Ukrainian No-Fly Zone

Ukrainian No-Fly Zone


Leonard Zwelling

It’s a thought I had had myself, but was articulated by former Australian Prime minister Tony Abbott in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on February 28. Why didn’t NATO and especially the United States throw up a no-fly zone over Ukraine to keep Russian planes out of Ukrainian skies as soon as Russian troops began amassing on the Ukrainian border?

After all, the great mistake of the Iraq War was when President Bush stopped relying on a United States imposed no-fly zone over Iraq to protect the Kurds and instead marched in. We had Saddam in a box, just like we had the Iranians in a no-nuke box, then we opened Pandora’s Box and now we are the worse for it.

At the first hint that there was a Russian troop build-up around Ukraine, President Biden should have ordered the United States and demanded that NATO clear the skies above Ukraine from Russian aircraft and immediately ceased all commercial flights from Russia to anywhere in NATO. All of the sanctions (including against Russian oil and gas) should have been put in place as soon as troops amassed on the Ukraine-Russian border. What did we think was going to happen? What’s wrong with these leaders? Did they really think Putin would do anything different from what he has done? He had already factored the sanctions and banking blocks into his calculus with regard to Ukraine. He was going in. At least we could make it harder for him.

Mr. Putin has been fairly transparent about wanting to re-assemble the Soviet Empire. Remember that empire included the nations of the Warsaw Pact. Many of those nations are now part of NATO. If Putin moves on them as he did upon Ukraine, we will be in a land-based war—WWIII. We can avoid this now. Make life miserable for Putin as the Ukrainians are trying to do.

The West has got to wake up now that it’s sufficiently woke and face the threat from Russia and China. We have fostered the economies of both by buying Russian gas in Europe and everything that the Chinese can manufacture everywhere in the world. And if President Biden wants further urgency to spur him on, the rising price of energy coupled with the ever-increasing inflation is not going to make him very popular at the polls. He’s lucky he’s not running in 2022. Anyone could beat him. Even Trump.

If Mr. Biden really wants to show the world the leadership he claims to want to display, now is the moment. Install even harsher sanctions on the Russians. Make the oligarchs feel the sting of a falling ruble and the seizure of their Manhattan penthouses, yachts and private planes. Then make damned sure that there are no Russian planes or helicopters operating over Ukraine. Make sure Putin knows that this is going to occur and make sure President Zelenskyy asks for it first. (He has.)

Then shut down the air over Ukraine and give the Ukrainians a chance. If the Mujahideen could do it in Afghanistan to the Russians, the Ukrainians can do it in their homeland as long as the flow of weapons to them keeps coming from the West a la Charlie Wilson’s War. Stop Putin now before he, like Hitler, goes into Poland.

2 thoughts on “Ukrainian No-Fly Zone”

  1. Len,
    Well stated and the very least we can do. Many of my Democrartic Liberals have said that the sanctions posted on Putin and Russia are the best we can do…what more other than outright war cold save the Ukranians. They feel that Biden has done all he can do in his role as Leader of the free world…your comments prove that to be wrong !
    I hope that other Political Stratagists in our government have the same thoughts you have described here. If not it is another stake in the Democratic party’s heart with a bleak outlook for mid-term elections for the Democrats and Biden’s fututre !

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