Are We Close to "Nuclear Armageddon?"
In 1962, the United States was faced with impending doom brought by the Cuban Missile Crisis as the USSR and The US were itching to pull the trigger on nuclear weapons; President Biden has now suggested that the world may be facing the same threat. During a speech on October 6th, Biden claimed that, "We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon," since 1962, but, "we have the direct threat of the use of a nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path that they are going."
These warnings of possible nuclear warfare came days after Putin officially annexed parts of Ukraine taken during the invasion, claiming them as part of Russian territory. Among the four territories annexed are Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia. Putin's public annexation speech was similar to the one given after Russia annexed the Crimean territory from Ukraine years ago, as he claimed that those living in the four territories, "are becoming [Russian] citizens forever." Some have feared that Putin could justify using nuclear weapons to protect the annexed areas, as he would be 'defending his claimed land,' regardless of if it is internationally recognized.
The NATO response to Putin's threats aimed to present a strong, united front, while leaders made it clear that they would not be strong-armed by Putin and would defend all nations within its membership. On the contrary, Russia has claimed that the threat of nuclear warfare has come from The West, mostly the US, as he claims that they want to 'destroy Russia.'
Liberal Political Commentary
Nuclear warfare is an incredibly frightening idea, and one that should be avoided as best as possible. Weighing the choice between defending a smaller, democratic nation fighting to defend its independence and risking nuclear armageddon verses leaving them to their own devices regardless of what Russia does is certainly difficult.
On one hand, the US has made a commitment to defending democracy at all costs since before WWI and would be looked down upon if it were to drop that priority now. However, is the risk of a nuclear holocaust that genuinely has the potential to end the world worth it? Among experts in multiple fields, nuclear warfare is the most accepted prediction of how the world will end-- do we want to be the one who affirms that? It's a burdensome question, but it must be answered in the event that a split decision must be made.
For the future of the world, it would be best to stay out of the conflict even if that means letting Ukraine fall to Russia. The situation is a lose-lose, but the entire world could quite literally lose everything if we were to engage in a nuclear war with Russia.
Conservative Political Commentary
The President stated that we face the threat of a nuclear Armageddon from Russia and has made headlines by doing so. Biden stated “ [Putin was] not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons. We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s.”This language has been described the “starkest warnings” and one of the bluntest statements made by a U.S. official in regards to nuclear weapons(Mattingly et al).
While some took his language as merely blunt others were offended. Representative Jeff Van Drew stated “This is a sign of weakness again with this president and this majority administration ... he says things that show Russia and the world, including China, everybody how weak we are. God knows what Russia has over there. But the point is, don't even think about doing it. Don't even think about taking that action against the United States of America.”. The White House staff attempted to back track what the president stated, and the press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters: “Russia’s talk of using nuclear weapons is irresponsible and there’s no way to use them without unintended consequences. It cannot happen. If the Cuban missile crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of reducing nuclear risk and not brandishing it.”(Madhani et al).However President Putin seemed eager to encourage this fear mongering and stated “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…It’s not a bluff.”(Madhani et al).While the President’s language may have been too strong it was not entirely without merit.
Liberal Journalist Opinion
While I don't think Putin would actually nuke Ukraine, that doesn't mean other world leaders can go around speaking however boldly they want about their readiness to use their nuclear weapons in the event that Russia does. Tensions like these bounce off of each other-- look at the cold war for proof. Putin is a chronic narcissist; a horribly egotistical man who wants to be remembered as the greatest Russian leader to rule-- this is both beneficial and harmful to the threat of nuclear war. After all, he has some pretty big shoes to fill behind Peter the Great, who initiated a cultural revolution; Vladimir Lenin who ended imperial rule in Russia; and Joseph Stalin, who moved Russia from a feudal economy to a military-industrial economy.
Note: (I am not praising these rulers in any regard, while their accomplishments were large, they also murdered people and advanced imperialism which I won't defend).
Nuclear war has been prevented largely to the "MAD" principle, or Mutually Assured Destruction. The theory goes that if one country fires nuclear weapons against another, they will retaliate and fire as well, thus resulting in both countries destroying each other. It would be incredibly difficult to be remembered as the best ruler to ever live if everyone in your country is either dead or living in uninhabitable nuclear wastelands, so it is incredibly unlikely that Putin will fire. This does NOT give Western leaders the pass to provoke him and try to present themselves as the "strong man" willing to do whatever it takes to protect democracy because when his pride is hurt, he becomes irrational and the concept of MAD may slip his mind just long enough to launch nuclear missiles.
Written by Ashlyn Hill
Conservative Journalist Opinion
The President’s language was inflammatory to say the least. It gives Russia unnecessary power by allowing them to think we have reason to fear a nuclear attack. Russia wouldn’t dare use nuclear weapons in the war against the Ukraine given the significant backlash Russia has received from NATO since they initiated the war. An attack against the United States would certainly escalate the war and draw into it not only the United States but all of our allies. It doesn’t make any sense for Russia to escalate the war in such a manner given that their military is already underperforming in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has become an embarrassing enterprise for Russia who thought it would be a swift and easy victory. Russia cannot even conquer it’s smaller less equipped neighbor; therefore, it certainly cannot withstand the retaliation of the United States if nuclear weapons were to be used. The accusation by Biden was meant to be inflammatory but without any true merit. The intel the government has as well as general logic points to the fact that Russia doesn’t want to enter into a larger war with other countries and the entire debacle created by the President’s harsh words are merely another political stunt to gain political attention.
Written by Alexis Walker
The Global Snapshot in association with OnePitch
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