When it comes to catching our attention, few things make more potent bait than fear.
We are gluttons for it, in a way, as our brains simply don’t allow us to ignore surprises or danger. We’re wired for it. We need it. It makes us feel alive at times.
But this strange little brain tickle can be weaponized against us as well, as we’ve seen countless times over the years, and particularly in American politics.
This week was no exception, as the midterms loom over the horizon, and the Biden administration attempts to keep our attention.
President Joe Biden is declaring that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is at the highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as Russian officials speak of using tactical nuclear weapons after suffering massive setbacks in the eight-month invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser, Biden said Thursday night that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a guy I know fairly well” and the Russian leader is “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”
Biden added, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” He suggested the threat from Putin is real “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”
The alarming new rhetoric comes as Russian nuclear equipment appears to be on the move, and potentially headed in the direction of the front lines of Ukraine.