Fly … or No-Fly?

We’ve all heard much talk of whether or not the U.S. should establish a ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine to protect the country from attack from Russian planes.  Representative Adam Kinzinger was among the first to call for a limited no-fly zone and since then, others have jumped on the bandwagon.  Even Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has asked NATO to establish such a no-fly zone.  But is it really a good idea?  I’ve read the pros and cons and I think Nicholas Kristof sums it up best in his latest newsletter …

Here’s Why I’m Against a No-Fly Zone

It increases the risk of a Russian-American war, even of a nuclear exchange. That doesn’t seem worth it.

Nicholas Kristof, March 10

Almost nothing would be as satisfying right now as shooting down a Russian Mig that was bombing a Ukrainian apartment block or hospital. So it’s understandable that there are growing calls for the United States to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

The Russian bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Wednesday is just the latest war crime of this nature, and there may be many more. In Chechnya and Syria, Russia repeatedly bombed hospitals and clinics, reflecting a doctrine that emphasizes terrorizing civilian populations and forcing them to flee.

Ukrainian leaders are pleading for the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone, and Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi supports the idea. (Senator Rick Scott of Florida goes further and says that it’s worth considering dispatching U.S. ground troops to Ukraine.)

I’ve often argued for no-fly zones in other regions, from Darfur to Libya, so you might thing I’d be in favor this time as well. There’s no question that Russia is using its air power to commit mass atrocities.

But I’m against the calls for a no-fly zone in Ukraine, and I think President Biden is right to resist. The big difference from Darfur isn’t a principled one but pragmatic: In this case, a no-fly zone could escalate into a war between two superpowers.

Let’s understand that a no-fly zone is not some neat and bloodless intervention. It means that we shoot Russian planes out of the air, and our planes are also at risk of being shot down. To protect our planes, we would begin by striking Russian anti-aircraft positions, killing Russians. In other words, the first step of a no-fly zone is going to war with Russia.

This would be an undeclared war of uncertain legality. There is an enormous difference between supplying lethal weaponry to Ukraine and directly bombing Russian anti-aircraft batteries or shooting down Russian aircraft.

Vladimir Putin’s instinct has often been to double down. So what if he reacts to America downing a Mig by lobbing a few missiles at U.S. bases in Europe? Do we then fire missiles at Moscow? Where does this end?

I already think there is a small but non-zero risk of nuclear weapons being used (most likely tactical nuclear weapons, not strategic ones) as a result of the Ukraine crisis. If the U.S. and Russia are shooting down each other’s aircraft and firing mortars at each other’s bases, the risks go up enormously.

The risks of a no-fly zone also have to be weighed against the benefits. A no-fly zone, if successful and if it did not lead to World War III, could prevent Russia from establishing air superiority over Ukraine. That would be important. But it would not be likely to fundamentally change the outcome of the war, and Putin would still be able to blow up hospitals with his ground-based mortars, missiles and RPGs.

The blunt reality is that the main way Putin turns cities to rubble is ground artillery, not bombers. Artillery is a crucial element of Putin’s firepower and military doctrine, but do we really want to propose that we also take out Russian artillery positions?

Resisting a no-fly zone does not mean doing nothing. We can and should do everything we can to stand against Russia as it bombs a maternity hospital.

We can take other steps, particularly the transfer of more weaponry to Ukraine’s resistance, more intelligence sharing about specific targets for Ukraine to take out, more economic pressure on Russia and on oligarchs, and more effort to transfer Migs from Poland or other countries to Ukraine. All that will help Ukraine and bog Russia down while reducing the risk of triggering a larger war.

But a no-fly zone is different.

A no-fly zone is a useful tool that can often advance humanitarian objectives. But in this case, Putin would still have artillery and other tools to commit war crimes, and a no-fly zone would increase the risk of an American-Russian war, even of a nuclear exchange, with incomparably greater casualties than anything plausible in Ukraine alone. On this I reluctantly agree with Biden: That does not seem worth it.

72 thoughts on “Fly … or No-Fly?

  1. Thank you for sharing!!… at this time all a no fly zone will accomplish is give Putin an excuse to further escalate the conflict…… I am reasonably sure Putin thought he would enter the Ukraine with force and in a day or two it would be all over before the people of Ukraine, and the world, could reply… he was wrong, of course, and now he has gotten himself between a rock and a hard place with no easy way to get out of it… 🙂
    Most, if not all, of those that advocate force are more than likely warm and safe in their homes, some distance from the conflict and the only way the conflict will affect them is economically ( unless they may have someone in the military)… as in all wars, there are no winners… 🙂
    The only way to stop Putin is have the people of Russia strip him of his powers and remove him and his staff members….

