There was an interesting development Tuesday in the effort to bolster NATO in Eastern Europe. “At the direction of the Secretary of Defense and at the invitation of our Polish allies, General Wolters, Commander, of U.S. European Command has directed U.S. Army Europe and Africa to reposition two Patriot Batteries to Poland,” said a European Command spox.
“This defensive deployment is being conducted proactively to counter any potential threat to U.S. and Allied forces and NATO territory.” Excellent gambit. Except they went to the wrong place. They should have gone to Ukraine.
Look, if we establish a No Fly Zone like Zelenskyy wants we are going to shoot down a Russian jet. The situation could get very sporty from there and a war with Russia is not in the national interest of the US.
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Yeah, I’ve seen the polls and Americans are for a No Fly Zone by a big margin. But that’s emotion because we love a brave underdog. Many people aren’t thinking this through. If things get out of hand, are you willing to trade DC for Moscow? Okay, bad example. How about San Francisco for Moscow? Oh. New York? Uh huh. Philly? C’mon, it’s a good town. Right. Are you gonna watch Philly glow in the dark because one of their fighter jocks or ours got nervous in the service? Me either.
We could try to establish a humanitarian No Fly Zone over certain parts of Ukraine to get refugees out to the West. But, that could also get cute through miscalculation or accident. We could try an unarmed humanitarian airlift of non-military essential goods to Kyiv, like the 1948 Berlin Airlift. But West Berlin belonged to us by treaty. Kyiv does not.
There is only one option to help Ukraine and get up a No Fly Zone before Ivan is inside Kyiv proper. And that’s anti-aircraft equipment. Give them Patriot batteries. Get the Israelis to fly over Iron Dome and David’s Sling. Get every Stinger and Redeye we can spare and ship them to Kyiv pronto. Speed is of the essence. The light weapons are better because they can be shipped easier and quicker. They should get priority. But send as much of everything we dare to as fast as we can.
Make every citizen of Kyiv a AAA asset all by themselves. When Russian pilots enter Ukrainian airspace they should run into dragon’s teeth in the air. That should even the odds somewhat.
Even that has risks. If we deplete our stocks and look weakened then the Iranians and or the Chinese could move on our interests in the Persian Gulf or Taiwan. We’d be faced with the quandary British Fighter Command had as France fell in 1940. How much can we commit to an ally and still protect ourselves? The Brits gave as many squadrons as they could, but stopped when the bleeding was too much. We would need to stop before that.
Also, if Kyiv falls, and it’s still a good bet that it will, how many of our weapons would be left behind for the Russians? We don’t need to supply them as we did the Taliban. Hell, even Ilhan Omar gets that. Or she just doesn’t want to help European whites. Probably the latter.
So yes, it’s a gamble. But a calculated one. The Russians haven’t stopped our resupply so far. They probably won’t if we step it up with lots of anti-aircraft equipment. Zelenskyy gets his No Fly Zone, the dignity of doing it himself, and we stay out of WWIII. Everyone is happy. Except Putin.