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Biden Knows a Nuclear War over Ukraine is Possible. Will He Change Course?

Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden reacts as he makes a statement about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas shortly after Biden returned to Washington from his trip to South Korea and Japan, at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 24, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Joe Biden on Thursday warned that Putin was “not joking” when threatening the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and that the world has “not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” Earlier that same day, Zelensky seemed to justify Biden’s warning when he argued that NATO should conduct “preventive strikes” against Russia instead of waiting to see if Putin would use nuclear weapons. Since his comments went viral, Kyiv claimed to have been discussing economic sanctions and not military action.

(The author of this article, 19FortyFive Contributing Editor Daniel L. Davis, was just on NBC News explaining the situation in Ukraine. See his most recent appearance above.)  

It is encouraging that Biden is consciously aware of the extraordinary risks this war poses for the United States, yet troubling that Zelensky appears to be unconcerned. The way each head of state is looking at the Russia-Ukraine War is illustrative of the Gordian Knot facing the world (not just the direct and indirect participants).

As I wrote in these pages last January, the best course of action for the White House would have been to acknowledge the reality that Russia had the capacity to invade Ukraine. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) were insufficiently strong to prevent it, and thus Biden could have withdrawn the offer of NATO membership to Ukraine and encouraged Kyiv to declare military neutrality.

That would have had a real chance at forestalling the invasion, as doing so would have eliminated Putin’s main fear: having a NATO member on his border in Ukraine. Naturally, those actions wouldn’t have guaranteed against a Russian invasion, but it would have increased the odds considerably that Zelensky’s country could have avoided war.

In such a case, no Ukrainians would have been killed, no Ukrainian cities would have been demolished, and millions of Zelensky’s citizens would never have fled into Europe. Most importantly, however, the world would not now be facing the greatest threat of nuclear weapons’ use since 1962. But that off-ramp was ignored by Ukraine and the West and now we are facing the unthinkable. What matters now, however, is finding a way forward that limits the damage and prevents a catastrophe.

Many in the West have been heartened by the stunning military advances of Zelensky’s troops over the past six or seven weeks. Former general and CIA Director David Petraeus even called Ukraine’s accomplishments “irreversible.” While the excitement is certainly understandable, the war’s trendlines and battlefield math do not support such claims.

The most likely course over the coming three or four months is that the current Ukraine offensive will soon run out of steam and that Putin’s reinforcements will begin to show up in increasing numbers that may well enable Russia to return to the offensive and could result in Putin’s troops retaking some or all of the territories Kyiv has recently captured.

Ukraine has paid for its territorial gains at the cost of significant numbers of its best men and the loss of enormous numbers of armored vehicles. If Russia is soon able to flood the battlefield with hundreds of thousands of new troops, that sheer mass could tip the tactical advantage back in Putin’s favor.

This war has already taken many wild and unexpected turns, and nothing is guaranteed – neither a continued Ukrainian offensive drive to the east nor a Russian counter-counteroffensive to drive the UAF back to the West. What is virtually certain, however, is that the war will continue well into the foreseeable future.

And as long as the war drags on, the risk of nuclear escalation will remain over us all, like a Damocles Sword. Indefinite war is not the only option, however.

In the aftermath of Putin’s illegitimate annexation of Ukrainian territory, Zelensky signed a decree that vowed Ukraine would not negotiate with Putin until all its territories had been returned. While that makes sense for the leader of the country that had its territory forcibly taken, the cold but correct truth is that Ukraine’s security needs are not synonymous with Washington’s security needs. Ukraine is already in a full-on war with Russia and has nothing to lose from escalating the conflict. In fact, Kyiv would be happy to drag the United States into the war as it would relieve pressure on its armed forces.

Regardless of how unpalatable it is to many American pundits, Biden’s first priority is and must remain the protection of American vital national interests and the continued prosperity of the American people. Based on Biden’s comments on Thursday, he seems to understand what’s at stake. Yet as the U.S. continues to increase military support to Ukraine, providing offensive rocket and artillery systems, we continue playing around the edges of the war, maintaining the risk that one day Ukrainian troops succeed so much that Putin faces an existential threat.

