Over the weekend, Republican Senator Mitt Romney wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that the US and its NATO allies should prepare a “devastating” response should Russia use nuclear weapons as it continues its attacks on Ukraine.

Romney’s words come on the heels of threats from Russia and warnings from several Russian diplomats that the invasion could lead to a nuclear strike:

“Russia’s use of a nuclear weapon would unarguably be a redefining, reorienting geopolitical event. We should imagine the unimaginable, specifically how we would respond militarily and economically to such a seismic shift in the global geopolitical terrain.”

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Romney put forward several options available to NATO allies in addition to a nuclear response if a “cornered and delusional” Vladimir Putin were to deploy a nuclear weapon.

First, Romney suggested that NATO forces could engage with Russia in Ukraine and crush attempts to reclaim the former Soviet territory.

Vladimir Putin via Flickr / openDemocracy https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Then he added that the US could attempt to pressure China and other allies of Russia to turn against Russia with an ultimatum: “You are either with us, or you are with Russia — you cannot be with both.”

Romney suggested that nations that chose to align with Russia after they launched such an attack would then become a “global pariah,” and endure an “economic Armageddon,” which is “far preferable to nuclear Armageddon.”

Senator Romney supports the US support of Ukraine and presumes the Joe Biden administration is working alongside NATO to “develop and evaluate a broad range of options.”

Mitt Romney via Flickr / Gage Skidmore https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Romney concluded:

“The potential responses to an act so heinous and geopolitically disorienting as a nuclear strike must be optimally designed and have the support of our NATO allies. Mr. Putin and his enablers should have no doubt that our answer to such depravity would be devastating.”

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Christopher Powell