Is Biden's 'Armageddon' talk helpful or 'reckless'?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

President Biden warned last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine raised "the prospect of Armageddon" to a degree not seen since the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. "We're trying to figure out: What is Putin's off-ramp?" Biden said in a New York fundraiser. "Where, where does he get off? Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position that he does not — not only lose face, but lose significant power within Russia?"

Biden's message, says David E. Sanger in The New York Times, was that "he was heeding one of the central lessons of the Cuban Missile Crisis," which was that it was important to leave room for the kind of negotiations that defused the Cuban Missile Crisis by avoiding pushing "Putin's back to the wall, forcing him to strike out." But critics and even some allies said it was dangerous to bring talk of possible nuclear war into the open, because any misstep could be costly. French President Emmanuel Macron said it was important to "speak with prudence" about such matters. Mike Pompeo, who served as former President Donald Trump's secretary of state, called Biden's ramped-up rhetoric "reckless." Is Biden helping to rally support for finding an "off-ramp" in Ukraine, or is he making the situation more dangerous?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.