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CMU professor says Putin escalation should be taken seriously

Clark Gu

The recent nuclear threat is on par with the Cuban Missile Crisis, said Dr. David Jesuit. But the CMU professor says one comment Biden made in a speech could signal a more likely end to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Biden mentioned finding an “off-ramp” to the crisis. Jesuit said no one knows what that may be. Whatever it is, he said it would have to let Putin save face.

“That’s what I mean is somehow he needs to be able to go back and claim that his military aggression was worth it," Jesuit said.

The threat of Armageddon has risen, but he said it’s still not the likely conclusion to the war in Ukraine.

A nuclear strike likely would not involve the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles, he said. Those are weapons talked about during the Cold Warm that would lead to mutually assured destruction.

Rather, Jesuit said Putin would most likely use tactical nukes small enough to target military bases.

"But the danger is of course there," he said. "They can begin this tit-for-tat escalation. I mean there’s negative spiral of escalation that would occur that could lead to, like Biden said, armageddon.

Talk of nuclear options could be a strategy by Putin to try and halt U.S. aid or to bring countries to the bargaining table with Putin on top, Jesuit said.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.