No, we should not launch an attack on Russia and spark World War III over Ukraine

While it may be tempting to defend the besieged country against Putin's aggression, nuclear devastation would be disastrous.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's illegal aggression against Ukraine has elicited fair criticism from most of the West, with the United States and European nations imposing punishing sanctions on the Russian invaders. Many Americans are inspired by the Ukrainian people's bravery in defending their homeland, as well as President Volodymyr Zelensky's remarkable honor, and wish we could do more.

Indeed, while NBC News journalist Richard Engel observed Russian forces heading on Kyiv, he pondered whether the US should attack the Russian convoy directly.

It should go without saying that this is a terrible idea. The danger is far too severe.

To begin with, the United States cannot strike Russia since Congress has yet to declare war on the country. And make no mistake: a frontal attack on Russian soldiers by the US or NATO would constitute a war crime. For the first time since World War II, this would pit two of the world's superpowers against each other. The likelihood of a nuclear assault on either side would skyrocket. Indeed, for the first time in history, favorable conditions for an all-out nuclear war would be met.

The condition of the Ukrainians is awful, but as much as we would like to help them militarily, the United States cannot embark on a course of action that has a high probability of resulting in nuclear devastation. While it would be satisfying to punish Putin for attempting to rebuild the Soviet empire, a bad actor's evil action is no excuse for the United States' carelessness. Despite Engel's assertion that the scenario offers a "moral quandary," there is no such quandary: war between nuclear nations is not an option.

The same can be said about calls to create a "no-fly zone" over Ukraine. A no-fly zone is not a magical protective barrier; it must be enforced by firing down Russian jets. Russia's air force is formidable, therefore this would be no simple task. In any event, it would still be war with Russia. As a result, the United States must reject Zelensky's heartfelt request for a no-fly zone. So far, the Biden administration has rightly signalled that such a move is not on the agenda.

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