By Nauman Sadiq for VT Islamabad
On Sunday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, a responsible government official heading foreign affairs and representing the United States on the global stage, “casually suggested” that Poland could hand over its entire fleet of 28 Soviet-era MiG-29s to Ukraine, desperate for imposing a no-fly zone, and, in return, the United States government would “backfill” the Polish Air Force with American F-16s.
“We are looking actively now at the question of airplanes that Poland may provide to Ukraine, and looking at how we might be able to backfill it should Poland decide to supply those planes,” Speaking alongside Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Blinken told a briefing in Chisinau on Sunday, March 6.
Upon getting wind of the “facetious remark” by the charismatic secretary of state idolized by the diplomatic community for wavy salt-and-pepper hair and suave Parisian etiquette, Russian defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov issued a stark warning that any attempt by an outside power to facilitate a no-fly zone over Ukraine, including providing airstrips and aircraft to Kyiv, would be considered a belligerent in the war and treated accordingly.
Hours after the Russian warning, the Polish Foreign Ministry issued an emphatic denial, saying providing aircraft to Ukraine was out of the question as the MiG-29 fleet constituted the backbone of the Polish Air Force. In a bizarre turn of events overnight, however, Poland announced yesterday, March 8, it was ready to transfer the aircraft to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany at the disposal of the United States which could then hand them over to Ukraine.
But the denouement of the diplomatic fiasco came today, March 9, after the United States, occupying a high moral ground, categorically rejected the preposterous Polish offer, initially made on Warsaw’s behalf by none other than the US secretary of state.
The prospect of flying combat aircraft from NATO territory into the war zone “raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” the Pentagon sanctimoniously revealed today. “It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby dignifiedly added.
Only two conclusions could be drawn from the risible gaffe: either the inept secretary of state was unaware of the Pentagon’s “serious concerns” regarding flying combat aircraft from NATO territory into the war zone while initially floating the bizarre proposal, or the reluctant Polish offer of transferring its entire fleet of MiG-29s to Ramstein at the disposal of the United States was nothing more than a humbug designed to provide face-saving to its NATO patron while it was already decided behind the scenes that Washington would spurn Poland’s nominal offer.
As for NATO’s “gracious favor” of deciding not to attempt to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which is being propagated as a “concession to Russia” and “peaceful intentions” of the transatlantic military alliance by the corporate media, it’s worth pointing out that no-fly zones could only be enforced against Third World countries, such as Gaddafi’s Libya or Saddam’s Iraq, whose air forces only had several dozen creaking old aircraft bought in scrap following the Second World War.
Though it stretches credulity, even if NATO decides to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, who is going to implement the impossible decision of enforcing a no-fly zone against one of the top air forces in the world? If anything, Russia is now going to enforce a no-fly zone for hostile aircraft in Ukraine’s airspace by deploying S-400 missile defense systems following the impending fall of Kyiv. Taking a backseat in the Ukraine conflict by the NATO powers isn’t a “goodwill gesture” to Russia, rather it’s an issue of lacking the military capacity to confront resurgent Russia under Putin’s astute leadership.
How ironic that despite investing trillions of dollars over decades on their lethal military-industrial complex, all the global bullies could do is sow chaos and mayhem across the Third World but are left with no other choice than to turn the proverbial another cheek if confronted with equal military powers, such as Russia and China.
Despite covertly mounting proxy war against Russian forces in Ukraine by providing funds, arms, and training to myriad heavily armed militias allied with Ukraine’s security forces, NATO hesitating to directly engage with Russian ground and air forces is predicated on the premise that if the conflict spirals into a nuclear war, it would be catastrophic not only for belligerents but also for the whole world.
Even if the likelihood of a nuclear war is excluded for argument’s sake, bratty Zelensky throwing temper tantrums and fervently cajoling macho Uncle Sam to impose a no-fly zone would remain a puerile fantasy. NATO’s fancy albeit outmoded aircraft is simply not a match for venturing into air-to-air dogfights with Russia’s technologically superior Sukhoi fighter jets, globally acclaimed S-400 air defense systems, and cutting-edge hypersonic missiles.
Built by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics in the eighties, over a dozen F-16 aircraft have crashed in Pakistan alone. Its flight safety record is worse than the flying funeral hearse Boeing 737 Max. Aviation aficionados have recommended that Pakistan Air Force should only induct JF-17s, co-produced with China, instead of wasting billions of dollars foreign exchange on substandard American junk. As for C-130 transport aircraft and B-52 bombers built in the fifties following the Second World War, those “Hindenburg’s Zeppelins” rightfully belong in vintage aerospace exhibition rather than being inducted in modern air forces.
The Pentagon publicly confessed to over 30 Broken Arrows , serious nuclear accidents, including accidentally dropping atom bombs on populated areas in the US and Europe that thankfully didn’t explode, though the real number of such nuclear accidents is calculated to be in thousands, particularly at the height of the Cold War during the sixties when such apocalyptic “accidents” were an everyday occurrence. What could be more irrefutable rebuttal of the much-touted flight safety record of US strategic bombers, transport aircraft and fighter jets?
