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'Insane, Sociopath or Sadist': What's Behind US Senator's Remark About Nuke Strike Against Russia?

© AFP 2022Picture taken in 1971, showing a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atoll
Picture taken in 1971, showing a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atoll - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.12.2021
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GOP lawmaker Roger Wicker's remarks about "US troops on the ground" in Ukraine and a potential preventive nuclear strike against Russia has raised eyebrows in the US with some American observers wondering whether the senator is "insane" or "sociopath."
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) told Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on 7 December that the Biden administration should keep the military option including first-use nuclear action against Russia on the table in case of escalation in the Ukrainian internal crisis.

"Military action could mean that we standoff with our ships in the Black Sea, and we rain destruction on Russian military capability," Wicker told Cavuto. "I would not rule out American troops on the ground. We don't rule out first use nuclear action. We don't think it'll happen. But there are certain things in negotiations if you're going to be tough, that you don't take off the table."

The Russian embassy to the United States condemned Wicker's remark as "irresponsible," warning that "joking with nuclear weapons is not appropriate for an American politician working at the US legislative body."
Fox News' conservative host Tucker Carlson was more straightforward in assessing the senator's statement: he called it "so crazy, that no one seems aware of how crazy it is."
Former Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a United States Army Reserve officer, lashed out at Wicker in an interview with the Fox News host: "Anyone who would propose or even consider what he is saying as an option must be insane, a sociopath or a sadist," Gabbard told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on Wednesday.
According to Gabbard, neoconservatives in the Democratic and Republican parties are doing nothing short of inviting global turmoil with their current overtures toward Moscow and Vladimir Putin.
"Let's go and launch a nuclear attack that would start a war that would destroy the American people, our country and the world and oh, also, the Ukrainians so that we can save Ukraine’s democracy? I mean, it literally is insane," Gabbard said.
US nuclear weapons test in Nevada in 1957 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.12.2021
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Roger Wicker Trying to Appeal to His Base

Senator Wicker is trying to advocate "a more muscular foreign policy" to appeal to his supporters and his base in the first place, deems Meena Bose, professor of political science and executive dean of the programme in Public Policy and public service at Hofstra University.
"This is more of rhetorical appeal for bolstering domestic support that the United States is standing strong and more of a deterrence goal than necessarily a case for taking military action," the professor suggests. "Calling for these intolerable consequences, I think, is what he said, that that is a stronger action than the economic sanctions that President Biden has stated would be used if Russia were to intervene."
In 2018, Roger Wicker was re-elected to a second full term, defeating his Democratic challenger, David Baria. On 5 November 2024, 33 of the 100 Senate seats will be up for regular election with Mississippi being at play again. This means that Wicker will have to fight for his seat again if he decides to throw his hat into the ring.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's President Vladimir Putin meet for the U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland  - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
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Wicker and Mississippi's Military Industry

It appears that Wicker's belligerent rhetoric was aimed at appeasing not only his Republican constituents but also US defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Atomics, who have offices in Mississippi.
Wicker, 70, served in the United States Air Force from 1976 to 1980 and was a member of the United States Air Force Reserves from 1980 to 2003. Currently, he is a prominent member of the Senate commerce and armed services committees. The lawmaker has repeatedly advocated stepping up US military spending, citing "imminent threat" from China and Iran under Donald Trump, and from China and Russia under Joe Biden.
Therefore, in April 2020, Wicker urged the federal government to green-light new funding for military manufacturing amid the coronavirus pandemic in order to show America's "adversaries, including China and Iran, that now is not the time to test [its] military’s resolve."
The lawmaker worked to craft core elements of the National Defense Authorisation Act in July 2020, calling to increase the number of US Navy vessels "to meet the growing threat from China and other adversaries."
On 8 December 2021, the senator welcomed the passage of the NDAA bill, stressing that it represented "a strong investment" in the US military sector being $25 billion above President Biden's budget request. The considerable hike was again explained by the senator as "necessary to deter China and Russia."
Commenting on Wicker's latest "nuclear" option statement the Russian Embassy in the US wondered on 9 December: "Whose interests does the senator promote when calling for war – the Ukrainians or the US military industry?"
"How is it possible to place lucrative interests of weapons production above peoples’ aspirations to protect themselves from the threat of a nuclear missile war?" asked Russian diplomats.
Remarkably, immediately after an interview with Wicker, "Your World with Neil Cavuto" featured a statement by Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin with regard to the situation over Ukraine: "I always believe that there's a chance to resolve it in ways other than force," Lloyd said.
Moreover, on 16 June 2021, Presidents of Russia and the United States made a joint statement that specifically reaffirmed "the two countries’ commitment to the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought."

"Serious, professional and thoughtful work lies ahead to agree on long-term security guarantees. Such a dialogue requires calmness and a demonstration of readiness to compromise. Wicker's ill-considered statements will hardly help us to find a way out of the critical stage in current Russian-American relations," the Russian Embassy in the US underscored on Thursday.

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