Joe Biden

U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House. Image Credit: White House Facebook.

If faced with the prospect of losing a war or escalating to nuclear weapons, the chances are high that Putin would cross the nuclear threshold. If that happens, the pressure on Biden will be immense to respond directly against Russian military forces – and that would almost certainly prompt a Russian retaliatory strike directly against the United States, and spark all out war. It is absurd to continue risking such escalations that can, in no way, benefit the United States. Biden must therefore limit his support to Ukraine and prioritize the security of our country.

If he fails to do so, we may all pay a horrible price.

Now a 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Stephen Green

    October 7, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    Who is this man ? Russia was hell bent on invading Ukraine ! Putin believes he can still cement together the Soviet Union ! It was nothing to do with NATO it just provided the excuse ! BRAINS PLEASE

  2. Gary Jacobs

    October 7, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Davis is channeling his inner Neville Chamberlain. Fooling himself into believing that Russia could have been talked down from invading. If only we would have given up more and more of Ukraine to him. This theory has been disproven so many times it’s hard to believe Davis is still peddling it.

    As well, history has proven that when the collective west does nothing to stand up to Putin, he simply takes more land. He kills more people through force of arms, through poisoning, through other forms of assassination.

    The US had pulled its last tanks out of Europe in 2013, Obama’s pivot to Asia was in full swing, and Putin invaded Ukraine and Crimea about 1 year later. It is precisely when he senses weakness that he strikes.

    This time he saw the debacle in Afghanistan, and though the west and the US were weak and he could go for another invasion with no consequences. Thankfully, he was wrong.

    I agree with Joe Biden on precisely nothing else he has done with his presidency, except for supporting Ukraine.

    The risk of Nuclear war is not nothing, but it is near zero. And the west should not submit to this type of Blackmail. Putin would not stop there.

  3. Goran

    October 7, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    Daniel Davis: “Biden must therefore limit his support to Ukraine”

    Incorrect, like most of your conclusions over the past half a year. Just recently you wrote an article based on one sided interpretation of the Washington Post article that covered Kherson counteroffensive, and you spun it in some pretty creative ways, explaining why the counteroffensive failed and what not. Turns out, not only did it not fail, it also contributed to the bitchslapping Putin got from Izyum to Lyman (no, not Krasny Lyman). You’ve been wrong in so many cases I am tempted to ask you for a stock advice just to bet against it.

    Your reasoning is simple;

    Putin is winning – Suffering must end, and Ukraine has to cave in
    Putin is losing – Putin will use nukes so Ukraine has to cave in

    🙂 it’s almost like you have an agenda when it comes to Ukraine caving in.

  4. Dr. Scooter Van Neuter

    October 7, 2022 at 5:32 pm

    Pretty certain Biden’s ability to decide what he wants for lunch is the extent of his mental abilities. This question needs to be put to whoever the hell is actually running the country – I guarantee it definitely is not Joe Biden.

  5. Rick

    October 7, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    Davis should get a job at a ‘white flag’ factory.

  6. 403Forbidden

    October 7, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Biden’s in no mental condition to determine the fate of either US or Europe and the world.

    Biden has just publicly warned that world runs risk of ‘nuclear Armageddon’ no doubt prompted by his handlers or advisers, but he’s the commander in chief, so he’s the absolute hitler of US tactical & strategic nuclear arsenals.

    Recall the words of former admiral Scott Swift spoken in July 2017 in Australia during military exercise Talisman Saber.

    “If the president gives the order I will launch nuclear strikes” said Swift.

    It doesn’t matter if the president is off the rocker. Should an insane hitler gives the coded message to his military commanders, missiles are off to their targets.

    Biden needs to be removed via 25th Amendment before he plunges US into the abyss.

  7. Mary

    October 7, 2022 at 7:19 pm

    Everyone needs to pressure Biden to put all emphasis on NEGOTIATIONS instead of jeopardizing the world by cornering a rat.

