Pentagon Walks Back Biden’s Warning Of Nuclear Armageddon in Ukraine – In a press briefing on Friday, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder revealed that U.S. intelligence does not suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
During the press conference, Ryder didn’t rule out the possibility that the Kremlin may take the historic and consequential decision to deploy weapons of mass destruction, but did appear to walk back President Joe Biden’s warning of nuclear “Armageddon.”
“In terms of the nuclear threats, we’ve talked about this. Many people in our government and in the international community, to include Secretary Austin, have highlighted the fact that this nuclear saber-rattling is reckless and irresponsible,” Ryder said.
“As I’ve mentioned before, at this stage we do not have any information that would cause us to change our strategic deterrence posture, and we don’t assess that President Putin has made a decision to use nuclear weapons at this time.”
Ryder said that the U.S. Department of Defense is taking the matter seriously and will continue to monitor the threat and added that the White House’s focus is on “supporting Ukraine.”
The comments come after President Joe Biden said during a Democratic fundraiser in New York that the world is closer to a nuclear catastrophe than at any other point in the last sixty years.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” Biden said.
Would A Nuclear Strike Work?
The Institute for the Study of War argued in a special report published on September 30 that the use of nuclear weapons wouldn’t actually work in Putin’s favor. Instead, the American think tank says, a nuclear attack “would be highly unlikely to force Ukraine or the West to surrender.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that Putin wouldn’t use nuclear weapons. Instead, the Russian president may use the weapons to “change the operational environment” in a way that benefits his soldiers on the battlefield.
The use of nuclear weapons would still be a huge gamble for Putin, however. Not only would he face the very real possibility of a retaliatory strike, but he would also face yet more domestic pressure to bring the conflict to an end, or potentially even a coup. A nuclear strike could even cause friction with some of Putin’s closest allies, including China, given that the West could respond with yet more sanctions not just on Russia but on the country’s closest economic and political allies.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.