Recently, Ukraine’s President Zelensky made a direct, urgent, live-video streaming appeal to our Congress asking for a very particular action to be taken: “Close the skies over Ukraine.” That is, create a no-fly zone. He framed his appeal with invocations of Pearl Harbor and 911, when the enemy attacked the U.S. from the skies. He even included a few minutes of video footage documenting the ruin and rubble resulting from Russian airstrikes on his country. The address, by a man now being compared to Winston Churchill, was given a congressional standing ovation.

How polite! However, what Zelensky will not be getting is that no-fly zone. That was assured just minutes later in President Biden’s brief address of his own. It was, again, an implicit, not overt, dismissal of Zelensky’s passionate plea for a strategic measure that would make Ukraine much less the sitting duck for aerial assaults on civilian targets, including hospitals. Biden simply restated what aid has already been given to Ukraine, with more anti-aircraft weaponry on the way with which the sky over Ukraine might be better defended. To unwittingly emphasize that Ukraine had better make the best of the aid we are providing, Biden said Ukraine’s fight would be “protracted.”

Protracted, as in as long as it takes for Putin to finish the job? Without more than sanctions and military hardware minus troops trained to use such hardware, it’s still a David vs Goliath match-up. Putin thus continues to benefit from the almighty fear appeal that nukes can answer any intervention on Ukraine’s behalf by any other country.

Never mind that ordering a nuclear attack is tantamount to Putin writing his own death warrant. We all know what MAD stands for, right? Mutually Assured Destruction. Why would Russian command and control follow through and sign their death warrants, too? Fear appeal is powerful. But only if we fear fear itself. Hmm. Paging FDR.

This not a proxy war between Moscow and Washington D.C. This is Russia daring the United States to try and stop his effort to revive the Soviet Union. Is that not worthy of more than sanctions and shipments of weapons that may eventually, desperately have to be used by civilians, including women and children?

Churchill? That’s Zelensky. How about Neville Chamberlain? His specter looms over the West. Appeasement won’t stop a despot. Do we learn nothing from the lessons of history?

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