  8. JohnH

    October 7, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Facing potential extinction, we should be in the street demonstrating and demanding that Biden hold continous negotiations day and night until the Ukraine war is stopped, no matter unpleasant it is to negotiate with Putin.

  9. Russian trolls suck

    October 7, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Lots of Russian trolls hoping that Biden and the West go weak in the knees. At this point Russia needs to be destroyed so they can never bully anyone ever again.

  10. Goran

    October 7, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    Mary and John, what if Putin says he wants half of Latvia or he’ll use nukes? Or a quarter of Latvia? Or one city in Latvia? One village in Latvia?

    What exactly are the metrics that define when modern society should give in to nuclear blackmail and when it shouldn’t? Would you risk a nuclear war over one village in Latvia or should Putin be allowed to take it?

    What we are seeing is a heroic Ukrainian resolve to defend their country (with determination everyone should envy them on) and the Western dedication to provide some conventional systems (and unfortunately very few at that) to fight back. So, let’s see what those metrics are, what makes us kneel before a nuclear bully?

    Is it one tiny Latvian village? How about Horoseva, sounds Russian anyway? Should we give it to Putin if he gets in the mood to threaten with nukes? Again, we are just trying to determine what the metrics are here.

  11. Walker

    October 8, 2022 at 5:35 am

    Davis, tell me, were you bullied a lot in school? Because you cower at the lightest hint of bullying. Everyone who was awake was aware that Russia was itching to invade. Biden made it clear that was Russian intentions. You think that if Ukraine would have just given the keys to the country to Russia that it wouldn’t have invaded. And guess what, you are right. Give Putin everything he wants and I can ensure you that he would not have invaded and we would not be facing WWIII now. But what we would have is a Ukraine like Belarus. A puppet country to Russia and Russia knocking on Polands doors and requesting exactly the same of them. You do not stop bully’s by giving them your lunch money. I would have thought you would know that, but then maybe you think not having a bloody nose is worth losing your milk money.

  12. Neil Ross Hutchings

    October 8, 2022 at 8:33 am

    Unfortunate that Davis did not delay this article until after the Kerch bridge attack this morning. I suspect we are about to see what many have feared, and what many have wanted, full mobilization of the Russian military. I wonder what Beijing is thinking.

  13. Bender

    October 8, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Daniel Davis should rejoin Steven Seagal in Russia…

  14. Jon

    October 8, 2022 at 10:22 am

    It’s alright for Russia to make threats of using nuclear weapons, but not the US? Therefore, the US must do whatever Russia demands. In fact, the US must comply with nuclear threats from any party, in any circumstance.

    Deterrence will no longer matter, and nuclear blackmail will decide any conflict.

    I’m not sure how following that ‘logic’ leads to a better future for Ukraine, the US, or the rest of the world.

  15. marcjf

    October 8, 2022 at 10:25 am

    I doubt Biden knows much these days. Someone is running the USA but it is not him.

    The concern is that rogue elements within the administration are making policy on the hoof, and in a manner uncoordinated with the positions of the wiser heads. We see constant escalation by the USA – as long as one retains a functioning brain – and you have to wonder what the end game here is envisaged to be?

  16. Freeborn John

    October 9, 2022 at 3:26 am

    Disappointing to see Daniel Davis doubling-down on the Lord Haw Haw articles. The gap between his predictions and eventual outcomes is what has destroyed his credibility.

  17. Tamerlane

    October 9, 2022 at 10:39 am

    You Ukrainian warmongering trolls are unhinged. 1) Russia is at war over what they believe, at all levels of society, is an existential issue, and they will kill a million, or a billion to protect their own country and its existence—what part of this is difficult to comprehend? 2) Ukraine is not the ally of NATO and the U.S. Contrary to what you Ukrainians trolling on here yet again assert, the call for anything shy of full nuclear escalation with the world’s greatest nuclear power is not appeasement, but realism, unlike your utopian pro-bloodbath stupidity. 3) NATO/the U.S., deny they are at war (certainly the U.S. is not at war lawfully) and would have zero legal basis to intervene against Russia should Russia use a nuclear weapon against Ukraine. If they the Russians do, the use of it is on warmongering idiot Biden’s hands.

