Biden Projects Weakness In Response To Putin’s Nuclear Saber Rattling

For The Daily Signal, Patty Jane Geller

In the latest episode of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear saber rattling, Russia conducted the first test of its new giant intercontinental ballistic missile, which the West has code-named “Satan.”

Russia’s advanced missile was tested on Wednesday and can carry up to 10 nuke warheads simultaneously. It also has the potential for carrying a hypersonic vehicle capable of moving at 5 times the speed sound.

Putin, true to form, accompanied the missile test with a threat, stating that the missile will “provide food for thought for those who … try to threaten our country.”

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But the story here is less about Putin’s reckless and escalatory behavior, and more about the how the Biden administration has handled it.

After the test, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stated that “Russia properly notified the United States under its … treaty obligations [of] a plan to test this ICBM,” adding that the test was “routine” and “not a threat.”

To be fair, it’s true that the test does not signify an imminent nuclear threat.

But the Pentagon spokesman’s reassuring comments about Putin’s missile test ironically come just weeks after the Biden administration canceled not one, but two missile tests of its own out of fear of irking Russia.

The administration first canceled a routine test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile scheduled for March 3, just days after Putin initiated his brutal invasion and ordered his own nuclear forces to a level of “special combat readiness.” Then, instead of announcing a new date for that test, the Biden administration then canceled the next Minuteman III test on April 1.

If Russia can test a brand-new missile as it wages war on Ukraine and threatens the West and be labeled “routine” and “not a threat,” then why can’t the U.S. test its own missiles?

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This isn’t just about posturing. It is still relying on 1960s-built missiles. The U.S. must conduct testing to make sure that the weapons work as intended.

The U.S. does not build new nuclear weapons capabilities, unlike Russia’s Satan missile, which can be used to carry hypersonic nuclear weapons.

Although Russia doesn’t care about this, the administration justification for cancelling tests was that it wanted to avoid escalating tensions.

However, Russia showing its strength by continuing to back away rather than show it is strong, signals that Russia has no need to be concerned about the U.S.

In fact, Russia has never been reminded by the Biden government that the U.S. also holds nuclear weapons and that an attack against the U.S./NATO would prompt a response.

Fortunately, NATO Deputy-General Secretary Mircea Geoana stepped up back in March, stating, “NATO is a defensive alliance, but also it’s a nuclear alliance.” So did French Foreign Minster Jean-Yves Le Drian, stating in February after Putin raised the alert status of his nuclear weapons, “Vladimir Putin must also understand that the Atlantic alliance is a nuclear alliance.”

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However, President Joe Biden has made no statements about his desire to prevent nuclear war with Russia. He has also canceled critical missile tests to ensure that the U.S. has an effective nuclear deterrent.

The key to deterrence is convincing your adversary you are willing and capable of using our nuclear force when needed. Canceling tests while neglecting to even criticize Russia’s new and destabilizing missile only projects weakness to both our adversaries and our allies.

Instead of continuing to appease Putin’s Russia, the Biden administration must do more to demonstrate strength.

The Daily Signal permission granted permission for this syndicated article.