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Biden warns Putin about using nukes

As if you didn’t already have enough on your plate to worry about, the leaders of the United States and Russia are once again talking about nuclear war for some reason. Or at least one of them is, anyway. President Joe Biden decided to give an interview to 60 Minutes (scheduled to air tonight) in which Scott Pelley asked him what would happen if Russia deployed tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine as a result of recent Russian setbacks amid the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Biden didn’t really flex his vocabulary much in response, telling Putin “Don’t.” He even repeated the word three times, adding that such a move would “change the face of war” in a way not seen since World War 2. When pressed as to what the American response would be to such a move, Biden remained appropriately vague. But why are we suddenly talking about nuclear war again at this stage of the game? (Fox News)

President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine in a television interview while declining to say what the consequences would be from the United States if he were to do so.

“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden told 60 Minutes in an interview set to air on Sunday when asked by CBS reporter Scott Pelley what he would say to Putin if the Russian leader was considering a nuclear escalation in Ukraine.

“You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II,” Biden said.

Pelley attempted to press the President on how the scenario would play out. To his credit, Biden didn’t offer any specifics in terms of what America would do in response to the use of nuclear weapons. But at the same time, he suggested that we don’t actually have a plan. He began his response by saying, “You think I would tell you if I knew exactly what it would be?” Not for nothing, but I’m pretty sure that most of the country expects you to be up to date on this and already have some sort of fallback plan set up with the Joint Chiefs. Then again, looking at how the withdrawal from Afghanistan went last year, that might be a fairly big assumption.

After that initial stumble, Biden seemed to correct his course, saying, “Of course, I’m not gonna tell you. It’ll be consequential.” He then went on to suggest that our response would depend on the “extent” of the Russian strike.

So it turns out that this was all the doing of 60 Minutes and not the Kremlin or the White House. Scott Pelley was looking for a clickbait moment to draw more viewers, so he brought up one of the more radical things he could think of. It’s worth noting that it’s been a while since Putin said anything about nuclear weapons, and the last time he addressed the subject he said that there “can never be” a nuclear war.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden was correct in choosing to be vague in his response rather than making overt threats to turn Moscow into a smoking pool of liquid glass. But given the tense nature of everything happening in Ukraine at the moment and Russia’s anger over all of the weapons systems we’re sending them, it might have been better if the President had simply told Pelley that he didn’t plan on speculating about hypothetical situations and that the situation was under control or being “closely monitored.” Still, he didn’t drop the ball as badly as he might have.

What we’re seeing here is almost a refreshing change from how the White House and even some members of Congress have been acting this year. We’ve really gotten into the habit of poking the bear during extremely tense times. For example, when China became enraged over Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and started lobbing rockets into the ocean, we sent a couple more congressional delegations to the island. The more we continue to upgrade Ukraine’s weapons, the more Putin seems to at least suggest that the war could expand beyond Ukraine’s borders. The point is, that this is a delicate balancing act. We clearly don’t want to be seen as weak, but we also don’t want to provoke our adversaries into a first-strike situation either. You’d better hope that we have some people at the top who are capable of walking that tightrope.

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