    Gary writes: “Davis is channeling his inner Neville Chamberlain. Fooling himself into believing that Russia could have been talked down from invading. If only we would have given up more and more of Ukraine to him. This theory has been disproven so many times it’s hard to believe Davis is still peddling it.”

    Actually, Davis is channeling his inner George Washington, by correctly understanding that not only could this war have been easily avoided by treating Russia’s valid security concerns as legitimate, but that it should be ended prior to an escalation caused by the west which kills billions. Of course we should have simply offered him what he required, as we would, neutrality for Ukraine and a federally autonomous system in which Russian speakers are autonomous. That’s all, and this would have prevented war. Instead, people like you, the Tojo’s of this site, have clamored for hitlerian “total victory”, refusing to retreat an inch even at the cost of placing billions of people at tremendous risk. It’s amazingly irresponsible, callous, and morally evil. Gary, you openly care more for Ukrainian’s political power than you do for the lives of Americans. It is morally disgusting.

    Once again your history is entirely wrong. History has proven that when the U.S. and NATO unjustifiably expand and encroach on Russia, Putin will respond by using whatever force is necessary to secure the Russian people and homeland. He has learned correctly, the cost of appeasing the collective west is just yet more aggression and expansion east from it. Russia twice took the collective west at their word, and twice in the past 25 years NATO committed aggressive wars of expansion against non-members through force. He has learned the lesson that NATO and D.C. Democrats cannot be appeased. Kosovo being illegally carved off of Yugoslavia by force and a sham referendum and Libya’s regime change aggressive war of choice by NATO prove the folly of appeasing western aggression. Putin has learned this, and is willing to do whatever is necessary to counter these threats to Russia.

    The last time Putin reacted, the U.S. had just launched a coup overthrowing a pro-Russian democratically elected government in Ukraine and replaced it with a rabidly anti-Russian client state which denied free elections and quite literally burned hundreds of anti-coup civilians alive. Putin acted to mitigate this, and seized strategically critical infrastructure which would otherwise be placed into encroaching NATO hands. It is precisely when he is threatened or perceived Russia is about to be fundamentally threatened as a great power that he strikes. This is why pro Biden fools like Gary and Goran and Neutered Doc and the rest of these anti-American trolls are so morally repugnant. They seek to turn a bad situation into an intolerable and incredibly bloody one in which Russia will be compelled by further western encroachment to respond, perhaps with nukes, to protect its sovereign interests. Their policy preference will cause war, as it has multiple times in the past decades.

    This time Putin perceived the American trained and equipped Ukrainian Army was preparing for a massive assault on Donbas, and reacting to this threat (and understanding what retaking the borders of Ukraine would mean for Ukraine’s NATO application), he did what any prudent statesman would do, he avoided this fate, and pre-empted the Ukrainian blow. Putin attacked out of weakness when threatened, and he will do so again.

    Biden has been precisely wrong on everything in his presidency—particularly with his causing the Ukraine war. Guys like Gary have never served this country, and don’t understand that Biden has harmed American national security and the rule of law in the United States (essentially committing the U.S. to a war without any authorization from Congress) and is jeopardizing and placing in harm’s way unnecessarily billions of lives in order to impose his will on others.

    The risk of nuclear war grows daily, contrary to Gary’s idiotic shambling denials. It will increase the more NATO and the U.S. attempt to corner Russia, something Gary/Goran/Neutered/Bender call for like an angry teenager who doesn’t her her way every day. Russia cannot afford to give in to this type of blackmail, agreeing voluntarily to be foundationally weakened, precisely because it has been pushed so often and so deep. Putin knows that Biden and the neoconservative chicken hawks won’t be content and won’t stop there in Ukraine by simply overthrowing it’s government and moving American troops up to Moscow’s doorstep, they wish to dominate the world by any means fair or foul and prevent a Russian self-government not submitted to Biden’s hard leftist global agenda. Pushing Putin will, as it has before, result in him pushing back. He is highly unlikely to compromise further, and the worse the Russian army does conventionally, the greater the odds of this conflict going nuclear. For Russia to back down in the face of western encroachment would be to accept being shorn and neutered, and they won’t accept that. The west should understand this before Biden kills not only our economy, but loses our very lives.

