Posted by Curt on 16 March, 2022 at 10:36 am. 48 comments already!


By Henry Olsen

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s virtual address on Wednesday to Congress was moving and persuasive. He’s right that the United States can and should do more to help his country win its existential fight with Russia. But he’s wrong to ask us to risk direct war with Russia by establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.


Zelensky is the president of a proud and brave people. He would fall short of his responsibility to them if he did not pursue every possible means for their survival and victory. It is in Ukraine’s interest to entice larger, more powerful nations to enter the conflict and take its side. He knows that such support would tip the balance toward Ukraine and ensure that Russia would eventually have to offer acceptable terms for peace.


That’s why he has tried to draw common threads between his country and the others that he beseeches. He invoked Churchill and Shakespeare when addressing the British House of Commons and told leaders of the European Union that Ukraine’s battle is Europe’s. It’s also why he analogized the attacks on Ukraine to the attacks at Pearl Harbor and on 9/11.


If his audience can envision themselves in his nation’s suffering, they might be moved to come to his nation’s rescue. But great nations must be ruled by the mind, not the heart. And the mind counsels support for Ukraine, not war.


Russia would not simply surrender in the face of U.S. airplanes over the battlefield in Kyiv or Kharkiv. It would shoot back, and it would use weapons systems based in Russia itself to do so. Thus, a no-fly zone inevitably means war with Russia, not just on Ukrainian territory.


That’s not in our interest, especially because Russia has troops and military bases in many other countries. It has positioned its navy to combat potential NATO intervention from aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, and it conducted large-scale naval exercises in the northern Atlantic in the run-up to the invasion. These moves clearly signal Russia’s willingness to fight back beyond Ukraine should the United States or NATO enter the war directly.


Russia also has tacit supporters worldwide that could involve themselves if the war expands. China signaled again this week that it stands between Russia and the West in this conflict. It might levy its own economic sanctions against the West if it takes to Ukraine’s skies. That’s what the Arab nations did in 1973 by embargoing the export of oil to the United States in retaliation for its decision to resupply Israel during the Yom Kippur War. That act plunged the United States into a deep recession, creating an energy crisis that dominated U.S. decision-making for the rest of the decade.



Chinese-imposed sanctions could severely harm the United States. China supplies 80 percent of the world’s rare-earth minerals, a crucial component for high-tech manufacturing. The United States also sources many important medicines from China, and many U.S. exporters are dependent upon Chinese sales. In other words, China has the power to throw the United States and the rest of the world into a recession.


These considerations mean that the United States and its allies should reject Zelensky’s plea to close the Ukrainian skies.

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