It’s Too Soon to Worry About a Ukrainian Setback; Impact of a Trump Indictment
Author: Greg Valliere
July 19, 2023
WHILE THE MINES ARE CLEARED, the bulk of Ukrainian troops have not been committed yet to the counter-offsnsive. They are waiting for weapons that have been pledged from NATO countries, while pleading for better air defense and missiles that can strike well within Russia.
THE KEY MAY NOT BE WEAPONS, IT MAY BE DIPLOMATIC: China has a sputtering economy and seems more receptive to U.S. visitors — Janet Yellen, John Kerry, and even Henry Kissinger, 100 years old, who is in Beijing this week. Their message is conciliatory, with a request that China break its ties with Moscow.
ANALYSTS BELIEVE VLADIMIR PUTIN IS AFRAID of Yevgeniy Prigozhin and his Wagner Group militia, which has outperformed Russia’s battered regular army. Ignatius says the Russian army’s command and control is disintegrating — “a mess that Putin seems unable to admit, let alone fix.” Operations such as Monday’s strike on the Kerch Strait Bridge show that Russia’s hold is vulnerable.
RUSSIA’S TRUMP CARD, OF COURSE, is its huge supply of tactical nuclear weapons, but use of then would prompt a devastating U.S. conventional military response — and probably would cause the loss of China as an ally. The addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO is another diplomatic setback and a huge embarrassment for Putin.
OUR BOTTOM LINE is that the counter-offensive will pick up momentum this summer, setting the stage for negotiations this fall. Ukraine will get most of its battered eastern territory back, but Crimea is still the greatest obstacle to a deal. A Crimean partition, perhaps with the involvement of United Nation forces, will be a possible part of the end-game, which would provide security guarantees to both Ukraine and Russia.
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DONALD TRUMP’S LIKELY INDICTMENT for his role in the Jan. 6 riot gives him another opportunity to energize his base and, of course, raise more money. This new indictment, combined with cases in Georgia and Michigan, will keep his GOP challengers off the front pages — the Ron DeSantis interview with CNN yesterday was eclipsed by news of the probable Trump indictment.
BUT TRUMP’S BASE ISN’T THE ISSUE: He will always have a fanatic plurality of voters. The real issue is independent and moderate voters, who simply won’t stomach a steady drumbeat of indictments and trials, lasting well into the 2024 election season and beyond. People are sick of this.
TRUMP CAN SAY HE’S THE VICTIM of a witch hunt, but the Jan. 6 trial is the mother lode, with testimony from his former top aides and even members of his family. It could take over a year to resolve this, and there’s a very real prospect of a presidential candidate facing a jail sentence.
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