President Biden’s High-Risk Game of “Nuclear Chicken”

President Biden’s High-Risk Game of “Nuclear Chicken”

American Values 2024 | June 11, 2024

By Blake Fleetwood, Columnist, The Kennedy Beacon

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and his US-NATO allies are panicking. Ukraine forces are heading for a military catastrophe. The Russian army is moving rapidly toward Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The Russians have recently taken 50 square miles and captured a dozen villages. If nothing changes, Russia is on track to win more and more territory.

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This is a land war, and Zelensky has insufficient troops to win or even defend his country in such a war. Ukraine simply can’t win. Russia is more likely than not to prevail on the battlefield, as it seems now to be doing,

Zelensky lowered the draft age and is even trying to draft Ukrainians who have fled the country. He is desperate to bring the war to a new stage, to fight in a different way.

This explains why he has lobbied for more advanced US jets, long-range missiles, and drones that are capable of striking deep inside Russia. But that would reverse a long-term US position that American bombs and other long-range weapons not be used within Russian territory.

The US and NATO are also threatening to bring ground troops to the battlefield – a red line for Russia. These recent developments are leading to more Russian threats to deploy tactical nuclear bombs.

Earlier US policy has reflected President Biden’s mandate to “avoid World War III,” according to an article in The New York Times. However, the consensus around that policy is fraying, and Biden is making a big bet, possibly to bolster political polls that paint him as ineffectual and slipping. Biden has not explained why a change of such monumental significance is worth the risk of a potentially civilization-ending nuclear war.

The Ukrainian military – with Biden’s recent approval – is now firing US, British, and German missiles at civilian and military targets at the Russian border, and deeper inside the country, in an attempt to bring NATO into an all-out war with Russia.

Donald Trump has been boasting at private fundraisers that he will bomb Moscow, Beijing, and North Korea to protect the Zelensky regime, according to Washington Post reporting.

Neither of the major-party presidential candidates has even acknowledged the existential danger and risk of nuclear war.

Only Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is talking about it. He said the recent Ukraine escalation is “getting out of control” after some of Russia’s nuclear early warning systems were targeted and destroyed.

Pentagon modeling predicts that 90 million Americans would die in the first few minutes of a nuclear war with Russia and 90 million over the next six months. Those are probably underestimates. It’s time to bring the adults back into the room, says Kennedy.

Kennedy contrasted the current lack of direct communication channels with the historical measures taken by his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, to prevent accidental wars during the Cold War era, noting that we must talk to even our worst enemies.

Kennedy criticized Biden for not establishing a direct line of communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which he believes could avert potential catastrophic errors. He questioned the rationale behind the US strategy that seems to avoid dialogue with Putin, especially considering that in the past, the US has negotiated with “questionable” dictators.

Indeed, what is emerging in Ukraine is precisely the situation in which major NATO powers have said they might attack Russia.

Ukraine’s former reluctance to claim credit for attacks deep inside Russian territory, even as far as Moscow, has now disappeared. They are openly bragging about using long-range missiles to bomb inside Russia and hope to use the billions in new US-supplied weapons to extend this capability. Two weeks ago, UK foreign minister David Cameron said Ukraine has “the absolute right” to use long-range missiles to bomb Russia.

The United States and its NATO allies have already provided Ukraine with cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of more than 300 miles. These missiles are already capable of hitting some of the largest cities in Russia, including Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Rostov, and Volgograd. The new weapons, drones, and planes authorized by President Biden last Friday will be capable of targeting Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and indeed most of Russia.

Last month, President Emmanuel Macron of France said in an interview with The Economist that he would send in French troops if the Ukrainian front lines collapse (as might happen soon). Poland and the Baltic states supported his position.

Last week, there were unconfirmed reports that some French troops were already fighting in Ukraine, according to Stephen Bryen, former US undersecretary of defense. The 100 troops were from the French Foreign Legion. The Russian site has also reported Macron’s plan to send military instructors.

This weekend, as the desperate situation of the Ukrainian army and its NATO backers became evident, Macron went on X, formerly Twitter, to call on the NATO powers to be “ready to act.”

The latest escalation of the US-NATO war against Russia is rapidly spiraling from a proxy war into a full-scale war between nuclear-armed states. This is one of the most reckless decisions ever made by any American government, even during the Cold War.

European allies’ collaboration in this escalation is rivaled in its recklessness only by their catastrophic launching of World War I. It marks the first time that the US and its allies are directly targeting Russian territory with their weapons. Such actions were not taken even at the height of the Cold War, as it was assumed they would trigger a full-scale nuclear war.

The US media and mainstream politicians are trying to downplay the nuclear threat. They claim that Russia’s publicly stated, official military doctrine of using nuclear weapons to respond to attacks on its territory is a bluff.

“Time to call Putin’s bluff,” declared former Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger in an article on CNN’s website last week. Retired General Philip Breedlove, former ambassador Michael McFaul, Stanford professor Francis Fukuyama, and other former US officials wrote in a letter to the White House that “Russia’s demonstrably empty threats are successfully deterring the United States.”

Jason Pack, a gambling buddy of mine, wrote a provocative article in Foreign Policy magazine arguing that Putin is bluffing and that the US and NATO should call that bluff by going “All In” because we have the stronger hand in this gigantic poker game. But Jason, that’s quite a call to make.

This is not a stake in a poker game. We are betting on 180 million American lives and our entire civilization.

Putin may be a madman. But Ukraine means more to him than it does to us, and you never want to bluff with a berserker.

Blake Fleetwood was a reporter for The New York Times and has written on various topics for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Village Voice, The Atlantic, and Washington Monthly. Email:

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