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Ukraine updates

Summary:
Ukraine is getting much more advanced offensive weapons . . . This seems to mark a major shift, a commitment to helping Ukraine go on offense and win.  Open questions . . . How far will Ukraine’s partners go?  Infantry fighting vehicles today, maybe tanks, ATACMs, planes, etc. tomorrow?  How big a threat is the Republican controlled House of Representatives?  Will Ukraine be able to avoid a drawn out war of attrition?  Can it launch successful offensives against Russian lines that are shorter and in some cases better fortified than the territory they took in the north?  Will this show of Western resolve make Putin reconsider his commitment to the war?  Why did France, Germany, and the United States decide to provide these weapons now? A reminder of

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Ukraine is getting much more advanced offensive weapons . . . This seems to mark a major shift, a commitment to helping Ukraine go on offense and win.  Open questions . . . How far will Ukraine’s partners go?  Infantry fighting vehicles today, maybe tanks, ATACMs, planes, etc. tomorrow?  How big a threat is the Republican controlled House of Representatives?  Will Ukraine be able to avoid a drawn out war of attrition?  Can it launch successful offensives against Russian lines that are shorter and in some cases better fortified than the territory they took in the north?  Will this show of Western resolve make Putin reconsider his commitment to the war?  Why did France, Germany, and the United States decide to provide these weapons now?

A reminder of how difficult it is to know what is going on in the halls of power.  I recently suggested that we should tell Russia that we will provide Ukraine with ATACMS if Russian strikes against Ukrainian cities and infrastructure continue.  Phillips O’Brien speculates that the threat of providing ATACMS has deterred the expected delivery of ballistic missiles from Iran to Russia.  Maybe, and maybe this is a better outcome than just giving Ukraine ATACMS and having Russia shooting ballistic missiles into Ukraine.  I tend to think we should just give Ukraine the ATACMS, but my point is it’s really difficult for an ordinary citizen to second guess decisions like these.  We just don’t know what’s going on.

There are continued reports of planned Russian offensives . . . I find it hard to believe they will make much progress, and I’m not even sure they will be attempted in a serious way, but we will see. Putin has called for a cease fire for Orthodox Christmas, after killing Ukrainian civilians on Christmas and New Year.  Well, hopefully the Russian soldiers will bring their cell phones to services.

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