Notwithstanding, Volodymyr Zelensky reassured his compatriots  last week: “Ukraine is already welcoming foreign volunteers who are coming to our country. First ones from 16,000. They are coming to defend freedom, defend life. For us, for everyone. And it will be a success, I’m sure.” Not surprisingly, he did not disclose who those thousands of “daredevil volunteers” willing to sacrifice lives and limbs in a foreign war were.
The Times reported  on March 4 that defense contractors were recruiting former military veterans for covert operations in Ukraine for a whopping $2,000 a day: “The job is not without risk but, at almost $60,000 a month, the pay is good. Applicants must have at least five years of military experience in eastern Europe, be skilled in reconnaissance, be able to conduct rescue operations with little to no support and know their way around Soviet-era weaponry.”
Thus, the Pope’s call to arms to fellow Christians around pious Christendom in defense of the hallowed land of bourgeois democracy and market-oriented values in the face of a fierce onslaught by pagan hordes of infidel Ruskies hell-bent on desecrating venerable Article 5 of the sanctified transatlantic treaty is more about getting a lion’s share in the war booty rather than defending the Catholic faith as such. Not surprisingly thousands of God-fearing and democracy-loving Christians across Europe and North America have heeded the Pope’s call to arms to mount the epic Crusade in the Kingdom of Kyivan Rus’.
The United States and its allies have reportedly pumped  over $3 billion in arms into Ukraine since the 2014 Euromaidan coup, and committed to send over $850 million more in military aid late last month. The Biden administration has already delivered about $240 million of its promised $350 million in additional military equipment to Ukraine, with the rest expected to arrive in the coming days or weeks at the latest. In addition, the European Union promised to commit nearly 500 million euros for its own military aid package.
Most of the last month’s $850 million military assistance package was spent on recruiting mercenaries for Ukraine’s proxy war and providing 2,000 surface-to-air missiles and antitank Javelins and NLAWs to Ukraine’s security forces and allied irregular militias, which are still in the process of being trained for using the sophisticated military equipment.
The Politico reported  today, March 9, that the Congress’ proposed $1.5 trillion packages to fund the federal government through September would boost national defense coffers to $782 billion, about a 6 percent increase. On top of the hefty budget increase, the package was set to deliver nearly $14 billion in emergency funding to help Ukraine, nearly twice the assistance package initially proposed, including $3 billion for US forces and $3.5 billion for military equipment to Ukraine, plus more than $4 billion for US humanitarian efforts.
In order to create an “international legion” comprising foreign mercenaries, Kyiv lifted visa requirements for anyone willing to fight. “Every friend of Ukraine who wants to join Ukraine in defending the country, please come over,” Zelensky pleaded at a recent press conference, adding “We will give you weapons.”
Ukraine has already declared martial law and a general mobilization of its populace. Those policies include conscription for men aged 18-60 and the confiscation of civilian vehicles and structures, while Ukrainian convicts with military experience are being released from prison to back up the war effort.
In a show of solidarity with Ukraine, several European nations recently announced they would not only not criminalize but rather expedite citizens joining the NATO’s war effort in Ukraine, despite being aware of the lamentable fate of a similar botched policy of enlisting volunteers for proxy wars in Libya and Syria, particularly from diaspora community of those countries, who later returned to Europe and carried out some of the most audacious terror attacks.
The wounds of the Manchester Arena bombing at Ariana Grande’s concert in May 2017, claiming 22 innocent lives and hundreds wounded, by a Libyan expat Salman Abedi, whose brother Hashem Abedi was found guilty of 22 counts of murder in March 2020, are still fresh in the minds of families of the victims. Who would be responsible after armed and violent “volunteers” had fought in the brutal proxy war in Ukraine return home to their native countries and commit wanton acts of vandalism and terrorism?
The myopic and reckless Western policy of lending indiscriminate support to militants in order to topple the Arab nationalist government of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya and the anti-Zionist government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria was directly responsible for the spate of terror attacks in Europe from 2015 to 2017.
After a lull of almost a decade since the horrific Madrid and London bombings in 2004 and 2005, respectively, when the Western powers decided to train and arm militant groups in border regions of Turkey and Jordan straddling Syria from 2011 to 2014, the first incident of terrorism occurred on the Western soil at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, and then the Islamic State carried out the audacious November 2015 Paris attacks, the March 2016 Brussels bombings, the June 2016 truck-ramming incident in Nice, and three gruesome terror attacks took place in the United Kingdom in 2017, and after that the militant group carried out the Barcelona attack in August 2017.
About the author: Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based geopolitical and national security analyst focused on geostrategic affairs and hybrid warfare in the Af-Pak and the Middle East regions. His domains of expertise include neocolonialism, military-industrial complex and petro-imperialism. He is a regular contributor of diligently researched investigative reports to alternative news media.