It certainly doesn’t seem like appropriate Cocktail Party doomsday chatter, notes the WSJ, arguing that it also demonstrated the president’s own anxiety, “which isn’t the right message to send (Vladimir) Putin or the American people.”
President Biden at a Democratic Fund Raiser:
Think about it. We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis. We’ve got a guy I know fairly well; his name is Vladimir Putin. I spent a fair amount of time with him. He is not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical and nuclear weapons, or biological or chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.
It’s part of Russian doctrine that they will not—they will not—if the motherland is threatened, they’ll use whatever force they need, including nuclear weapons,” he added. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ability to easily [use] a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”
Is this just another of Mr. Biden’s random colloquies that the White House quickly walks back, wonders the WSJ? If so, pass the canapes and make my next drink a double.
It’s tempting to pass this off as one of Mr. Biden’s random soliloquies that the White House quickly walks back. Recall the three times he’s said the U.S. will defend Taiwan militarily, which his staff explained away each time. And sure enough, on Friday the White House told reporters there was no new information about Mr. Putin’s intentions that had prompted Mr. Biden’s focus on the bomb.
Mr. Biden didn’t help on this score when he also said at the fundraiser that “we’re trying to figure out: What—what is Putin’s off-ramp? Where—where does he get off? Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position that he does not not only lose face, but lose significant power within Russia?”
If (Joe Biden) really does fear a nuclear escalation, he owes more of an explanation to the American people than cocktail-party doomsday chatter. He needs to marshal support in Congress and around the world to do everything possible to deter Mr. Putin. A crucial part of deterrence in a democracy is preparing the public for the challenges it might confront. Instead, his comments have needlessly frightened Americans and maybe undermined deterrence.
Biden’s Rhetoric Doesn’t Reflect the Intel
Adam Milstein tweeted today, via a link to The Guardian, that Biden’s “Armageddon” rhetoric did not represent the opinions of America’s intelligence community.
Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ rhetoric ‘doesn’t reflect intel’
The U.S. sees no sign of Russian preparations to use a nuclear weapon in the near future, says the White House after President Biden warned that the world risks “Armageddon.”https://t.co/dQZj8UTGM3
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) October 8, 2022
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