Yesterday the White House confirmed its commitment to not impose a no-fly zone above Ukraine repeating the argument that “direct confrontation of NATO with Russia will lead to the World War III”.
Zack Beauchamp in hist text on Vox extends this argument by stating that
- this would be an American declaration of war on Russia – a conflict between countries that together have 90% of the world nuclear weapon
- previously the US imposed no-fly zones only in countries which were militarily much weaker (Iraq, Bosnia and Libya) or in Syria which Russia did not view as its key interest. Ukraine is Russia’s key interest and Russia is much stronger than Iraq or Bosnia
- the probability of an “implementer mistake” increases, i.e. some lieutenant may accidentally (wrongly) think that one side has launched a nuclear weapon and launch the one in response
While missiles and bombs fall on the homes of Ukrainians, let’s think why these arguments are faulty.
First, World War III has already started. It’s pretty clear that if Putin destroys Ukraine, he will face a direct confrontation with NATO. What would then stop him from invasion into Latvia or Estonia? What would NATO then do?
Ukrainian army is grateful for the weapons that the world provided and is destroying Russian military very effectively. But now Belarussian army has entered the fight. And Putin can mobilize many more people from Russia. Will the US impose a no-fly zone if Putin sends 500 thousand more Russian troops to Ukraine? Or a million more?
Second, the Russian army is much weaker than everyone used to think. Ukrainian army has proven this over the last six days. It is true that Ukraine is Putin’s key interest. But it is not his end-game. He wants to defeat the EU and the US and change the world order. So both the EU and the US must act to stop him now – until it is too late.
Finally, a no-fly zone would not change the probability of a nuclear strike. The whole history of the 21st century shows that trying to please the aggressor only encourages him. The 2014 attack on Ukraine became possible because the world turned a blind eye to Putin’s invasion into Georgia in 2008. And today’s full-scale war became possible because the world tolerated Putin’s invasion of Ukraine eight years ago.
So it’s time to act now, before it’s too late. Of course if the US doesn’t have a plan to kill Putin in the same way as they killed Kasem Suleimani in 2020.
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