NEWS AND OPINION:
Is there a chance that Russia President Vladimir Putin could use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine? Retired Navy Capt. Kevin “Mac” McGovern — a combat veteran and conservative Republican congressional candidate in central Florida — unpacks that idea.
“Moscow desires to be treated as a great power and believes nuclear weapons can be used to win a war. We in the United States view nuclear weapons as a tool for deterrence of war. Mutual assured destruction has been the principle of strategic deterrence since 1962. This principle was founded on the notion that a nuclear attack by one superpower would be met with an overwhelming nuclear counterattack such that both the attacker and the defender would be annihilated. Therefore, neither superpower would launch a first strike,” Mr. McGovern told Inside the Beltway in a written statement.
“But today Russia has over 2,000 low-yield battlefield nuclear weapons that could be used in a conventional conflict. That fact coupled with Russia’s belief that nuclear weapons can be used to win at war sets up a dangerous scenario. Putin has been threatening the use of these so called ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons during the buildup to his invasion of Ukraine. If Russia fails in its conventional military efforts to defeat Ukraine, Putin may view this as the only way to achieve his military objectives. If that should occur, we are now in uncharted nuclear waters. What would the response be to a ‘local’ nuclear war? The MAD doctrine was established for a strategic nuclear exchange, now we would need to rely on policies not yet fully determined,” Mr. McGovern continued.
“The conclusion of most military analysts, and I agree, the simplest answer is that while the likelihood is not high, it is not and will never be zero. The threat of nuclear war and the devastation that would occur to humanity cannot ever be dismissed as an absolute binary, ‘yes or no’ conclusion of a think tank or military war-gaming exercise. The threat must be taken very seriously and judiciously considered in all our actions regarding Putin. Russia incorporates nuclear weapons into its warfighting doctrine whereas the United States does not. That doctrine alone, regardless of who is in power in Russia, demands that we focus on prevention of war before the conditions for war are set,” Mr. McGovern concluded.
Find his campaign site at McGovernforFlorida.com.
THE FATE OF TITLE 42
The mainstream press is at last delving into the possibility that President Biden’s determination to end Title 42, the public-health measure that lets most migrants be turned away at the border, may not be the best idea at this juncture. A few headlines form the last 48 hours:
“Is Biden going to wave the white flag over ending Title 42?” (HotAir.com); “As Biden plans to end title 42, Democrats want a plan to handle border surge” (NPR); “Democrats pressure Biden to back off Title 42 decision” (The Hill); “White House defends Title 42 termination as ‘return’ to immigration ‘standard’ as more Dems buck Biden” (Yahoo News); “Fearful for midterms, Biden could delay repeal of Title 42” (Daily Beast); “San Antonio is sounding the alarm as Title 42 is set to end” (CNN); “Ten Dems flip on Biden, join GOP in opposing plan to end Title 42” (Fox News); and “Officials brace for influx of migrants at U.S. border when Title 42 ends” (NBC News).
THE FATE OF MASKS
Discussions about the use of facial masks to counter COVID-19 continue. Loudly.
“A prediction about masking: Soon we’ll be seeing many incidents in which those who choose to protect themselves with KN95s etc. face harassment, even violence. Because this was never about freedom,” tweeted New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman on Tuesday.
“If Krugman has forgotten, plenty of self-designated mask police stalked people not wearing masks around stores and posted the videos online,” Twitchy.com noted in a lengthy thread that included multiple replies to Mr. Krugman’s prediction.
Syndicated radio host Buck Sexton, one of the thread contributors, added: “From mask bullies to mask victims in the blink of an eye, of course.”
THE ‘CANNA-FRIENDLY’ WORLD
Now an update from Vermont, home to Ben & Jerry’s, which sells ice cream but is also “an aspiring social justice company,” according to its mission statement. At the moment, the company is concerned with marijuana laws.
“Ben & Jerry’s blends two of its core personality traits — its dedication to activism and its love of word puns — into a campaign that advocates for criminal justice reform and federal cannabis legalization,” reports Ad Week, an industry source.
“Using the tagline, ‘Our cannabis laws are half baked,’ the beloved brand has partnered with the ACLU to give Americans a simple way to take action and demand that the U.S. Senate pass canna-friendly legislation,” the publication said in an analysis.
“Half Baked,” by the way, is the name of the company’s most popular ice cream flavor, incorporating chocolate and vanilla ice creams, fudge brownies, and chocolate chip cookie dough.
In the meantime, Ben & Jerry’s has requested its fans to “join the ACLU,” and contact lawmakers.
“Now that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act, we’re teaming up with our friends at the ACLU to get the U.S. Senate to act. With your help, we can pass legislation that legalizes cannabis and includes social and criminal justice,” the company said in a public outreach.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, is expected to introduce a companion bill — the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act — before Congress takes a recess in August.
POLL DU JOUR
• 55% of U.S. adults say they will “definitely vote” in the 2022 congressional elections in November.
• 11% say they “probably will vote” in the elections; 11% say they “maybe will vote.”
• 7% say they “probably will not vote” in the elections; 8% say they “definitely will not vote.”
• 8% say they “don’t know” whether they will vote.
SOURCE: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted April 9-12.
• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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