    Until we meet again..
    May the sun shine all day long
    Everything go right, nothing go wrong
    May those you love bring love back to you
    May all the wishes you wish come true
    May peace be within you
    May your heart be strong
    May you find whatever you’re seeking
    Wherever you may roam
                      (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you … on two counts: 1) I do think that Putin thought it would be a 2-3 day event, like taking candy from a baby as they say, and 2) I see no good to come of the U.S. or NATO establishing a no-fly zone, for Putin would no doubt escalate it into full-blown war. The for/against seems to be about evenly divided from what I can tell, but as you say, we are sitting in our warm, safe homes making judgment calls. It’s best left to those with the experience and knowledge to deal with. You are more generous than I, however, in how Putin should be stopped … I see nothing short of an assassin’s bullet as the ultimate solution, for his grip is such that I don’t think he could or would be stripped of his power.

      Thanks, Dutch … I always read your Irish Sayings with a smile on my face … they warm my heart!


      • If removing Putin were that simple it would have been done some time ago… his power is through his support base (the people) and there are those in the background who use Putin for their advantage… with that support, etc., Putin (being a bully and dictator) uses fear as a weapon as well as the sword to silence any opposition… 🙂
        We have the same issue here in the USA with Trump… Trump and Putin are like two peas in a pod… Trump (bully and dictator) has his support base and people who will use him for their advantage… again, with that support Trump will use fear, and the sword, as a weapon against any opposition… we have seen it happen in Russia and here in the USA… 🙂
        Putin is just the head of the snake, cut off the head and one still has the body… unless one can convince the body (the people) to compromise, respect another and work together, the body will simply grow a new head and history will repeat itself… 🙂

        Until we meet again..
        May the love that you give
        Always return to you,
        That family and friends are many
        And always remain true,
        May your mind only know peace
        No suffering or strife,
        May your heart only know love and happiness
        On your journey through life.
        (Larry “Dutch” Woller)


        • You are so very right that Putin & Trump are as two peas in a pod. I have been thinking that perhaps Putin no longer has the support of the Russian people, given the thousands who have risked arrest to protest his actions against Ukraine, but after reading your comment, I started thinking … Trump does NOT have the support of the majority of the people in the U.S., but he DOES have enough support to possibly carry him back into the White House if we do not diligently put a stop to it. Perhaps the same is true in Russia … perhaps the majority don’t support Putin, but he has that arrogant, radical base who will protect and promote him. And I do know you’re right about the ‘head of the snake’ analogy. Sigh. It seems the world is getting crueler by the day …

          Thank you, dear friend, for the Irish Saying … I needed that tonight!


  2. There are many valid points made above. There IS a high risk of escalating as soon as NATO forces come up against Russian (and I might remind folk it’s not just about our US allies here, however big you are). It is easy to understand why President Zelenskyy continually asks for a no-fly zone; we’d all be doing the same. It’s easy to understand the principle of NATO, a defensive alliance, and that it only goes to work in the event of one of its members being attacked. It’s easy to appreciate how a NATO no-fly zone could go seriously wrong – with Putin, we are also dealing with an unpredictable, illogical, enemy. Few military plans survive contact with the enemy – you simply don’t know what will happen. So, the current plan seems to be – apply severe economic pressure and hope that Putin is persuaded, either by insiders or his cowed public, to change course. Better still, a revolution takes place and a free, democratic, Russia emerges. If none of that happens, the questions we need to ask ourselves (and I don’t know any of the answers) include: How long do we allow this attack on a free, democratic, European state to carry on? Where is our red line – Russia’s use of tactical nuclear or biological weapons? Ukraine completely occupied? The continuation of attacxks on civilians and the deaths of mothers and children? Meanwhile – what is the UN doing? Surely, it should be condemning the war in the first place and demanding that Russia withdraws. Or else… Or maybe the UN could ask for a no-fly zone and nominate some air forces from around the world to maintain it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You make a number of good points in your comment, especially the question: “Where is our red line?” I don’t know the answer either, and I’m almost afraid to ask the question aloud. These are frightening times for us all, but especially for those on your side of the pond. Take care and thank you for your thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jill and everyone else.
    There are wealth of good arguments and worthy points raised here (I have to leave Orca out, and we’ve already had one set-too, that’s enough).
    Firstly Kinzinger obvious knows ‘jack’ about the harsh practicalities of War and Escalation. We can understand the Ukrainians calling for a no-fly zone, that’s basic visceral anguish, they get a free-pass. Kinzinger should divert his energies to helping with relief.
    Nicholas Kristof has laid out the regrettably harsh Realpolitik reason why we can’t invoke a no-fly zone. It should also be added that air defence is exceptionally sophisticated and Russia has the capacity to shoot down NATO aircraft from within its own borders; therefore does NATO endeavour to supress a Russian capacity within Russian borders? We are obviously not dealing with a 1950/60s Cold War Mentality within the Kremlin, who would be playing the Who Blinks First game of the Cuban Missile crisis; this is a Hot War.
    There are several grim and all too believable scenarios here, some where the USA would be scrambling to catch up with its allies both on the Baltic and Black Sea flanks.
    Amidst all the possibilities, media information and expert assessment there are two points which are puzzling me; ones which probably have been discussed on some military/ political sites.
    1. In usual military operations of this magnitude, air superiority is a must. I mean of the type which stifles mobility, supresses air defence and dominates the skies. Most of the damage being done to cities is by missile and the classic russian ‘god of war’ artillery. Where is the Russian Airforce?…..I mean en mass. It be their normal operational approach.
    2. If we recall Putin’s initial ‘Fire and Brimstone’ warning to The West not to get involved, then juxtaposition that with the obvious flow of weaponry from the majority of Western states into Ukraine;(the next part is in a sardonic tone) surely he has enough ‘evidence’? I can’t help there’s a backstory there, of what type I’m not sure. Something is not not quite gelling – Kremlin wise.

