Two Major Developments This Weekend Have Complicated the Ukraine War
Author: Greg Valliere
February 21, 2023
THE FIRST is a major wild card — is China preparing to provide military assistance to Russia? Secretary of State Antony Blinken reported no progress after meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Munich this weekend; instead of lowering the temperature with China, friction between the two countries has intensified.
CHINA IS HINTING that it might send weapons to Russia, which would cross a “red line,” officials in Washington contend. This could rupture relations between the U.S. and China and would increase prospects for still another blowout defense spending bill in fiscal 2024, focusing on shipbuilding to counter Beijing’s goals in the South China Sea.
THE SECOND DEVELOPMENT is the continued erosion of political support in the U.S. for involvement in the war; new polls show the public is evenly divided, a drop from strong support just a few months ago. Republicans are increasingly opposed to more aid, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and others see an issue to exploit.
DeSANTIS SAID YESTERDAY that Biden is “very concerned about those borders halfway around the world. He’s not done anything to secure our own border here at home.” DeSantis added that “we have a lot of problems accumulating here in our own country that Biden is neglecting.”
FOR NOW, THERE’S STILL remarkable unity in NATO on sending more arms to Ukraine, and President Biden gets high grades for his bold visit to Kyiv this weekend. Biden has enough support in Congress, but that support is not indefinite.
ON THE BATTLEFIELD, THERE’S NO CHANGE in the dominant theme as the war enters its second year: Russian troop morale is dismal, as poorly equipped conscripts and convicts are dragged into the bloodbath. These troops are unwilling to fight for Putin; Ukrainian troops are willing to die for their country.
SO THE WAR WILL DRAG ON, despite staggering casualties and miscalculation after miscalculation on military strategy by Putin. He still has the brainwashed Russian public in his iron grip, so our sense — increasingly — is that the war will not end until Putin is overthrown.
THERE SURELY ARE GENERALS AND OLIGARCHS who agree that only Putin’s ouster can save Russia and end the slaughter. The dominant issue is whether someone can get to Putin. The urgency grows, complicated by China’s aggression and the wavering U.S. public opinion.
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