    Bender/Walker/Goran/Neutered/Gary: the 30s are calling, Tojo wants his foreign policy back.

  18. Tamerlane

    October 9, 2022 at 11:00 am

    As implausible as it may seem to you, the Russians believe this to be true and reality. That’s important because if you’re going to go all “reductio ad hitlerum” yet again, my historically proven wrong innumerable times interventionist chickenhawk “friends”, at least know who to direct the criticism towards.

  19. Goran

    October 9, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    Your claim: this is about NATO encroachment
    Reality: Russia already borders several NATO countries

    So, the entire discussion, every single word written or spoken on this is a difference of opinion on how Putin gets to decide that Finland in NATO does not warrant war and Ukraine in NATO does. You think it is based on genuine concern over NATO boogeyman enslaving Russia, I think it’s opportunism of a wannabe tsar that wanted to pick on someone he thought was weak. We don’t have to call each other names over this difference in opinion.

  20. H.R. Holm

    October 9, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    All sorts of war-rooters here, and a connected question therefore has to be: Who are the chickenhawks *now*? These people claiming ‘we have to stand up to Putin no matter what’,falsely equating appeasement of him with Hitler (Hitler continually demanded a lot more, in a lot more publically belligerent manner, read the history), Putin only wanted Ukraine not to join NATO and hence not to host any NATO bases. Yeh, the chickenhawks have been blowharding so much the last six months so now we have Polish officials demanding the U.S. move nuclear weapons (and presumably, their launch platforms) onto Polish soil. Oh, that’s all we need—think the Russians wouldn’t be utterly tempted to stand in the way of that? Then Pathetic Joe recklessly goes off about risking ‘Armageddon’. These people are the insane ones and need to be put out of power one way or another, almost more so than Mr. Putin. But at least with the U.S. government, there unfortunately seems no one available near the top of the government pecking order willing to take real action themselves with genuine courage, willing to sacrifice everything to stop an increasingly doddering old nutbag bent on killing us all. Not only that, I don’t see any of these chickenhawks volunteering themselves for their sworn goal to actually stop the Russian army in Ukraine—-no Lincoln Brigades forming to be swooned over as heroes by a modern-day Ernest Hemingway, or whomever else (maybe that fool Ben Stiller, so slobberingly fawn-kissing up to Zelensky.) Yeh, we can just imagine that political vampire John Brennan and his Igor-like sidekick James Clapper as the generals in charge of all the volunteers, and maybe we can include Hunter Biden among them—-wait, he wouldn’t go unless maybe he could figure out a way to grift a few million bucks out of it first. Get real, chickiehawks, Putin isn’t going to attack any other NATO country out of the blue after Ukraine. Like he really wants, say, Moldava, not exactly a hi-tech prize. Why is it those of the mindset that so demanded peace and love from Vietnam thru the 80s now want to go charging into that they so erstwhile-ly raged about?

  21. Eric

    October 10, 2022 at 10:56 am

    On March 28, 2022, Zelensky offered neutrality status with respect to NATO; the offer was not accepted by Putin. If NATO was the real primary reason for the invasion, Putin would have likely accepted this offer. Putin wanted Kiev and all of eastern and southern Ukraine. When Finland joined NATO, no big deal.

    Ukraine currently has more mobilized and trained personnel (since they started mobilization efforts on February 24, 2022 they had a 7 month head start). Russia’s training battallion commanders have been seen fighting in Ukraine. So not only will Rusia have to reconstitute forces, but they will have to reconstitute their training battallions to be able to train their mobilized forces; that will take time, but is not impossible.