    In the meantime to all my friends in the USA; this is another act in the European drama, so very old, but with higher stakes even than in WWII (in terms of potential for world damage). What would be a great help would be in inundate all those pro-Putin folk you have over this with pictures of the damage and the dead, with riders telling them to shut the (bad word) up about fake news, unless them want to get their butts over to the Ukraine themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To me, Kristof’s argument is pretty obvious. That’s certainly a risk, but not the only one.

    The downside of the argument is that Putin will continue to wave the nuclear option for whatever he wants to acquire next. If we believe he is bent on reestablishing the old USSR, then the Baltic states will be next on his list, and some of them are members of NATO. If he announces, “I am taking them back and if you do anything we will have a nuclear war,” how do we respond then? How is that different from now?

    Putin believes the West is too weak to respond militarily and that he will get whatever economic support he needs from China and India to weather whatever the West does economically. Thus far that’s played out that way.

    I honestly think we don’t get out of this mess without a surgical strike that kills Putin.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have been calling for such a “surgical strike” since the beginning. It IS THE best way ro deal with a rogue madman. (Yes, Orca, he is a madman, no matter how intelligent he may or may not be! And yes, Ukraine is a sovereign nation. It has proclaimed itself to be so. No other nation can take away that right, even by war!)

      Liked by 3 people

    • But there are too many interests of other leaders too. They will not allow to kill Putin, and become concerned about their money. Look at my homecountry Germany. Isnt it shameful what the former chancellor has done? No, his party is ruling, and the shame is going on. ;-/ xx Michael

      Liked by 2 people

    • You pose some good questions, Vic … unfortunately, I have no good answers, but it does appear that Europe and the U.S. are in a no-win situation if we continue to allow Putin to be the schoolyard bully and we bow to his threats.

      I agree with you … somehow Putin must go, else this new Cold War will be twice as dangerous as the last one and could go on for eternity.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. @ Scotty and Prof: Unfortunately for you guys I know rather exactly what I’m talking about. I studied Eastern European history in uni, travelled the central Asian soviet republics (in Soviet times) and am – contrary to you lot – not partisan or patriotic for any country.
    When your best reasoning consists of an ad-hominem regarding Putin’s mental health, then you’re not fit for an informed discussion.

    “whether or not the U.S. should establish a ‘no-fly zone’ ”
    Sorry, my English skillz aren’t the best but for me it sounded like the US youn thought the US had any authority over Ukrainian skies.

    “He is the Ukrainian government with the authority to ask for such intervention. The job Russia is doing is invading a sovereign nation to impose Putin’s will on a people who reject it.”

    Wrong and wrong. Selensky became the highly illegal American puppet president after Victoria Nuland’s Maidan coupe d’etat in 2014.That woman should be prosecuted in The Hague. And the job Russia is doing is stopping the shelling of the Donbass republics and discrimination and war of Russian Ukrainians that’s going on since 8 years now. Ok, nobody was thinking that the much needed Russian intervention would be expanded to freeing Odessa and Mariupol as well. Good on them. Way to go!

    “What Russia is doing is illegal under international laws.”
    You wish. Ukraine is a rogue state and not a sovereign country! Their “government” is highly illegal and must be fought at any cost.

    “Sorry the Ukraine is not the US’s current Vietnam and the reference to it shows you don’t know history or facts.”
    I see a puppet opera regime, same as in ‘nam and I see the West running away, abandoning their chosen leader Selensky. On what historical incident does this remind us?

    “Putin is most worried that Nato will intervene”
    He’s more worried about NATO in the Ukraine at all. That’s against all promises and contracts and we all should support Russia i their attempt to get those pesky Americans/NATO out of Eastern Europe. It’s the only human solution. No America = No problems.

    “I do hope the world will never let Russia complete a conquest of a sovereign nation.”
    The Ukraine in its current state is not a sovereign nation. And the world knows and respects that fact. You have any idea how small your western bubble is and how fast it’s shrinking? The World can’t wait for the West to end.


