A Turn in the Ukraine War? Plus — Washington Reacts to Schumer-Manchin Deal
Author: Greg Valliere
July 29, 2022
A POTENTIAL GAME-CHANGER: Russian forces seem to be exhausted and unable to capture all of the Donbas region, many intelligence experts report, as a new weapon transforms the war: the U.S. High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which Ukraine views as crucial to pushing the Russians back.
THE WASHINGTON POST QUOTES SEVERAL INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS this morning who see the potential for Ukraine to halt the Russian offensive. “Right now, the Russians are losing the initiative, and the Ukrainians either have it or are about to have it,” one analyst said, adding that “the HIMARS are key to that.”
THE HIMARS MISSILES give Ukraine the ability to strike almost 50 miles behind Russian front lines with a high degree of accuracy, and Ukrainians have used them to destroy more than 100 high-value Russian targets, including command and control centers, ammunition storage sites, and logistics and support facilities.
WE HAVE ARGUED SINCE FEBRUARY that Russia cannot win this war, and we still think most of Ukraine will not fall. A war of attrition is likely, lasting months or longer — a grim scenario for countries that depend on Ukraine’s grain, fertilizer, raw materials and energy, all of which will be in very short supply through the winter.
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THE DAY AFTER: A blockbuster deal reached in secret is bound to generate opposition, and that was the case yesterday as critics got to vent against provisions in the package negotiated by Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin. Enactment of a final deal, probably in September, is likely but far from certain.
ALL EYES ON KYRSTEN SINEMA: The maverick Arizona Democrat refused to comment on the deal yesterday; she opposes tax increases, which are part of the package. There are other potential complications — two ailing Democrats. Sen. Patrick Leahy is still recovering from hip surgery, and Sen. Dick Durbin just tested positive for Covid.
REPUBLICANS ARE TOTALLY OPPOSED TO THE DEAL, perhaps in an attempt to convince the GOP base that recent compromises with Democrats will not extend to this ambitious tax and spending package. Actually, the price and scope of the deal may increase in coming days as lawmakers insert pet programs.
FOOT IN THE DOOR: The strongest argument against the Schumer-Manchin deal is that sweeping new proposals — especially environmental initiatives — will be difficult
to reverse, once enacted. There’s plenty of pork, plus tax hikes and a more aggressive IRS — lots of juicy targets for Republicans in this fall’s elections.
THE FALLBACK, IF THIS PACKAGE SINKS from its own weight, is a more modest bill that focuses on drug prices and health benefits, a political winner for the Democrats. But they are determined to get the entire measure passed, and they probably will prevail — assuming Sinema doesn’t balk.
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