Biden warns world closer to nuclear war than ever since 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
Biden said his concerns stem from the fact that he feels he knows and understands Russian President Vladimir Putin “fairly well” and that he believed the former KGB spymaster “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons”
October 6, 2022 11:25pm
Updated: October 6, 2022 11:31pm
President Joe Biden said Thursday that the world was closer to the brink of nuclear war that it has been since the famed 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
The president’s shocking comments came while he was speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, when the first term Democrat said the risk of a nuclear “Armageddon” was at its highest since the infamous standoff five decades ago.
Russia, which harbors the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and has a balance of both long rage ‘strategic’ nuclear weapons and short range ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons said repeatedly boasted about its ability to utilize the latter as part of an advance to recover the advantage in their failed eight-month invasion of Ukraine.
Biden said his concerns stem from the fact that he feels he knows and understands Russian President Vladimir Putin “fairly well” and that he believed the former KGB spymaster “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”
Biden also said, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” adding that he believed the threat from Putin was genuine “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”
U.S. national security officials have suggested of the Kremlin could launch weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine as a means of saving face and recovering lost ground as they have encountered repeated defeats in the battlefield.
While the president’s words were the most serious thus far about a possible nuclear strike, media reports indicated it was not clear as to whether a specific act or development prompted Biden to make the comments.
“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indication that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
In 1962 the world endured a terrifying 13-day standoff after U.S. intelligence learned the Soviet Union had secretly deployed nuclear weapons to Cuba.
That standoff, which tested the brinkmanship of both the White House and Kremlin is widely considered regarded the closest the world has come to a bipolar nuclear war. That crisis, which began during the Kennedy administration, set the tone for an emphasis on arms control between the East and West.
Biden warned that even the use of a short range tactical weapon could set off a series of unintended consequences that could be irreversibly damaging to the entire planet.
“I don’t think there is any such a thing as the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” Biden said.
The president said the problem Putin faces is that he can’t see to find a way to “off-ramp” in Ukraine. “Where does he find a way out?” Biden asked. “Where does he find himself in a position that he does not only lose face but lose significant power within Russia?”
The Russian autocrat has warned he would push the button if necessary—for the first time in February and again last month after he declared a new military draft forcing Russian men to serve in Ukraine.
“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction ... and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said Sept. 21.
He then added, coldly, “It’s not a bluff.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that Putin understood that the “world will never forgive” a Russian nuclear strike. “He understands that after the use of nuclear weapons he would be unable any more to preserve, so to speak, his life, and I’m confident of that.”
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said last week that Washington has been “clear” to Moscow about what the “consequences” of launching any kind of nuclear device against Ukraine would be.
“This is something that we are attuned to, taking very seriously, and communicating directly with Russia about, including the kind of decisive responses the United States would have if they went down that dark road,” Sullivan explained.