    • 😴

      As previously asked and now asked again Orca… PROVIDE multiple independent sources and their links so that all of us “unstudied Eastern European historians in uni, [supposedly] untravelled to the central Asian soviet republics (in Soviet times) and am – [mentally distorted] to you lot…” can VERIFY what you single-handedly claim. Please!

      Take it away Orca. Bedazzle us with your VAST expert knowledge with multiple independent sources and their links to be verified. Otherwise you’re just smelly flatulence. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • You sound an intelligent girl, it;s just a shame your travels weren’t more extensive. Ukraine is a Sovereign Nation and the people back their premiere and his amazing courage. Call it a puppet Government and it seems you don’t recognise how things have moved on, Putin may not have as many enemies as he once did but that’s because he’s imprisoned or killed many of them, he started with the press and his legitimate political opponents. The people are not too keen either as many think he has stayed longer than he should. This particular war is not well liked either. No-one wants their sons and daughters involved in war with a neighbour, a popular one at that. Maybe the financial constrictions on Putin will have an effect and he’ll have an excuse to pack up and go home but his star will never shine as brightly as you think it should , again..

      Liked by 3 people

      • “just a shame your travels weren’t more extensive.”
        It was a school outing. 3 weeks on the other side of the iron curtain is much longer and much further afield than usual.

        “Ukraine is a Sovereign Nation”
        I stopped being a sovereign nation after Nuland’s coup 2014.

        “it seems you don’t recognise how things have moved on”
        Huh? I see it every fuxn day on the interwebz how they’ve moved on from a slightly mismanaged and broke, but democratic state to a fascist regime.

        “Putin may not have as many enemies as he once did ”
        What are you talkin’ ’bout? He never had many enemies. His main opposition are the commies (~20%). But what is to be expected from people who think Navalny is serious opposition (2%). Okay, lately he faces growing opposition in his own party since particularly the young people think he’s too weak and soft and too friendly with the West.

        “many think he has stayed longer than he should. ”
        They elected him into the office, now they must deal with him until the end of the legislative period. I dunno if he’ll be a candidate again or if he’s too tired and pissed off by now.

        “This particular war is not well liked either.”
        Contrary to Americans the Russians don’t like war in any way shape or form. But they knew Putin didn’t have any other way to go than following Washington’s game plan. And, looksee, since the war has started his popularity rose from 60 – 71%. And not only in Russia, in most European countries people would elect him with over 60%. That’s the polls. Figures no other European politician could even dream about.

        “Maybe the financial constrictions on Putin will have an effect”
        On him personally? That guy is rich I guess, so no biggie.
        And on Russia? I don’t know if you heard, up to now Russia came out of the over 100 rounds of sanctions stronger and better than they went in. Russia has reached a level of independence by now which is far above all the western countries. And for the rest they have China and a lot of other Asian nations on their side as well. Another reason why the west should be afraid not of Putin but of his successor. I can tell you the next Putin won’t be so agreeable and nice but much more hardcore.

        It’s rather the German govt which should be troubled by now. The sanctions cost them a helluvalot of money and jobs and contracts. All the retailers leaving Russia, pfff their problem. They are small fry. But the high speed train project Siemens was busy with will cost us billions, now that they were forced to pull out. And, as you might know, China stands ready to take over from the Gerries. 😐 Oh, and China will also buy all the gas that was supposed to go to Europe via Nordstream2. Russia has won already.

        “his star will never shine as brightly as you think it should , again..”
        Neither me nor Putin do care about such shit. Global politics aren’t a beauty contest, ya know?


        • Orca,

          Are you familiar with Julia Ioff, the Russian-born journalist and graduate of Princeton University? She has an exquisitely INTIMATE knowledge of Russia, Russian Kremlin-rule, Russian oligarchs, and how ordinary Russians are SCARED TO DEATH of Putin’s Police-State. Do you have higher credentials than Julia Ioff? What university did YOU graduate from compared to Ioff’s—Princeton University? Do you know so intimately as Julia Ioff the inner-workings of the Putin and the Kremlin??? Please… share your Dossier and Curriculum Vitae, or ANY OTHER published works from your “Asian travels(?)” that might impress upon us the validity of your personal claims????

          Come on lady… dazzle us! 😉 🤭

          Liked by 1 person

            • Yep. Shallowness and unfounded personal (Orca) opinions on social-media are everywhere in the millions, a penny-a-dozen, right? Useless (dis)information. 😉

              It is not useless if the author provides multiple, independent sources with links. A sort of introductory Bibliography, if you will. Again, it isn’t rocket-science. We learned this type of essay-writing in high school. Post-grads continue it when doing their theses/thesis. Common knowledge, except to Orca Flotta it seems. 🙄🤦‍♂️

              Liked by 1 person

              • Exactly. A few weeks ago I began moderating Orca’s comments and have not approved several for she is often quite rude to my readers, calling them ‘stupid’ and so on. I put hers through this time, though, hoping that a few people would take up the conversation and they did! Thank you so much, Professor!

                Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Fly … or No-Fly? | | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  7. Since when has the US the jurisdiction over Ukrainan skies? Uh, yes, ok, you’re finally admitting that the Ukraine is your 21st century Vietnam. Do us all a favour, stop the bull and let Russia do its job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Orca the Ukrainian President has formally asked the Nato nations to intervene and apply the no fly zones. He is the Ukrainian government with the authority to ask for such intervention. The job Russia is doing is invading a sovereign nation to impose Putin’s will on a people who reject it. What Russia is doing is illegal under international laws. Sorry the Ukraine is not the US’s current Vietnam and the reference to it shows you don’t know history or facts. In fact, Putin is most worried that Nato will intervene, that is why he has threatened using the ultimate weapon of mass destruction / death, nuclear weapons. That he went there from the start shows he was so worried about other nations helping the Ukrainians. I do hope the world will never let Russia complete a conquest of a sovereign nation.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I smell a warmongering Spammer paid to do this on multiple social-media platforms and with no intelligent opinion to contribute (like a Chinese- or Russian-based cyber-attacker) that is 1) not based in humane reality, or 2) definitely not based on International diplomacy and active Treaties, e.g. the Minsk Agreements begun in 2014 and violated by Russia and Russian insurgents put into the DPR and LPR.

      Your non-sense is worse than laughable.

      Liked by 4 people

            • We’ve all been there Jill, believe me. It just usually happens soon after our turbulent teen-years when we get control of our raging hormones on steroids and begin actually USING our noodles/brains, eh? 😉

              In this case, I suspect Orca is either a gullible, malleable teenager or hasn’t yet had his/her brain mature yet. We’ll see; time will tell. Probably faster than later… right? 😉

              Liked by 2 people

              • I know Orca is a woman who lives in South Africa, but I don’t know or understand where her love of all things Putin originates. That’s why I often think she’s just trying to get a rise out of me. In the past, she has been particularly disrespectful to some of my readers, calling them ‘stupid’ and so forth, so I now moderate her comments for, at the very least, respect. It’s tiresome, though, to constantly be battling what I think of as her ignorance. Thanks for your comments, Prof!

                Liked by 2 people

    • Since the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, asked the U.S. for help. Russia’s job??? What the hell is Russia’s job? To kill civilians and destroy an independent nation? Do you honestly believe that, or do you just like to raise my hackles, Orca?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. So glad you shared his post Jill. I really like and respect Kristoff. I don’t know if you knew this or not but he’s a native Oregonian, which is where I live now, and was running for Governor here. Unfortunately that got nixed by a judge due to some residency requirement issues. That’s too bad because I was really looking at him as a possibility. I think he would have made an excellent governor. As for his post on the no-fly zone, I’m pretty much in his corner on this. I’ve gone back and forth as well but his points are well taken. I think, for now, the risk is too much. Perhaps that changes at some point. But for now, give them all the arms they need, and keep it flowing. I’m also against giving them the Polish planes. At least for now. I see so many ways this could get really bad if we do both of those things. But, who knows? Maybe in a few weeks I’ll change my mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I did know about Kristof’s attempted run for governor, for Ellen is a huge fan of Nicholas K and she kept me posted all alone, plus I get his newsletter. It sounds like maybe next time he’ll try again, though, and I can’t think of anybody I would trust more!

      I think that establishing a no-fly zone would be suicidal, not only for Europe and the U.S., but perhaps most of life on the planet, and while I would love to end the war in Ukraine right this minute, I think there must be a better way. Yes, much could change in the coming weeks, but I hope NEVER to see a nuke unleashed … by any nation for any reason!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, my sentiments exactly. The amount of people, so-called experts, calling for it is astounding. The other night, Lawrence O’Donnell had Alexander Vindman on, a man I deeply respect and admire. But he continued to press Vindman on doing the no-fly zone. Vindman wants to do it. Lawrence kept reminding him of the dangers it might bring. Vindman, of course, is Ukrainian, and I get how he’s emotionally involved in this whole thing. People need to think clearly. I’m going to defer to Biden and his team on this. A shooting war with Russia would be an unmitigated disaster for the world. They obviously feel the same way. Boy, what a mess though, right?

        Liked by 1 person

        • That surprises me about Vindman’s take on a no-fly zone, but I guess that sometimes emotions can get in the way of logical thinking. It seems, judging by the commentary on this post, that there are many on both sides of the issue. I have no idea how this will play out … I just wish Putin and his cronies would disappear from the face of the earth!


  9. Jill,

    I’m frankly getting real tired of hearing from American non-military, non-combat-experienced Congress members, politicians, and regular citizens also with no combat or military leadership & expertise in foreign conflicts or warfare—especially against a enemy superpower like Russia—whine & bellyache continually for their opposing (enemy’s?) political party in the White House to keep doing more to provoke Putin to start WW3! If this were to happen, then we would certainly UNIFY Russia and the Russian people with Putin! That’s not just an asinine end-game, it demonstrates very little foresight into how bloody wars (past & present) start then escalate into a full-blown world war! (R) Rep. Adam Kinzinger, of all people, should know this.

