Biden Talks Tough to Putin on Nukes

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than seven months now; the cost has been enormous.

An estimated 30,000 to 35,000 troops died on the Ukrainian side, with 50,000 to 70,000 dead on the Russian side. Meanwhile, the EU is also having Russia shut off its natural gas; the world’s economy is spiraling into inflation as the food market gets interrupted.

There’s a reason Putin didn’t invade under Trump and didn’t try this kind of bullying back then. It’s because he knew that 45 wouldn’t fold like a cheap lawn chair.

Joe Biden has shown he can’t even handle his own border, much less another country’s.┬áNonetheless, Biden is now talking tough at the Russian despot and the latest subject is nuclear war.

Biden to Vlad: Don’t Use Those Nukes

Joe Biden is no Donald Trump. For Democrats and those who elected him, this was supposed to be his main selling point, after all! He was rational, mature, and he cared about those precious “norms.”

We were told Biden would lead the world into a new era of peace and stability, but instead, we are two years into his presidency and the world is literally on fire.

Another part of the Biden difference is he’s more of an indirect communicator. Unlike Trump, who met the Russian leader head-on in Helsinki, Biden delivered threats to Putin from behind a TV screen, speaking on CBS News to warn about nuclear war.

In a threat to Putin, Biden said any use of nuclear or chemical weapons by Putin would lead to a very “consequential” strike back from the United States. He also said it would be the worst kind of bloodshed we’ve seen since the Second World War.

I don’t think it takes a genius to know that an escalation to nuclear war is not what any of us want. Clearly, Putin is a loose cannon who needs to be stopped.

So, why is Biden issuing this warning now?

Russia’s Recent Wreckage

The main reason this warning comes now is Russia is being decimated and pushed back in various areas of Ukraine, particularly in Kharkiv in the east.

Ukraine is pounding Kremlin forces; the US government is also sending billions in military aid to Ukraine, tipping the scales even further.

Biden’s warning was actually softer than it should have been. US officials are right to worry that Russia could go berserk if backed into a corner, but saying the response to them will “depend” on what they do is very weak-worded.

The response to Russia using nukes and chemical attacks should be first not made public; ┬ásecondly, if spoken about at all, it should not be anything about “depending” and grades of subtlety as if Biden is discussing terms of some contract.

This is war. This is real life. This is death and destruction. This isn’t a time for armchair generals.

The Biden Difference

Joe Biden is our president, whether we like it or not. He’s right to warn Putin. Though he needs to be much stronger and much more specific than issuing vague, demented threats on liberal TV.

Maybe Biden should have saved his scary red-light Philadelphia speech to warn Putin, instead of using it to threaten conservatives and call them enemies of democracy.

Though no, instead, Biden waited to issue a tastefully edited warning to the Russian strongman from the comfort of his armchair.

Putin is not a cartoon character; he’s a highly connected and massively wealthy Russian authoritarian. He’s not going to be scared off by an old man wagging his finger on TV.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.