No. Not really. Amy is alright. We love Amy.
“AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is giving a virtual address to both chambers of the U.S. Congress today. He is expected to repeat his call for NATO to impose a no-fly zone. President Biden has so far rejected his request, but some in Congress and former officials have embraced the idea.
Meanwhile, a group of foreign policy experts have signed on to an open letter opposing a no-fly zone. The letter was co-written by our next guest, Stephen Wertheim. He’s senior fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of the book Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy.
Stephen, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us. Talk about what it means to impose a no-fly zone and why you’re opposed, what this letter is all about.
STEPHEN WERTHEIM: Well, a no-fly zone strikes many people as a humanitarian measure or a technical measure. Our experience with no-fly zones comes from the last three decades, in which a small number of no-fly zones have been imposed against much weaker enemies than Russia. But what it means is that the United States and NATO forces would commit to shoot down enemy planes, any enemy plane that enters the zone. It’s quite clear Russia would not voluntarily comply with our verbal declaration of a no-fly zone, so we’d have to shoot those planes down. And to do that, we’d have to patrol the area with our own planes to gain supremacy in the skies over Ukraine. And to do that safely, we would have to destroy the enemy’s air defense systems on the ground, as well. Many of those are located in Belarus, and some potentially may be located in Russia. Indeed, Russians could fire at U.S. and NATO forces from Russia.
And then the question would become: Would we go to war, go to war and exchange fire with Russians who are located inside Russian territory? So, as you start thinking about how a no-fly zone would actually unfold, it becomes very obvious this would be direct involvement in the war against Russia. And rather than end the war, a no-fly zone would enlarge the war and escalate the war. And that’s why the Biden administration has, rightly, been very clear throughout this conflict that a no-fly zone would be escalatory and is not something that it wants to do.”