    But probably because Kinzinger has never actually been in live, daily combat before—only a high-altitude KC-135 Stratotanker pilot flying missions in Guam, South America, Iraq and Afghanistan later switching to the high-altitude RC-26 surveillance aircraft stationed/deployed in Iraq twice. He has only achieved the rank of Lt. Col. in the USAF. He isn’t well qualified to voice the BEST-INFORMED, highest priority needs or objectives of the Ukrainian War. Not from his Capitol Bldg office he’s not.

    Instead, we the general public should be hearing & heeding the expert advice of high-ranking retired U.S. Generals, especially those with deployments in Europe with NATO. These high-ranking, very experienced & knowledgeable officers have advocated the same conclusion: A no-fly zone, limited or unlimited, is unequivocally NOT tenable. Putin is not mentally stable. Putin has various nuclear weapons. If NATO or the U.S. enforced a no-fly zone or (an irrational) limited no-fly zone, we or NATO pilots are certain to shoot-down Russian jets and helicopters. Why? Because Putin will make his pilots make us do it by provoking us! Why do that? Simple. Because he needs an easy way out to save face from this ill-fated invasion; and it is only getting worse the longer Ukraine holds out.

    Here is an outstanding interview by NPR’s Sacha Pfieffer with retired U.S. Air Force general Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. And btw, retired 5-star General Wesley Clark who served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000, also agrees with Gen. Breedlove along with many other high-ranking, military & combat experienced Generals and Maj. Generals too. Here’s the link to Gen. Philip Breedlove’s interview:

    I want to quote/emphasize one particular question Sasha Pfieffer put to Gen. Breedlove…

    PFIEFFER: Would you explain how a no-fly zone for Ukraine would work practically speaking? What would or would not be allowed?

    BREEDLOVE: Well, the first thing that I want to acknowledge is what Jen Psaki said is absolutely correct. A no-fly zone, if it is truly a military no-fly zone, is essentially an act of war because that means you are willing to enforce it, meaning those who violate it you would shoot at. And probably what would happen even before that is if there are defense systems in the enemy’s territory that can fire into the no-fly zone, then we normally take those systems out, which would mean bombing into enemy territory. So no-fly zone is a big step, and we all acknowledge that.

    PFEIFFER: But as we mentioned, the U.S. has enforced them in the past in other places – Iraq, Bosnia, Libya. Why is there reluctance to do so over Ukraine?

    BREEDLOVE: Very simply, the opponent that we face today. The belligerent in this senseless war is Russia. We are very reticent to have a war with a nuclear power that is already talking about using nuclear weapons.

    The entire interview is an excellent read and one (of many) with 4-5 Star Generals of Europe & NATO that I highly recommend. Nevertheless, what MUST be seriously extensively considered is that we don’t contribute to all Europe becoming a Ukraine then the entire civilized world—esp the U.S., Europe, and Russia, and other bystanders—becoming a nuclear war zone, which will likely lead to a world-wide nuclear fallout. That and millions upon billions of humans killed, slaughtered, evaporated because Putin and his Russian air force & army was shot-down directly by a NATO or USA fighter? That’s an “out” Putin is itching for every day now until Ukraine finally becomes A Bridge Too Far realization (if not already) and to borrow a historical, popular and profound military phrase & concept.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “then we would certainly UNIFY Russia and the Russian people with Putin!”

      What are you talking about. Putin is Russia’s beloved president and his percentage just climbed from 61% to over 70%. The West should be so happy to find in Putin a very reasonable and intelligent man and use his willingness to deal and negotiate. His successor will be much more radical and anti-American. The Russian youth is already all in favour of cutting all ties to the West. And 4/5 of the world’s population are unquestionably on Russia’s side in this war.


      • Provide the multiple reliable sources you are receiving your (flawed) propaganda from I will use 4-5 non-profit Fact-checking firms & institutions to verify your propaganda. Otherwise, you have much flatulence and being paid by Chinese-and/or Russian-based with spreading YOUR and their counter-intelligence. Come back with this extensive info, sources, and links… then I might waste more time with you. LOL

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    • Hello Professor. So Putin is not a stable person in charge of a nuclear arsenal. Is that something new? tRump was in charge of the US nuclear arsenal. We all think he is not mentally stable? The fact is the world is full of nations led by people who we would all say have mental health issues. More and more of them get nuclear technology and even nuclear plants which Putin also used as a threat to the world. This is an important issue the world needs to deal with. How far do we let countries with nukes go before we use or own power to stop them? They threaten using nuclear weapons, so it seems the idea of mutual destruction no longer is viable. At some point we either let the countries with nukes threaten all the rest of the countries into not acting at all, or we stand up now to stop the extortion. Backing down in face of a bully’s threats doesn’t make the bully go away or stop. We have to face this cliff at some point. The world has changed from the 1980s I would rather face it now with a single unhinged person who may possibly be stopped by his own staff than wait until I faced the problem with 5 or 10 madmen doing the same thing. I cannot depend on the extra madmen having military staff that would stop them. You mention the deaths of possible people while actual people are dying now. It is a problem we will have to address so why wait until the situation is worse or more millions die? No one is saying the Nato countries have to enter Russia, we are saying stay out of the sky over the existing border or we will enforce it. I think Putin is as afraid of that as we are.

