Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) dismissed concerns about the conflict in Ukraine escalating into a full-scale war between Russia and NATO during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
“How do you stop [Russian President] Vladimir Putin without starting World War III” host Bret Baier asked Risch, who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“There’s no doubt that you always have to keep in mind that you don’t want to escalate to direct confrontation with Russia, [but] I wouldn’t call it ‘World War III,'” Risch said.
“I think it’d end pretty quickly, because with the conventional forces that he’s had there, we haven’t seen this kind of ineptness in a long, long time,” he continued.
Despite large advantages in manpower and weaponry, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not progressed as quickly or as smoothly as many experts predicted.
Sébastien Roblin wrote at The Week that Russia’s performance in the war so far has “gravely degraded Russia’s military position in Europe — and above all its ability to compel with threats of force that fall under the nuclear threshold.”
Putin has not shied away from making such threats. In his speech announcing the invasion of Ukraine, Putin threatened any country that attempted to intervene with “consequences … such as you have never seen in your entire history,” which most observers interpreted as a reference to Russia’s 6,000-warhead nuclear arsenal.
But not everyone takes Putin’s nuclear threats seriously.
“Putin knows that no one wins a nuclear exchange. If he ordered a strike on the United States, a general would shoot him in the head,” Sen. Lindsay Graham said during an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures. Graham has previously called for a Russian assassin to kill Putin.