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Jeffrey Sachs Lists ‘U.S. Presidents Who Gamble with Nuclear Armageddon’

Jeffrey Sachs. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Under the above title, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs wrote a report in Common Dreams on May 29 (reprinted today in Consortium News), which starkly warns in his kicker “We desperately need leaders with a knack for peace who can steer the nation, and the world, toward a more secure and less dangerous future.” In his opening, while he stresses Biden is the primary target, Sachs reviews the rogues’ gallery of past Presidents who were no better: “Joe Biden’s reckless and incompetent foreign policy is pushing us closer to annihilation. He joins a long and undistinguished list of Presidents who have gambled with Armageddon, including his immediate predecessor and rival, Donald Trump.”

He goes on: “Talk of nuclear war is currently everywhere. Leaders of NATO countries call for Russia’s defeat and even dismemberment, while telling us not to worry about Russia’s 6,000 nuclear warheads. Ukraine uses NATO-supplied missiles to knock out parts of Russia’s nuclear-attack early-warning system inside Russia. Russia, in the meantime, engages in nuclear drills near its border with Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg give the green light to Ukraine to use NATO weapons to hit Russian territory as an increasingly desperate and extremist Ukrainian regime sees fit.”

Sachs reminds us of the Cuban Missile Crisis, referring to JFK as “one of the few American Presidents in the nuclear age to take our survival seriously,” and quotes from Kennedy’s June 10, 1963 American University address, warning that “nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war…. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be … a collective death-wish for the world.”

Sachs then adds: “Yet this is exactly what Biden is doing today, carrying out a bankrupt and reckless policy.”

He then reviews the status of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ “Doomsday Clock” since its inception during the Truman Administration, and how it moved forward and backward under various Presidents. (Eisenhower and JFK moved the clock back; but later only Reagan and Bush Sr. got it to move backwards in arms deals and other diplomacy with Russia and China.) “Now Biden has taken the clock to 90 seconds,” while he “has led the U.S. into three fulminant crises, any one of which could end up in Armageddon,” citing his backing NATO’s move eastward to Ukraine against Russia’s red line, backing for Israeli genocide, and provoking China.

He concludes with a Kennedy-esque statement: “We need to shout for peace from every hilltop. The survival of our children and grandchildren depends on it.”