union, once told Putin to his face that the Washington-installed missile defense system in Romania – on Russia’s doorstep – was not designed to attack, but to create American jobs. Putin laughed and replied, “Why would you “create jobs” in an industry that has the potential to put the entire human race in danger?”

Just days ago, speaking to the National Association of State Chambers (NASC) in Boca Raton, Florida, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that there are “big business” opportunities in his country for any American company interested in working there. That also naturally includes the defense industry, which Zelensky was sure to give a special shoutout to. 

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Perhaps I am misreading Biden’s tweet and it was actually tied to the clean energy business. But the fact that a new Green New Deal hasn’t been established and the only major climate legislation undertaken during his presidency is just now being implemented, raises doubts about this position. If he was referring to something else, I think it is evidence is clear that most manufacturing is certainly not in the United States and nor will it return to the country.

The US – or at least its politicians – don’t have the general political will for initiatives in economic spheres outside the so-called defense industry. And that is what’s so ironic about Biden’s tweet, that he’s cheering about how good the latest jobs report is or how a tank factory in Ohio might hire more union workers despite inching the world closer to nuclear armageddon. 

I am reminded of another American nation, Cuba, that counts medical services among its greatest exports and routinely receives Nobel Peace Prize nominations for its heroism. Now-deceased leader Fidel Castro once said that Havana would send “doctors” and “not bombs” around the world. That is quite a foil for Washington, which is content with producing nothing but bombs while anything of practical use is made literally anywhere else.

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