    Ukraine currently has better material (Western supplied weapons) and a continuing supply, while Russia has run low on precision guided munitions and has a smaller ability to manufacture them under the current economic sanctions. Russia probably has the capability to mobilze and train more troops, given enough time.

    However, Russia’s willingness to flood the battlefield with hundreds of thousands of poorly trained and poorly equipped troops is a recipe for hundreds of thousands of Russian men’s deaths.

    “the chances are high that Putin would cross the nuclear threshold” … based on what evidence? Russia has a nuclear doctrine. You could read it. If we give in to Putin’s nuclear threats and bullying every time, he will be in charge of every territory he wants. Even if he does use tactical nukes or cause a reactor meltdown “accident” at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, I don’t see how that helps him win his war to capture and control Ukraine. As for strategic nuclear weapons, that does not help either; Russians know that the consequences of large scale nuclear war are existential.

    Ukrainians have a right to defend themselves and we should continue to help them, regardless of Putin’s threats.

  22. Gary Jacobs

    October 10, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    HR Holm,

    Your mention of Moldova is rather ironic considering Russia’s troops currently in Transnistria, which is a section of Moldova that Russia has treated exactly the way it did with the Donbas in Ukraine. There are of course Russian speakers there, many of them have been forcibly Russified, or are Russian transplants. And as Ukrainians have repeatedly proven, most of the Russian speakers there want nothing to do with Russia ever again.

    Furthermore Russia made no secret of its original intention to invade Ukraine all the way to Odessa, which borders Transnistria…thereby giving Russia a land bridge all the way to Moldova from Russia through Ukraine. If you really believe that Putin would not have gone after the rest of Moldova from there, I have a bridge in the Kerch Strait I can sell you. He has after all giving public speeches about his affinity for Peter “the great” who is of course known for invading other countries and stealing their land. The city of St. Petersburg in Russia used to belong to Sweden until 1703.

    Putin has made it his mission to undermine and divide NATO, and if you actually believe that Putin would not have ever tested article 5 of NATO over some of the smaller Baltic States, Poland, or Romania… I have a few more bridges over the Dnipro I can sell you.

    You are one in a long line of Putin apologists who pretend you understand the situation, when you clearly do not.

    FYI: parts of my family were victims of the Russian pogroms, and The Holocaust. I have studied the history of this region for 40 years, You would be hard pressed to find someone who understand both the current events and history better than I do. My reference to Davis channeling his inner Neville Chamberlain stands firm.

  23. Kevthepope

    October 10, 2022 at 3:06 pm

    Putin didn’t invade to deter Ukraine’s NATO membership and the sh*t fit he had when Ukraine joined the EU, an economic union since the EU is not NATO, shows his true and biggest goal, from his own inner circle that fled no less spouting it and warning the West, is to reassemble the band, aka the Soviet Union. He would be after Moldova next, and the Georgians probably on the menu. If the west really wants to negotiate anything with him, it’s to get him on the page that anybody can join NATO and the EU, and perhaps its time for him to join “as an equal” with the NATO equivalent alliance and in that way it’s a win-win for his economy and eventually military. That will never happen of course, as they can bring up past Nazi and Napoleon invasions but can’t scare Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents of a Chinese invasion of the territories basically bullied from pre-superpower China. China could take the Amur/Jewish Oblasts and Primorsky Krai in a month, hell, the Khabarovsk province as well. want to prevent him using nukes? We have a massive surplus, give 50 to the Ukrainians, let them test one underground near the Russian border and announce it to the world we have them, so don’t use one on us or else. Peace can be negotiated then and only then, but right now, if Putin is going to lose face and perhaps get deposed, and of course shot, then he’s going to do something radically stupid. And we have Biden to well, uh, he’ll forget what he would do. At least he’s not put the US into war, but announcing what we wouldn’t do encouraged Putin pretty well to launch that invasion. Want to let Putin have some cake? Tell him to invade one of the “….Stans” countries instead. They are a mess anyway, basically already having border wars with each other, let him have the worst couple and he can brag that to his mindless dolts that seem to have no issues even questioning any aspect of what he does barring some of the youth out there.

