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We simply cannot let threats keep us from defending the rights of free nations. We can’t just say, “oh well, there goes Ukraine. Another democracy bites the dust.” We must defend democracy in Europe.

We can’t let threats cause us to cower in a corner. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described NATO’s failure to take decisive action as “the self-hypnosis of those who are weak, insecure inside, despite the fact they possess weapons many times stronger than we have.” Putin has already brought another foreign power into the war. We have world support for everything but a no-fly zone. What is NATO waiting for? Failing to defend free nations has consequences.

Should NATO establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine? Or should the world tolerate Putin’s behavior? 

We don’t know what will happen if NATO establishes a no-fly zone over Ukraine but we do know what will happen if it doesn’t. Putin will overrun Ukraine and slaughter hundreds of thousands of people. Will we allow Ukraine to become another Syria? It’s not worth the price. 

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World wars start with inaction. Remember the saying, “first, they came for the Jews, but I wasn’t a Jew, so I didn’t speak up.” We are talking about the exact same thing. Failure to respond in a decisive way to acts of impunity only encourages similar behavior. We will have to fight back at some point, why not now when Putin’s forces are struggling and demoralized and he is backed into a corner? Remember, China is watching and supporting Putin.

There are factors to consider other than fear. These include NATO’s capability, the chance of success, importance, and the consequences of inaction. All these considerations weigh in favor of a no-fly zone. NATO is perfectly capable of establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. I know of no one arguing otherwise. The chance of success is therefore high. The cause of defending democracy and freedom in an era of rising authoritarianism is vital. We simply can’t afford to keep losing democracies if we expect to keep the forces of authoritarianism at bay. The consequences of inaction are dire: millions dead and displaced, a decimated nation, and a dangerous dictator emboldened and empowered.

Democracy is collapsing worldwide. The Economist’s “Global Democracy Index” downgraded the United States from a full democracy to a flawed democracy after 2020. The United States is now ranked 25th among the world’s democracies. The Economist magazine recently reported that more than half the world's population lives under authoritarian regimes. These global trends put democracy at risk everywhere.

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We can’t keep losing democracies around the world and expect to successfully confront our world’s problems. We are headed toward a world ruled by tyrants. The collapse of democracy bodes ill for humanity's survival.

Rich Procida