A ‘No-Fly Zone” over Ukraine would be a strategic disaster for the world, and ironically a big win for Putin.
I want to support the Ukrainians. I want Russia to pay the highest price possible for their aggression and war crimes. A ‘No-Fly Zone’ is the absolutely worst way to seek those goals.
In this particular, President Zelensky is showing the fact that he really is just a comedian who got stuck with the worst role imaginable. Zelensky’s calls to ‘close the sky’ with a ‘no-fly zone’ are intuitively appealing and commonsensical, but also demonstrate his lack of deep understanding of the technical minutia of the battlespace and his country’s and the world’s actual strategic interests. I fully expect for the whole idea will be quietly dropped by Ukrainian officials in short order because it really is just a TERRIBLE idea.
Most who oppose the idea of a ‘no-fly zone’ merely point to the strategic escalation by the West that it would represent – potentially setting off a nuclear exchange. It IS that, but merely relying on that factor smacks of cowardice in the face of a bully to many. Me, too. But there are MANY other very good reasons not to do it that one should seriously consider.
Here is David Bronk, a Royal United Services Institute Research Fellow for Airpower & Technology, explaining the MANY reasons a ‘no-fly zone’ just won’t fly:
In summation: it won’t actually give Ukrainians much – if any – relief from bombardment; it draws the U.S. and NATO into an immediate and dangerous escalation with Russia; it destroys the diplomatic unity with most of the world on sanctions that Biden has achieved, and it hands Putin a potent political weapon to extricate him from the grave he’s dug for himself.
It’s a TERRIBLE idea. Stop demanding it. Tell everyone you talk to not to demand it. It’s an emotionally satisfying panacea that will make this crisis MUCH worse.
President Zelensky is smart enough to realize that a no-fly zone would be catastrophic for his nation and the world in general. I would guess that he keeps publicly pushing for a no-fly zone mainly for his domestic consumption, showing he’s doing everything he can to protect them. As he should.