Do we think Putin is joking?

Almost exactly 60 years ago, on October 14, 1962, a U.S. spy plane discovered nuclear missiles in Cuba. America and Soviet Russia came to the brink of destroying life on Earth. Ultimately this was avoided, with both sides compromising. However, it seems that the passage of time has not made us any wiser. Today, 60 years later, humanity once again faces the possibility of total destruction.

The possibility of nukes, even tactical ones, being used by a leader whose country has enough nuclear bombs to destroy the Earth hundreds, maybe thousands of times over, is chilling. But it’s spoken about…like it’s no big deal. Like it’s merely… “kind of destructive” but which can be limited to just one city… like Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Except Japan didn’t have nuclear weapons then. Otherwise, if it had them, it would have definitely used them. As America would do today, possibly through NATO, if Russia uses them. And so today the question is, as the Wall Street Journal puts it in the headline of its article: “The Question on Putin’s Mind: Would We Risk New York to Keep Odessa Free?”

It is difficult to imagine that America would put New York on the same scale as Odessa. On the other hand, can we surrender Odessa without opening a ‘sack of Aeolus’ or ‘Pandora’s box’ on the international stage?

These are difficult questions.

Especially regarding a desperate man like Putin.


My fellow TNH colleague Theodore Kalmoukos often uses the word “tragicomedy” to describe phenomena that are pitiful and laughable all at once.

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