President Joe Biden’s warning about a nuclear “Armageddon” drew a rebuke from French President Emmanuel Macron.
Biden on Thursday spoke of the potential of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons in his invasion of Ukraine.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden said during a Democratic Party fundraiser, according to The New York Times.
“We must speak with prudence when commenting on such matters,” he said.
“I have always refused to engage in political fiction, and especially … when speaking of nuclear weapons. On this issue, we must be very careful,” he said.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin had a response to Biden’s Thursday rumination about how Putin can be given an “off-ramp” to end the war.
“The way out of this conflict is for Russia to leave Ukraine. That is the way out of the conflict,” she said.
European Council President Charles Michel said leaders there take “every escalation very seriously.”
“Threats will not intimidate us. Instead, we are going to remain calm. We are going to keep cool heads and we will, each time, denounce the irresponsible character of these threats,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
Kori Schake, the foreign and defense policy studies director at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said Biden’s comment helped no one, according to the Washington Examiner.
“It undercuts deterrence for the president to sound anxious about Russian nuclear threats,” said Schake, a former National Security Council and State Department official, the outlet reported. “That incentivizes nuclear proliferation and encourages efforts at nuclear blackmail.”
Schake also said the time was not right for Biden to make an ad-lib about nuclear war.
“If he wants to prepare Americans for the danger, he shouldn’t do that via leaked off-the-record comments at a private political fundraiser; he should give a public national address,” she said.
“I think any time we contemplate the potential use of nuclear weapons, we’ve got to take it seriously,” Bolton said, according to CBS. “But I also think we’ve got to be very clear-eyed about it. And I think the president’s comment overstated the gravity of the situation we’re in right now.
“I was particularly disturbed when he said, ‘you know, I can’t imagine the use of a tactical nuclear weapon that doesn’t lead to Armageddon.’ And it’s that chain of causality from one demonstration use of a tactical nuclear weapon that Vladimir Putin is currently threatening all the way up to an exchange of nuclear salvos between Russia and the United States,” he said.
“It is not inevitable. But Putin would like us to think it’s inevitable. He’d like to see people nervous. He’s trying to deter us. He has done this several times already after his invasion of Ukraine. He’s been bluffing each time. There is a risk here of the use of nuclear weapons.
“I don’t think we’re in the circumstances where it’s going to happen, although we watch it carefully,” he said. “But it’s very important for the West not to be deterred by Putin’s use of this nuclear threat.”
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