It is likely that billions of people around the world view the conflict in Ukraine as a proxy war being waged by the U.S. against Russia. US President Joe Biden has pledged to aid Ukraine’s pursuit of victory “for as long as it takes,” without defining what the end state might be. Russian President Vladimir Putin has interpreted U.S. intentions to mean a fight “to the last Ukrainian.”
Anyone with a discernible pulse is aware of the danger that the conflict could escalate into a conflagration large and destructive enough to morph into World War III. The threshold would likely be crossed once nuclear weapons were unleashed. The military doctrines of all nuclear powers stipulate that such an attack would justify an in-kind response, though without always ruling out the same for lesser provocations of a potentially existential nature.
President Biden has said, “the world faces the biggest risk of nuclear Armageddon since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.” The context of Biden’s statement came a month earlier on September 21, 2022, when Putin warned the West he was not bluffing when he said he would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia against what he said was “nuclear blackmail.” Earlier, in an April 21, 2021, speech, Putin said:
We really do not want to burn bridges. But if someone mistakes our good intentions for indifference or weakness and intends to burn or even blow up these bridges, they must know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift, and tough. Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.
Another to speak of nuclear war has been former Russian president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of the Russian Security Council and one of Putin’s top advisers. Commenting on Ukraine’s highly touted but now failed 2023 “spring offensive,” Medvedev said in July 2023 that if Ukraine succeeded in taking Russian sovereign territory—including Crimea plus the four Donbass oblasts (regions) annexed by Russia last year—Russia “would have to use nuclear weapons by virtue of the Russian Presidential Decree.” This decree stated that any assault on Russian territory justified a nuclear response.
On Hiroshima Day, August 6, 2023, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The drums of nuclear war are beating once again. Mistrust and division are on the rise. The nuclear shadow that loomed over the Cold War has re-emerged.” One who has predicted world war has been UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace. On May 19, 2023, he warned “that the UK could enter a direct conflict with Russia and China in the next seven years and has called for an increase in military spending to counter the potential threat.” Speaking to London’s Financial Times, Wallace said: “A conflict is coming with a range of adversaries around the world.”
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.