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Enough About “No Fly Zones”

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March 2, 2022 11:32 a.m.

I’ve mentioned this a few times already. But I remain stunned at the number of people I’m generally used to seeing decrying “forever wars” and the military industrial complex insisting the time has come for us to intervene militarily in Ukraine. The favored demand seems to be a “no fly zone” either over Kyiv or the entirety of Ukraine — which in case you haven’t reviewed the maps is a very large country. The preference for “no fly zones” is itself a reminder that the U.S. public has virtually no living memory of war with a peer military force or even one that can put up any kind of fight. The word gets tossed around as though it described a kind of high tech forcefield the U.S. deploys when we’ve gotten fed up with the pictures we’re seeing on TV. I’ve even seen people questioning whether a “no fly zone” actually constitutes an act of war.

I would hate to think anyone reading this needs clarification. But a “no fly zone” is simply a standing order to shoot down any military aircraft in a certain geographical space. As long as you keep your planes on the ground, no one gets hurt. So assuming Russia doesn’t agree to our unilateral declaration of a “no fly zone” that means putting lots of planes in the air over Ukraine and shooting down any Russian aircraft operating in the country. You also have to deploy AWACs type planes to monitor where everything is. You have to protect those too. Before you get to shooting down planes you have to destroy anything on the ground that can threaten your own aircraft. So the U.S. has to attack and destroy any anti-aircraft capacity that Russia currently has in Ukraine. So a campaign of bombing and attacks from the air before you get down to shooting planes. Indeed, since major fighting is happening near the border between the two countries the U.S. would likely need to attack such armaments and hardware in Russia as well. So now we’re not only engaging directly in combat operations against the Russian army. We’re invading and attacking on Russian territory.

My sense is that the U.S. Air Force can likely beat the Russian Air Force, though not easily. So if we shoot down all their planes operating in Ukraine remember that we’re right there next to Russia, where Russia keeps most of its Air Force. They can send over more.

If you’re really serious about a “no fly zone” you really might as well support just intervening on the side of the Ukrainians and forcing the Russian Army back out of the country. It really amounts to the same thing.

I assume it goes without saying that this trajectory of events definitely constitutes going to war with Russia and would be a very bad situation. To put it mildly. There’s a reason we spent decades doing our best never to directly engage the Russia Army, certainly not on or within its own borders.

Let’s stop talking about “no fly zones.”

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