With the weapons reinforcements Ukrainians will now be receiving, they will be able to hold off Russia’s attacks and even push them back. As things stand, the Russians will be no match for properly armed Ukrainians.
Soon, therefore, Putin will increase his threats to fire nuclear weapons on the West and at some point, as his losses mount, he will either accept defeat or draw the line and say to us, ‘if you do that, I’ll fire my nuclear missiles’.
Ignoring the threat is an option. It may work and he won’t follow through. But it may not.
Putin’s reliance on mercenary troops from the Wagner Group suggests there are serious rifts within his military, with career officers objecting to the political rise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the group and his using prisoners as soldiers.
Even if Putin were to give the order to fire the nuclear weapons, the military may not follow through. Why be Putin’s sacrificial lambs?
However, there’s a strong ultranationalist faction in Russia pushing the war which may be present within the military which adds to the uncertainty.
But what if Putin makes it very clear he will use his nuclear weapons, say gives us a deadline to retreat or something alike?
Then the threat will have to be met. Head on.
He would be leaving us no options.
Mr Biden, you once called Putin a killer, a statement of the facts. The outrage he’d stirred in you made you say those words. Nothing less would’ve conveyed the fulness of your feelings.
Since then he’s become many times that killer.
Putin is a failed statesman. He’s done nothing but thwart the potential of Russia.
With all their human capabilities and natural resources they have not risen to be a leading nation. That is on Putin and he knows it. And it weighs on him.
He compares himself with other leaders and realizes he’s not produced, which is the price of autocracy and corruption, of surrounding yourself with ‘Yes men and women’ who’re not able to provide effective feedback for fear of offending the great man or because they’re too busy enriching themselves.
Putin is filled with anger at the world. Anger that comes from his envy which is enormous.
His ideas about a Russian empire are born out of that resentment. He tried to fool us with his lies and threats, ‘Listen up, you heathen, come look at my magnificent robes and my crown filled with diamonds and pearls, I am the true master of this earth. We, Russians, are the true chosen people who will enlighten and inspire the rest of you.’
And to show us how resolute he was, he lifted his heavy boot and planted it on the soul of Ukraine wanting to squash it and tear it apart. Never mind how many died as a result.
But Ukraine surprised everyone when they raged and said, ‘get your foot off me, you dunce!’ And they have given him a good shove back in a feat of heroism without precedent.
Ukraine’s resolve is so daring and unique that it has generated envy even in the West.
Nations complaining that Ukraine should be preparing to negotiate instead of fighting, nations who are reluctant to offer support, are also envious nations, envious of her courage and defiance.
So, yes, envious Putin has company among nations in the West.
Lamentably, there is the strong possibility that very soon a retreating Putin, so in love with himself that he sees no other options, will be saying to us, ‘You leave me no choice, I will have to fire my nuclear weapons.’
And we will have to step up to meet him eye to eye.
Mr Biden, from that same place deep inside of you from where the words that Putin is a killer flowed, your answer to the Russian will come.
‘You want to set the world on fire?’ you may say to him.
And Putin may answer, ‘if you don’t stop aiding Ukraine, I will do it.’
‘If you fire your weapons, we will fire back… do you really want to see your Moscow and St Petersburg in flames?’
‘Ha! Watch your cities do the same…’
‘What’s the point, Putin? There will be no winners… we would all lose… you and me… your children… my children… all of us would be losers… we would set back the progress of civilization by who knows how many years… just because you’re angry that you couldn’t lead your nation… angry that the world has not fallen in love with you… angry that you’ve failed in Ukraine… angry at your limitations as a leader. Why have so many people die … why?’
Putin will not have a coherent reply because there is none and he knows it. His dream of empire is just a fantasy, a distraction from his crumbling grandiosity. And yet, with raging fury, his shallowness as a human being exposed, he may insist, ‘I’ll do what I need to do,’ and hang up the phone.
Mr Biden, as soon as the conversation is over, you would do well to call up Xi Jinping to inform him of the situation.
‘Xi… just got off the phone with Putin, your friend “without limits”. He’s told me he’s ready to use nuclear weapons.’
A pause may follow.
‘Just to be clear, Xi… if Putin does that… we will fire back. All of the West will. I do not know who will be left standing. Maybe it will be Putin, maybe it will be us. But Xi, you must know… that if Putin fires a nuclear weapon in our direction… nuclear weapons from us will also be flying back in your direction, too.’
‘What?’ will answer Xi. ‘Why us? It’s not our war.’
‘It’s everybody’s war. No one is spared. The world is at war.’
‘You are trying to rule all of us…’ Xi may reply in outrage.
‘I’m giving you a warning… and I have a suggestion for you, too.’
‘We don’t have to all burn… and see who remains standing at the end… it doesn’t have to happen… so Xi… please listen carefully… you could… which I strongly advice… turn around the nuclear weapons you have now pointed at us and aim them instead at Moscow and St Petersburg… then call up your dear friend Vladimir to inform him.’
‘Please… and keep in touch.’
Biden hangs up.
Xi may then call Putin and say, “Vladimir… you can’t threaten the West with nuclear weapons without consulting with me…’
‘How do you know?’
‘Biden just called.’
‘If you do… America will nuke us, too.”’
To which Putin may reply, ‘Xi, this is our moment, let us both fire on America and the West… we will be rid of the monster… and the world will be ours to split.’
‘You’re mad… and drunk with power… and I will not go along anymore.’
‘Not go along?’ says Putin. ‘What does that mean?’
‘Exactly that… I will not go along.’
An irate, exasperated Putin may press Xi, ‘You mean you will do nothing if the West fires back at me? Don’t you think I know they will fire at you, too?’
‘You know that?’ Xi may say.
‘Of course, the West wants everything for themselves…’
‘You say you know that, but you never brought it up with me, Vladimir… all the while you’ve been making threats…’
‘It’s obvious…’ Putin may reply.
And Xi will frown and say ‘That’s all I needed to hear.’
And he hangs up.
It could happen. Just as stated. And then it might not. So, Mr President, you have to be ready, don’t you? The whole world is already at war. Pretending it’s not, is a mistake.
As you tilt back in your chair at the Oval Office, you may reflect… ‘China is sitting prettier than Russia. They have no desire for a nuclear confrontation. Thus, Putin’s threats have limits.
Let us not forget that as we push on with our military aid to Ukraine.
And Xi may well pivot his nuclear weapons in Putin’s direction.
So… fully arming Ukraine to push Russia back to behind its borders is doable… very doable… in fact… necessary.’
So here’s the Putin Paradox. If we stand up to him now, he’s much less likely to carry out his threat. But if we act as if we’re willing to sacrifice Ukraine, he will be further emboldened. And this may lead him to want even more territory which may push us into a corner, making the threat of nuclear war, a greater possibility.