The No-Fly Zone Conundrum

: Leaving Kyiv, March, 2022, photo courtesy of

Logical fallacies do not prepare deliberation or offer resolution. Like a smoke screen they defy investigation, keeping the observer blinded.

“No Fly Zone,” (NFZ) is a recent case. If the consequence of putting in place a NFZ is a challenge to future humanity, the reckoning is placed disproportionately. Survivors of such a reckoning will be challenged by scarcity. That’s not reassuring for civilization inspired by abundance.

Consider rather why some sanctions are effective, some not. (1) Sanctions are totems of solidarity. Like a boycott, sanctions go beyond sending “a message.” Sanctions channel sacrifice. Sanctions fill a void offered by abundance.

Consider that a NFZ is a void. It is a carryover from nation-statism in an increasingly interconnected world.

Reality speaking, the earth is a no-fly zone, and specific no-fly zones are carved-out ‘shoot-to-kill-zones.’ (2)

A NFZ is an exercise in militarism. Enter a NFZ and one is threatened with annihilation. A NFZ like a gauntlet once thrown sets up an ultimate tragedy. There is no turning back: the duel must play out until one is wounded or killed.

A NFZ is not an imprint of a cease-fire border. There are no check-points. There is no accommodation. So that nation-states can control access from a distance, a NFZ proposes a moving target

The argument for a NFZ is that it contains wider military escalation. This is nonsense, tactically speaking. Less tangible, cheaper, resources exist: biological warfare, cluster bombs, leaked radiation. Go to the zero-sum duel metaphor: a NFZ is like the command, “gentlemen, choose your weapon.”

So child refugees understand.

March 16

1-Why Sanctions Too Often Fail




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Rodney Clough

Rodney Clough

Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.