ANALYSIS – While telegenic, articulate and generally well informed, conservative South Florida GOP congresswoman, and my former Univision Radio show co-host, Maria Elvira Salazar, flubbed a question about the U.S. imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
The flub highlights the need for our policy makers to be better informed during this crisis, and the danger on all sides of hyping our way into a broader war with Russia.
When asked on video if she supported a no-fly zone in Ukraine, the former journalist, and TV and radio personality, on whose TV news shows I also appeared frequently, replied:
“I support everything that has to do with punishing Vladimir Putin and helping the Ukrainians,” prompting the reporter to ask: “Wouldn’t that mean direct conventional warfare with Russia?”
Florida @RepMariaSalazar says she supports a No Fly Zone in Ukraine even though she doesn’t “know what it would mean” before adding “freedom is not free”
— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) March 9, 2022
“I don’t know what it will mean, but you know, freedom is not free,” the congresswoman responded.
“You don’t know what a no-fly zone will mean? You do have to shoot down Russian planes,” the reporter continued.
“Of course!” Salazar responded.
“So, conventional war with Russia?” the reporter pressed again.
At this point Salazar simply said, “thank you” and walked away.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, but since this would require U.S. and NATO planes to enforce it, likely bringing them into direct conflict with Russian combat jets, Biden and NATO have rejected the call.
And while I am sympathetic to Zelensky’s request, this is one of the few times I may agree with Team Biden.
The time to put boots on the ground, or planes in the air, in Ukraine was before the invasion began, to deter Putin, not now. Sadly, President Biden foolishly and very publicly took that option off the table well before Putin invaded.
I write about this not to bash Salazar, who I have known for well over decade, and like and respect, or to lessen the U.S. and NATO response to Vlad the Invader Putin, who must be forcefully rebuffed, but to highlight the need for calm and clarity during an emotional and dangerous time.
Despite its weaknesses Russia still maintains the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, and Russian military doctrine emphasizes ‘escalation to de-escalate,’ which means they can, and might, use tactical nuclear weapons first.
And as ADN reported earlier, the U.S. doesn’t have the tactical nuclear weapons Russia has, making deterrence in this scenario a tough sell.
While war with Russia may come, I prefer to do it with our eyes wide open, rather than sleep walking us into Armageddon. ADN