Politics

Zelenskyy amplifies his plea for U.S. help with a heart-rending video of Ukraine’s suffering

To say, “Get out the tissues” sounds glib, but seriously, get out the tissues if you’re going to watch. And understand that it shows serious violence and trauma.

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But we also have to understand that the video’s aim is to get the United States to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, and that is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, it likely would mean all-out war between the U.S. and Russia. Beyond that, as Markos has written:

The argument for doing more is predicated on the civilian carnage we’re seeing in Ukraine. Putin must be stopped, it is argued, to save civilian deaths. However, a wider war doesn’t mean fewer civilian deaths, it means more. If Russia’s modus operandi is to bombard its foes into submission, what makes anyone think that Russian bombs and missiles would stop falling on population centers? What’s more likely is that they’ll start falling on more population centers. Suddenly, capital cities like Warsaw, Vilnius, Riga, Tallin, Bucharest, and Sofia would be in range of Russia-based missile systems, and many more in range via Russian naval and strategic air assets in the Mediterranean, North, and Baltic seas.

And that’s not including the Belorussian and Russian civilians who would die on the other side of the line (in case anyone cares). Even if we take nuclear weapons off the table, what’s stopping a desperate Putin from dropping chemical weapons on population centers across the region? Are we willing to put tens of millions of new civilians at risk, to feel better about the millions currently at risk? I know this sounds heartless, and especially so to those currently trapped in Russia’s line of fire. But adding a broader international profile to the casualty list doesn’t bring back the victims of Russian aggression. It just adds to them.

President Joe Biden and top military leaders must think what more the U.S. can do to help Ukraine. But establishing a no-fly zone is not a simple or easy answer, no matter how neatly those words fit into a tweet, and no matter how desperately we want, after seeing the carnage in Zelenskyy’s video, to do something to help Ukraine and its people, to prevent more tiny little bodies from being shattered by Russian bombs, to prevent more mass graves, to prevent more grieving parents and children and husbands and wives.




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