Russia is on Its Heels; What would Trump do if He’s Re-elected?
Author: Greg Valliere
August 17, 2022
THERE’S LITTLE DOUBT that Russian troops have bogged down. Their missiles can kill civilians and reduce Ukrainian towns to rubble, but Ukraine is striking back aggressively with Western weapons and the fearless partisans, who seemingly can enter Russian-controlled territory with impunity.
THIS HAS BEEN A DIFFICULT STRETCH for Vladimir Putin; elite Ukrainian guerrillas destroyed eight Russian jets and a huge cache of munitions in an attack last week, and inflicted tremendous damage on Russian facilities yesterday. Both attacks were in Crimea; Russian officials admitted that this latest operation was “sabotage.”
PLAYING WITH FIRE: Crimea is a major Russian tourist destination, and since its annexation in 2014 it has been widely regarded by most Russians as part of their country. If Crimea is in play, Putin could step up his brutality, as fears grow about the security of Ukrainian nuclear facilities.
UKRAINE ALSO HAS INCREASED ITS BRUTALITY, targeting Russian sympathizers for assassination and planting explosives. Russians in eastern Ukraine know they are vulnerable.
WINTER IS COMING: It’s difficult to envision a truce any time soon. Putin is likely to impose energy pain on Western Europe this winter, and Volodymyr Zelensky continues to insist that a peace deal must include the return of all Russian-controlled territory, a non-starter for Moscow.
THE BOTTOM LINE, AS WE ASSERTED in February, is that Moscow cannot win this war. Even if Russian forces slowly advance into central Ukraine, the threat of a vicious guerrilla war is now a certainty. How long will the Russian generals — and ordinary citizens in Moscow — tolerate a bloody war with seemingly no end?
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WHAT WOULD DONALD TRUMP DO if he’s re-elected in 2024? First of all, he’s hardly a lock to win in 2024, despite his astonishingly strong base. That base is big enough to win GOP primaries, but probably not big enough to win general elections.
BUT WHAT IF TRUMP WON ANOTHER TERM? This morning’s Washington Post has a lengthy piece focusing on six issues that the former president has emphasized in recent speeches. Whether these initiatives could pass legal challenges is unclear, but here’s his very controversial wish list . . .
1. Execute drug dealers. “If you look at countries all throughout the world, no matter where you go, the only ones that don’t have a drug problem are those that institute the death penalty for drug dealers,” Trump said in a speech this summer.
2. Move homeless people to tent cities well outside of urban areas.
3. Deploy federal troops against crime, unrest and protests. Trump has repeatedly asserted that he has the authority to call out the National Guard.
4. Strip job protection for federal workers. Dismantling the federal bureaucracy is a popular applause line for Trump.
5. Eliminate the Education Department. Public dissatisfaction over what children are taught is a huge grass-roots issue.
6. Restrict voting to one day using paper ballots, an idea that appeals to Trump’s base, which is convinced that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
MORE TO COME: This is a tremendously divisive agenda — but it’s wildly popular in Trump’s populist right wing.
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THE DOG DAYS OF AUGUST: Just a reminder that we won’t publish every day for the remainder of this month.
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