We need a no-fly zone for Ukraine now! – Internal sources
One might have expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to offer the story of European invaders, from Napoleon to Hitler, and his view that the breakup of the Soviet Union insulted 1,000 years of history. Russian, such as the reasons for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for its hostility to NATO and for its declared desire to redeem the countries of Stalin’s iron curtain.
Instead, a bizarre explanation is given for the invasion of Ukraine. He asserts that Russia must destroy the neo-Nazis and drug addicts who threaten Russia. Although some Ukrainians initially collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, Ukraine’s Jewish president is not a threatening neo-Nazi.
What Putin really fears is not military invaders from Europe, but an invasion of Western ideas of freedom and democracy in Russia that would undermine him and his regime. Its main goal is to crush the freedom-loving peoples in Ukraine and the former Warsaw Pact countries. Stalin feared it too, but at least Stalin could claim that the death and destruction Hitler had inflicted on the Soviet Union justified his insistence on a divided Germany and the Warsaw Pact buffer. That time has passed.
For autocrats like Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the ideas and values of Western democracies threaten their absolute rule so much that military force to crush them is justified if Western nations allow it. Putin is now waving the nuclear saber. If Russia lacked nuclear bombs, is there any doubt that the West would help Ukraine militarily? Will the West allow Ukraine to be a precedent for future nuclear bullying that will allow Russia to redeem former Warsaw Pact countries, Xi to attack Taiwan? The vital interests of America and NATO are at stake.
As President Franklin Roosevelt struggled to find ways to help Britain when it stood alone in 1941-42 against Hitler’s submarines and aerial bombardment, he lamented that he did not think he could convince America’s isolationist farm boys to take up arms to defend the West against Putin and Xi of that day. It took Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor to provide the nation’s moral strength for war.
In 1962, President John Kennedy knew this story. In 1962, as a nine-year-old child, I watched with my father on black-and-white television the Russian ships sailing to Kennedy’s “quarantine” in Cuba to stop the delivery of nuclear missiles to Cuba. The tension was palpable, the threat of nuclear war was real and immediate, but the measures were absolutely necessary to prevent Khrushchev from threatening to blackmail or even attack the United States with nuclear missiles in Cuba. Russia’s crushing of Ukraine, Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons for Western interference and the threat this poses to NATO and America is akin to Russia’s installation nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962. It must be stopped.
At first, Western leaders should not have stated unequivocally that the Western military would not be used to defend Ukraine, but rather should have expressly stated that all options were open. In so many words, we announced that we were ready to sacrifice Ukraine for “peace”. In the face of Putin’s nuclear threat, we continue to declare that we will not put boots on the ground or in the air for fear of World War III. What would Kennedy do? We also have a nuclear saber.
The correct course of action is to inform the Russians that (1) NATO and the United States are immediately establishing a no-fly zone to allow humanitarian and military supplies to reach the Ukrainian people and forces; (2) if Russia interferes, its offending air defenses and aircraft will be destroyed; and (3) if Russia escalates further, NATO and the United States will escalate further, including the use of our nuclear forces if necessary.
Time is running out for Ukraine and for the West. No Russian first strike, tactical or strategic, could eliminate a response that could vaporize Russian forces or cities. As unhinged as he seems to be, one would expect Putin and those around him not to want Russia vaporized.
Western leaders must immediately rally the moral force of their citizens for what needs to be done.