Translating ‘No fly zone’

How to translate the slogan “No fly zone!” as some Congress members have applied to the Ukraine crisis into understandable English from Washingtonese?

Another set of three one-syllable words hits home: “World War III.” 

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, among others in Congress, have insisted that the U.S. military impose a “No fly zone” over Ukraine. People should hear or read, “World War III.”

Manchin won’t fund the construction of infrastructure, but is willing to fund the world’s destruction.

Workers World rarely quotes Sen. Marco Rubio, a reactionary enemy of Cuba and Venezuela, but Rubio must have had a moment of clarity when he said this about a No fly zone: “That means the willingness to shoot down and engage Russian airplanes in the sky,” [to] “knock out the anti-aircraft systems that the Russians have deployed and not just in Ukraine but [in] Russia . . . [It] means starting World War III.” (, March 8)

The working class in the United States and in the rest of the world has no interest in accelerating the path to World War III. We must instead accelerate opposition to the steps the U.S. government, using NATO, has taken to provoke the conflict in Ukraine. 

Yes, as WW has shown in its extensive coverage of the Ukraine crisis, it is this NATO military alliance the U.S. dominates that has used the people of Ukraine as a battering ram against Russia and provoked the battle there. Now the corporate media has carried out a blitz of propaganda to showcase the horrible consequences of this U.S.-NATO aggression, without revealing its roots in U.S. imperialist strategy to make Russia submit to its hegemonic agenda.

Some Washington warmongers may have convinced some Ukrainian leaders they should demand a “No fly zone.” The Biden administration, while publicly tabling the call for a “No fly zone,” is moving in the same dangerous direction. The New York Times page one banner headline March 13 laid out Biden’s plans: “U.S. will send more arms, defying Moscow.”

These arms may kill more Russians. They won’t help people in Ukraine, and they too may lead to World War III. 

It is up to the antiwar movement in the U.S. and in all the NATO countries to combat the continued NATO aggression and fight, to oppose a “No fly zone” and to dissolve the aggressive NATO military alliance altogether.

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