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      • Hey Scottie. I was mostly/primarily focused on how combative escalation and diplomatic de-escalation international processes work given ALL the players, that is all players that stand to lose the most. None of the choices have been ideal right from the start, and Ukraines have all gone on record as stating their obvious SHOCK that Putin would actually do this when they were indeed warned many times by Western Intelligence. Sadly, the Ukraines dragged their feet and weren’t well prepared. Not at all to sound insensitive or inhumane to the humanitarian crisis happening, but oh well, too late now. As a result of dragging feet, all of Europe & NATO must deal with that previous complacency toward what was warned to Ukraine.

        That said, and now dealing with a more escalated crisis, pushing the ticking-timebombs further forward too hastily is often a recipe of gargantuan consequences, yes of course for Ukrainians, but for all of Europe, then NATO, then the world.

        Warm respectful regards Scottie. I must return to my obligations here at home. Sorry for this thrown-together quick reply; it was all I had time for. 🙂

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        • Hello Professor. Never fear to give what reply you have time for, I know your situation and I am amazed that you are doing as much as you are. My heart goes out to you in what you are dealing with.

          But I disagree with your assessment of the situation. That is OK people of reason as we can disagree without being disagreeable. First of all your assessment of the Ukrainian military is not one I share nor one shared on the sources I follow. They are doing amazing job against a superior force. The original plan was the model used by the US in our own revolution against England and the same used against the US in Afghanistan. When faced with a much superior force the military of the country attacked does a slowing the enemy down action. (Side note that was the idea when I was in Germany in the 1980’s, we were not to stop the USSR we were to slow them down so more forces from the US could get there to the battle area) The Ukraine military was to hurt the Russian army as much as they could then melt away. They were to blend in and use guerrilla tactics to keep hurting the Russians until it was too much just like Afghanistan did to the USSR and the US. However much to everyone’s surprise the situation has yet required the Ukrainian military to melt away. This invasion of Putin’s was thought to be done by well trained troops with the top of the line weapons. That did not happen. The logistics were not set up, the tanks ran out of fuel, the troops ran out of food then had to resort to raiding local grocery stores. Captured troops turned out to be untrained conscripted young adults who only wanted to have something to eat and call their mothers. The situation has reversed since before the war started and the only ones not seeing that are the old politicians stuck in the 1980s cold war and Putin.

          I understand the issue of escalation better than most. When I was stationed in Berlin in the 1980s we joked the USSR was just going to stick the tank barrels over the wall with signs saying welcome to POW CAMP BERLIN. If we stand up to Putin now people may die, maybe more people than who are dying now. Russia is refusing to let the Ukrainians restore power to the Chernobyl disaster unless Ukraine surrenders. The plant is running at half cooling on generators and the fuel is running out. That is a threat of radiation contamination spread across countries unless the world does as Putin wishes. Do we honor that demand? Do we push Ukraine to give in so Putin will let the power be restored to the cooling mechanisms? Or do we push his people out of the way and guard the Ukrainians while they stop a nuclear melt down? It is a problem the world will face time and time again if we don’t stop it now. How many countries have nuclear plants that if went into melt down will affect their neighbor nations? Do we let the aggressor country demand land or resources to not let their plants melt down.

          My point is the US and Nato are being blackmailed to ignore the deaths of the Ukrainian people as they beg for our help, as we try to appease a person who sees that as a major weakness. I say it is time to rethink our response to that.

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          • Scottie, as usual you are a fine debater and well-informed about this topic. I commend you Sir. 🙂

            I think it critical as well as exemplary that we can disagree without being uncivilized. Besides, I don’t think the latter is in either of our personality repertoire, eh? Lol

            Just to close out this discussion due to my own time constraints, I wanted to mention to you as well as everyone here following that this coming this Tuesday, March 15th, at 9pm EST, 8pm CST, PBS Frontline will be airing Putin’s Road to War. From the PBS Frontline homepage:

            For years, FRONTLINE has been reporting on Putin’s path to power and how he has wielded it, as well as on Russia and Ukraine’s fraught relationship. As Putin wages war on Ukraine, revisit our earlier coverage, […] to explore Putin’s rise and motivations, his history and grievances with the West, and events that presaged this moment.

