Should the US military establish a “no-fly” zone in Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on the US to enact one, with some of the direst pleas imaginable.
“How many deaths and losses are still needed to secure the sky over Ukraine?” Zelenskyy asked.
Zelensky not mincing his criticism of Nato over its refusal to implement no-fly zone: “Every person who dies from today will die because of you."
— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) March 4, 2022
Hawkish political figures like GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger and some conservative media personalities have also backed the idea. So, too, there’s some support for it in the foreign policy establishment, with 27 prominent “experts” signing a public letter calling on the Biden administration to put a “no-fly zone” in place.
This is a good moment to renew my call for a no fly zone, at the invitation of the Ukraine government. I fear if this continues, we will have to intervene in a bigger way
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) March 4, 2022
“The United States did not ask for this conflict; Ukraine did nothing to invite it. Vladimir Putin wanted it, and began it. Americans are sending him a clear message: If he chooses to start a fight, we’re prepared to end it.” https://t.co/wZCf35GoyP
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) March 7, 2022
Let’s be clear about what a “no-fly zone” is, exactly. When the US military declares a no-fly zone, it is saying no aircraft may travel through a set space. It enforces this by shooting down any plane that does so.
With that in mind, let’s consider one argument advanced by advocates of a “no-fly zone”: that the American public supports the move.
A Reuters poll found that 74% of Americans, including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats, support the US “working with NATO to set up ‘no-fly zones’ to protect Ukraine from Russian air strikes.”
But I’m deeply, deeply skeptical of this polling result. Why? I find it almost impossible to believe that most of these poll respondents know what a “no-fly zone” actually is.
After all, only 1 in 4 Americans can correctly name all three branches of the federal government: legislative, executive, and judiciary. Yet we’re supposed to believe they know what an advanced military procedure entails?
If you called a no-fly zone what it actually is, or at least explained it involves shooting down Russian planes, far, far fewer Americans would support it in the polls.
Even Reuters, who did the poll, seems to admit this, noting, “It was not clear if respondents who supported a no-fly zone were fully aware of the risk of conflict, and majorities opposed the idea of sending American troops to Ukraine or conducting air strikes to support the Ukrainian army.”
If they called it an “American planes shoot down Russian planes and war breaks out” zone
Instead of a “no fly zone”
Sentiment on it would shift quite a bit
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) March 7, 2022
I think americans have it in their minds a no-fly zone is comparable to sanctions where you just say 'please don't fly here' and it happens, not that you actively shoot down a nuclear powers aircraft https://t.co/rg8eNgcT5H
— Xexizy (@muke10101) March 8, 2022
Thankfully, the Biden administration is so far rejecting the calls for a no-fly zone.
It’s a rare day indeed that I praise this cast of characters, but Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki both gave smart, rational answers shutting down the proposal when asked about it:
"We are not going to have a military war with Russia with U.S. troops," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says. pic.twitter.com/7oZlvPGv7w
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 28, 2022
Good ,finally on no fly zone
US foreign minister @SecBlinken :
" Ukraine, the president also has a responsibility to not get us into a direct conflict, a direct war with Russia, a nuclear power"
— narne kumar06 (@narne_kumar06) March 6, 2022
Here’s hoping the Biden administration maintains its sensible opposition to shooting down Russian planes and starting a hot war with a nuclear power.
The White House shouldn’t fall for misleading spin about Americans wanting a “no-fly zone” or be tricked into thinking political demand exists for this dangerous escalation when, in reality, it almost certainly does not.
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