  24. David Sofer

    October 10, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you, Lt Col Davis.
    This is an indescribably dangerous situation that requires all points of view to be represented.
    It is very disappointing that there are readers of your posts who are so irrationally over reactive to your mere exercise of free speech.
    It is obvious to anybody rational that there is a shortage of real rational and logical insight to drive our national security establishment in this crisis, you are correct to continuously repeat that our government needs to protect our interests first.
    You are performing an invaluable service as a counterweight to this current rendition of that endless parade of failed generals and intelligence officials and their mainstream media puppet masters who have consistently led America down the wrong pathways since the 1960s.
    Thank you again, Lt Col Davis.

  25. Anon

    October 11, 2022 at 6:59 am

    How does this guy still write here. By far the worst articles on this site.

  26. jojo

    October 11, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    It’s incredible how many BS Russian talking points that Daniel Davis incorporates into his ravings. I wonder what incriminating evidence Putin has on him to make him such an apologist for Russian fascismz

  27. Froike

    October 12, 2022 at 10:32 am

    “Change Course”…This POS cant change his own DEPENDS!

  28. VictoryUkraine

    October 12, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    I’ve been following Daniel Davis’ column on 19fortyfive since the invasion of Ukraine. First his columns were about Russia winning when it wasn’t and that Ukraine was destroying lives and material in a losing cause. Now he’s shifted to a nuclear exchange? His agenda is to get the US uninvolved in Ukraine. Why? Follow the money I think

  29. Tamerlane

    October 12, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    Yes, “VictoryforUkrainianTrolls”, Davis, like me and many other Americans who have worn the uniform, have an agenda to oppose American entry into WWIII with Russia—one which we would lose (not because we couldn’t so easily win conventionally, but precisely because we would win it so handily conventionally).

    Gary:

    As usual, your tremendous ignorance and personal animus combine to lead you into a hubristic endorsement of escalation into Armageddon. The hell with a few hundred million Americans if it satiates your personal familial burning lust for revenge!! We get the message.

  30. Tamerlane

    October 12, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    Gary:

    I’ll try one more time here though I generally deliberately write past you targeting the readership by demonstrating the poorly reasoned nature of your incredibly hubristic bellicosity, I am tempted to try to reason with an amateur like you.

    First, I’d recommend you read Luttwak’s “The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire”, and Hayek’s “The Fatal Conceit”. The former discusses the limits of hard and soft power even for the most powerful western state of late antiquity/medieval period. It describes how the Byzantines preserved their state for a thousand years after the fall of Rome by comprehending the limits of power and the impact of hubris. It reveals how they shed utopian hubris (in policy if not in personal view) regarding the relative barbarity of the innumerable foes all around them, and how they maintained their power and freedom as a state for so long. It’s worth a gander, you might learn something. The latter discusses the reason why both imperial interventions abroad to remake the world in one’s own image, and domestic governmental interventions into the economy fail and result in dislocation, loss; and a degradation of the society it purportedly is enacted to benefit. Combined, they both show why Petraeus’ counterinsurgency manual’s “strategy” was and is doomed to failure. If you have time beyond that, consult Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War for an introduction to how states exist in a state of nature with one another and how realpolitik prevails ultimately over emotion, even broad based democratic societies’ emotional convictions on “justice/injustice”.

    Let me pose a few questions here, and I’d urge you to think a few steps down the road about where a particular answer will lead.

    -Why do you believe Putin is “bs[ing]” here?
    -What are the consequences if he is not bsing?

    -If Putin is not bluffing regarding Ukraine and Russia views, regardless of the merit of that conviction, Ukraine’s entrance into NATO as a non-negotiable redline, what are the consequences and effects of American intervention escalating?

    -Are you prepared to go to nuclear war over Ukraine?

    -If so, why is nuclear war over Ukraine in the United States’ national interest?

