From the Community | Enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine

March 6, 2022, 10:18 p.m.

Adam Behrendt served as a special operations medic in the United States military. He is now a co-term in Mathematical and Computational Science and Biology at Stanford.

Dear President Biden:

I am a veteran of the United States Navy. I believe the United States has moral and practical obligations to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. And I encourage you to order the United States military to do just that. 

The moral argument is obvious. We can. So, we should.

The United States is the only country with the ability to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

The Russian military is killing Ukrainian kindergarteners. The BBC recently reported: “Images have also emerged of an attack on a kindergarten in the town of Okhtyrka. The incident killed six people, including a child, according to the city’s mayor.”

You cannot give Ukrainian kindergarteners boxes of Javelin and Stinger missiles and expect them to defend themselves against the Russian military.

And we can do more than supply Ukraine with military aid. We can enforce the no-fly zone that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has requested. And we should do that.

The practical argument is equally obvious. We can. So, we must.

You recently explained that “American diplomacy matters”; “American resolve matters.” To that, I would add that American leadership matters. And respect for American strength.

Your response to Putin’s invasion is setting a precedent that cannot be easily overturned.

Your refusal to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine sets a bad precedent.

You are teaching Putin that America will not lead when it really matters, when he orders the military invasion of peaceful democracies, and when he bombs kindergarteners.  

And you are teaching Putin that American strength withers when it really matters, when he orders the military invasion of peaceful democracies, and when he bombs kindergarteners. 

We can do more than supply Ukraine with military aid. We can enforce the no-fly zone that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has requested. And we must do that.

I encourage you to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. 

Very respectfully,

Adam Behrendt

Stanford University

Class of 2023

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