Gen. Jack Keane on Putin’s Nuclear Threat: ‘You Have to Take the Threat Seriously’
KEANE: "Well, I think you have to take the threat seriously. I mean, the one thing we know for a fact is Putin wants us to think he would use nuclear weapons. That’s certainly the implication that’s been going on since the beginning of this war. The reality is that if he did use a nuclear weapon, I don’t see how the United States and NATO would not respond to that — and I will take the administration at face value when they have said publicly to us that they have told Putin and his thugs that if they did such a thing, there would be catastrophic consequences, and evidently they've spelled out what those consequences are to the Russians. I don’t think they have to share that publicly with us. But I will take that at face value that they are doing that. You know, to have an effective deterrence, and that’s what they are trying to establish here, you have to have two things. One is the capability, and we have the capability to deliver not a nuclear weapon in kind — certainly we can do that, but we wouldn’t do that, we wouldn’t put our troops in there, we would conduct a comprehensive air-and-missile attack that would take down the Russian military inside Ukraine. After all, we know where it all is, and certainly we could deal with that. So as Putin knows we have the capability, does he believe the President is the issue? To have an effective deterrence, you have to have the capability and credibility and the will to use it, and I’m hoping that they have — with conviction and determination have convinced the Russians that, yes, we would pull the trigger. And what does that mean? It means that Putin loses. He loses his Russian army in Ukraine. And he knows that and certainly his military generals know that."