The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 still resonates in the psyche of the average American at the closest the country ever came to hurtling toward the Apocalypse. Hence, this Thursday’s mention of that episode by the president, Joe Biden, cannot be taken lightly. Biden went further during a fundraiser in New York for the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee by stating that the risk of a nuclear “Armageddon” is closer than ever since, due to the Russian threat to use tactical weapons of that kind to respond to the setbacks suffered at the hands of the Ukrainian army on the front lines of the war that has been raging for eight months on European soil.
Biden said he didn’t think Russian President Vladimir Putin, a guy he knows “pretty well,” he added, “is joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.” And then he added: “We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon like this since [la presidencia de] Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis”.
The US president is also wary of the possibility that the Kremlin plans to use lower-ranking weapons. “I don’t think it’s easy to use them without triggering an apocalypse,” he said.
The statements have been collected by the media present at the event, designed to reinforce the party’s options before the next legislative elections on November 8. These words by Biden, a president with a proven ability to get into trouble with things he blurts out lightly, contradict the analyzes of some senior US officials, such as the spokesman for the National Security Council, John Kirby, who have assured this same week that they do not observe indications in the Russian forces that suggest a change in attitude towards the idea of a nuclear escalation. “We have seen no reason to adjust our strategic posture, nor do we have any indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons imminently,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis (and, especially, during the weeks that preceded the beginning of the invasion), the US intelligence services have used a tactic that some analysts have defined as the “megaphone strategy”, consisting of keeping an eye on very little of the information they were gathering about the intentions of the Kremlin. At times it seemed like an exaggerated and risky option, but many of the forecasts launched during those weeks of last winter ended up being fulfilled.
Putin has repeatedly raised the specter of his country’s vast nuclear arsenal. For the last time, he did so in mid-September, when he announced a massive conscription in Russia to serve on the Ukrainian front. “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction… and when we see the territorial integrity threatened, in order to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all means at our disposal,” the Russian president threatened on September 21. .
The Cuban missile crisis, those 13 days in the fall of 1962 that followed the discovery by the United States of the secret deployment of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union on the island, almost brought the planet to a stage of annihilation. nuclear. Washington gathered evidence that Moscow had several launch pads in Cuba for medium-range ballistic rockets with a nuclear payload of one megaton, 77 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, and with the ability to reach the heart of the United States. Joined. So, the thing did not get bigger. And Kennedy beat the president of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, the strategic game.