In this March 18, 2022, file photo, President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington. Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

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Imagine this. Early tomorrow morning, you receive a telephone call from the White House:

You have been selected by the president of the United States to attend a meeting in the White House at 2 p.m. today. U.S. Air Force personnel will be at your front door in an hour to accompany you to Bangor International Airport, where an Air Force C-37 awaits you for the trip to Washington. Senior officers of the CIA, NSA, Defense Department and others will be at the meeting.

The president will ask each of you, “Intelligence sources confirm that Vladimir Putin is about to employ chemical weapons and possibly nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Meteorologists tell us the effect of those weapons will almost certainly spill over into NATO countries, including Poland, Hungary and Romania. Would it constitute an armed attack on a NATO country triggering Article 5’s mutual defense provision? How should the U.S. respond? Also, some have suggested that, whether NATO countries are directly affected, the active use of such weapons by Putin would constitute a declaration of war against humanity. How should the U.S. respond?”

Stefan Nadzo