    -If Putin is not bluffing, what will the likely consequence of Ukraine prevailing conventionally using American arms, training, intelligence, and guidance/direction? Meaning, what will Russia’s reaction be?

    -How do you reach the conclusion that the United States should treat Ukraine, a non-ally, as an ally, guaranteeing them up to and through nuclear war?

    -For six months, I have warned of the negative economic consequences to the United States of this intervention (and today even you of all people note Russia and OPEC slashing production to drive up our prices and place tremendous pain on the west), and you here note that “we don’t need them”, well, why would we lose a chance to pry Russia from
    China’s orbit and instead willfully push them into a full fledged openly anti-American alliance with China and India (and co) representing over half the world’s population? How do we gain from this?

    -Does not your logic, extended from Ukraine ton Khashoggi and Saudi’s various dalliances/invasion of Yemen, dictate that we also refuse to do business with Saudi? After all, do you not deny the efficacy of realpolitik there as you do with regards to Ukraine?

    -If Russia does in fact view Ukraine in NATO as an existential threat, why does it follow that they will allow themselves to be constrained by Chinese or Indian concerns on the matter?

    -You write that “[n]ations do not wage war for war’s sake but in pursuance of policy in which a better state of peace is the main objective.” Why do you not believe this is the objective of Russia here?

    -Is it not likely that Russia’s optimal result would indeed be to absorb Ukraine’s defense industry and a well-functioning agricultural industry, but that this goal is secondary to the primary goal of preventing Ukraine from being absorbed into an anti-Russian alliance? Does it not follow then that escalation to prevent total defeat/salvage the primary objective is more likely than walking away, particularly when the executive authority is concentrated in one man with little accountability?

    -does not the last six (6) months of Russian survival in the face of unprecedented western sanctions prove the opposite, that Russia does not need western trade, as they hold the product, and we the dollars?

    -Why do you believe an unconditional surrender compelled by nuclear weapons would not be recognized by the global south/BRICs/OPEC? Our use of nuclear weapons to avoid several million casualties at the end of WWII was recognized, was it not?

    -Does Russia lack the capability to operate in Ukraine if it for instance uses a nuke as an EMP over 2/3rds of the country, or uses such a weapon on any number of logistical hubs throughout Ukraine?

    -What deterrence will prevent a country from
    Using nuclear weapons when faced with an existential threat? When the alternative is indefensibility, is not the use rendered more and not less likely, particularly when used against a non-nuclear power? What is the deterrence here? The U.S. would have to declare war on Russia to lawfully respond militarily in such a scenario, would it not?

    -Did not Kennedy threaten nuclear war when Russia acted on its defensive pact with Cuba and moved missiles into “our” hemisphere? Was that a bs bluff also, or do countries have existential interests profound enough to overpower the reluctance to utilize such weapons?

    -How would the United States or NATO, “non-participants” in the Ukraine war, be “defeated” when we are not combatants and are inactive?

    -Did not Russia invade Georgia in response to American announcements to admit Georgia to NATO in the face of Russia saying: “hey, no, Ukraine and Georgia are our Cuba, and you can’t be that close to us with NATO”?

    -Is not Russian intervention to secure vital resources and military installations in Crimea in 2014 a reaction to American fostering of a coup overthrowing a democratically elected government in Ukraine?

    -Is not China, and not Russia, our primary adversary? Does not the addition of Russia to China weaken our strategic position relative to how it existed previous to the war?

    -If Russia will go to whatever ends are needed to prevent Ukrainian entry into NATO, is it not a fool’s errand harmful to American strategic interests to push Russia and the developing world into the Chinese communist’s arms?

    -Does not your bellicosity and desire to “reduce”
    Russia into a “greatly diminished Russia” signal to all other non western countries the need to restrain American power and band together to oppose it?

    -Does not American violation of 20+ years of Russian red lines signal to Russia and other non-western states that the United States is an aggressively expansionist power which necessitates collective anti-American action (like OPEC+’s today)?

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