            My instinctive gut tells me that with THIS extensive, indepth Frontline coverage going back to at least 2014, we can see how most of this aggression by Putin’s and his upper-brass military were giving the world and Ukraine all the signs necessary. I am very much looking forward this comprehensive documentary. I only wish it could last 2-3 hours instead of just one. 😒 Here’s the link to the homepage and an overview of what’s to come Tuesday:


            As always Scottie, thanks again for your kindness and understanding. And I will always encourage you to fully express your thoughts and assessments even when they don’t align with mine. That’s perfectly fine when we both know with certainty that we have near identical principles of humanity and its best virtues, right? We don’t let our prides or the minutiae cloud our bigger values.

            Warm regards my Friend. ❤️

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  10. OK, so Kristof says … Resisting a no-fly zone does not mean doing nothing. We can and should do everything we can to stand against Russia … Then he lists a few possibilities, including economic pressure.

    I admit I’m not versed in such matters, but I have yet to see the value of putting economic pressure on Russia. From my point of view, such pressure does not hurt Putin himself or the oligarchs. It hurts the average Russian! What am I missing?

    From my limited perspective, the other suggestions offered by Kristof — weaponry, intelligence, transferring Migs — seem far more effective.

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    • Hello Nan. I would also like to remind people that the Ukrainians had nuclear weapons. They voluntarily gave them up for a promise by a US president that if they were ever attacked the US would defend them. It was a Republican president that made that promise. Seems that promises made by US presidents are not to be are not to be trusted by the world.

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    • Well, it is true that the economic sanctions are hurting the people of Russia and that is indeed regrettable, but they are also hurting Putin and will ultimately do more damage to him. We simply cannot take the risk of eradicating life on planet earth … there are other ways to rid the world of a madman.

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  11. Hello Jill. I disagree. I am looking beyond this conflict. Right now the US and Nato has shown that anyone with nuclear weapons can hold that over our heads, they can use it to blackmail and extort us. While Putin’s military might is not a threat to us and we could save millions of lives, we will not do so because he hints he may use nuclear weapons. But what about North Korea, will we do as they say and stay out of a conflict they create because we are worried they will use nukes? What about when Iran gets them, and they will because we have shown the world the only thing that stops the US is the fear of someone saying they will use a nuke. So when Iran has them and demands we stay out of the middle east or they use nukes, do we leave? What about when Israel demands we either attack a country they want attacked or we join them doing it or they will use their nukes? The issue is we have we have shown fear, that we are afraid despite having the world’s largest military and having 4 of the 6 largest air forces we are afraid because someone much less militarily capability has nuclear weapons. So we can always be bluffed, blackmailed, and extorted unless we stand up now and say we believe in some things, and we are willing to stand for them. We believe one country doesn’t invade another (yes we did it and it was wrong, we will pay for it later) we believe in the not targeting of civilians (yes we did it and we should pay for it later) And let every country know we won’t be cowed. We should openly give those MIG planes to Ukraine and be proud to stand up to a bully. As soon as Putin put his nuclear force on alert we should have made clear that was a mistake and something that wouldn’t stop us but only make us more determined. Because there will be a next time if we let this continue and it won’t just be with Russia. There are a lot of strongman dictators out there in a lot of countries. Turkey scared tRump into abandoning the Kurds to slaughter. So what is the US, a paper tiger, or the defender of principles. We knew this was coming when Putin took Chernobyl. His plan was always to use it as a threat. Do we now let every country with a nuclear plant use theirs as threats? Unless we want to be forever facing this threat we need to show now that we won’t be cowed by it nor swayed. But we will get more determined by a threat. Once the threat is no longer worker Putin will have more reason to come to the table and talk. Right now he believes he has the top card in the deck and so can just terrorize the people of a neighboring nations. Is he correct?

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    • I am with Scottie on this one, not because 0I am in favour of war–I am a pacifist–but because people are being killed uselessly on both sides of the conflict, although so far all the civilian deaths are being suffered by the defender. If Putin wins Ukraine by violent means, he WILL go after Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and others. Attacking Ukraine is a test. Unless all the countries of the world show their power against Russia, there will be more war. IT MUST BE STOPPED NOW,

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  12. Biden is, no doubt, driving a lot of folks crazy by not doing this, and the outcry to do it will surely intensify, but I think he’s wise enough to see the potential outcome of it. TFG would have handed Ukraine to putin on a platter by now, an offering to his idol.

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    • I don’t think those who would press for the U.S. and NATO establishing a no-fly zone understand the ramifications. I have no doubt whatsoever that it would lead to a full-blown world war and at some point, nuclear weapons would be used, killing millions. People need to either use their heads more or their mouths less, methinks. Yeah, Trump would likely have been on Putin’s side all the way, possibly even sending troops to back him up. I wonder if he and the generals might have come to blows on that one? I’m just glad Trump is not prez today and that we have a man of intelligence and caution sitting in the Oval Office!

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