Russia Invades The Ukraine – And Threatens Our Economic Vitality
Randy Wolken, President & CEO
The world is a dangerous place and the events of this week have reminded us of the value of a strong manufacturing sector in our state and country. With the invasion of the Ukraine by Russian forces and the world responding with sanctions, we see the beginning of a new Cold War. Now is the best time to invest and grow U.S. manufacturing. The last two years’ events have also pointed to reinvesting in our U.S. supply chains. A casual walk in the supermarket shows just how our extended, global supply chains can put our way of life at risk. The next wave of COVID (or a new pandemic) is still a threat. There are so many reasons why we must grow U.S.-based manufacturing.
One of the leading reasons to increase U.S.-based manufacturing and its supply chains here is the aggression of Russia – and increasingly China. Putin has never shared a belief in global economic integration with the European Union (E.U.). In fact, the crisis in the Ukraine stems from an economic desire of the Ukraine to integrate its economy with the E.U. It started in 2013 when the Ukrainian president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych, was on the verge of signing an agreement with the E.U. – which would have been a big step toward integrating the Ukraine with the West. Russian president Putin objected and began to block Ukrainian imports, most notably chocolates, and threatened to charge more for natural gas. Mr. Yanukovych ended up renouncing the agreement with the E.U., which triggered massive street protests that ousted him. A pro-Western government came to power. Russia then annexed Crimea and fermented an insurgency in the Ukraine supported by Russia. As you can see, Russia’s invasion started over economics.
Globalization is needed. However, we cannot become too dependent on a global supply chain or expect Russia and China to use these weapons to threaten democracy and our way of life. If you don’t believe me, walk around a grocery store with empty shelves or a car lot without cars today. These are due to our dependence on global supply chains that threaten our economic and national security. We must bring critical manufacturing back home to the U.S. In my message last week, I outlined the urgent need for Congress to complete its work by passing legislation to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and invest in our vital semiconductor industry (join us in supporting this effort by clicking here). We also need to bring other production back home, such as medicines, masks, and other health-related products. We are a powerful nation because of our manufacturing capabilities. When we sacrifice these, we become less influential and more vulnerable to crises.
I encourage our leaders at all levels of government to realize how vital manufacturing is to New York State and the U.S. We need to recognize that global threats are authentic. We cannot rely on primarily being a service economy. Doing so is dangerous and reduces our economic vitality. Please join me in sharing this message with your elected officials at all levels of government.
Visit our i360 Take Action page to view issues we need you to lend your voice to today (https://macnyactnow.ivolunteers.com/). We have much to do to enhance our ability as a state to attract and retain good manufacturers and their outstanding jobs. With your help, we can grow manufacturing here in our community and throughout New York State