PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week there was no new intelligence behind President Joe Biden’s words of warning about the risk of nuclear “Armageddon.”
“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indication that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons,” Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
When asked about the possibility of nuclear war on Friday, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, who chairs the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, said he considers this “a serious moment.”
“This is not a border squabble between two small countries,” Reed said.
Reed said although far from the level of urgency with the Cuban Missile Crisis — the 13-day showdown that put the U.S. on the brink of nuclear war 60 years ago — he believes it is the closest the country has come to a real threat.
“We’re in a serious confrontation and there could be serious consequences, and we’re working every day to minimize those potentials,” he added.
Reed said the U.S. is studying hundreds of different scenarios about what could happen, and how the the country could respond.
“I think one thing, though, should be very clear and we should make it more apparent,” Reed said. “The world I think — even the Chinese — would be outraged by these nuclear weapons, because it breaks the unofficial bond of no first use of nuclear weapons.”
On Friday, Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he’d be filing several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act to “reduce the risk of ‘nuclear Armageddon’ and stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
“As Vladimir Putin menaces the world, Kim Jong Un continues his reckless missile launches, and Iran moves ever closer to a nuclear weapon, the Senate must demonstrate a commitment to non-proliferation and responsible stewardship of the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Markey said in a statement.
Markey said the amendments will “stop hasty spending on nuclear weapons systems that arms control experts say we don’t need, bolster nonproliferation safeguards, and ensure no U.S. president can unilaterally start a nuclear war.”
“By adopting these amendments, the United States can demonstrate its leadership on arms control and nonproliferation and reduce the risk of nuclear catastrophe,” Markey added.
12 News analyst, Lt. Gen. (ret.) Reggie Centracchio told 12 News the president is “right on” in his assessment.
“We don’t have a second chance to say, ‘well, we wish would have done something different.'” Centracchio remarked.
Centracchio was a new lieutenant at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
“We came pretty close to having an exchange — a nuclear exchange,” he said. “At that time it was highly possible, and the probability was somewhat less right now.”