The renewed fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh has not drawn that much attention in the West, but many of the initial, knee-jerk responses to the conflict have been remarkably bad. Whether it is members of Congress urging U.S. recognition of an independent Artsakh, pro-Azerbaijan advocates calling for US support for the aggressor, or Iran hawks cheering on aggression against Armenians because they have the “wrong” geopolitical alignment, many Americans are eager to co-opt and meddle in a conflict that has nothing to do with us. David Ignatius takes the cake with his new proposal to impose a “no-fly zone” in the South Caucasus (a region whose name he doesn’t know how to spell):
Here’s a simple suggestion for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is scheduled to meet Friday with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan: The path to real negotiations and stability in Karabakh could begin with a no-fly zone over the enclave, enforced by the United States, Russia and France, the three co-chairs of the “Minsk Group” that had been fruitlessly attempting to settle the Karabakh issue since 1992.
This is a terrible proposal for reasons that I hope are so obvious that they don’t need to be spelled out, but let’s review some of the chief problems. Ignatius has been banging the drum to “do something” about the new war over Karabakh for weeks, but this is the first time that he has explicitly called for military action. It is a mindless, reflexive demand for intervention that makes absolutely no sense. “No-fly zones” by themselves do not halt conflicts, and at best this would just expand the conflict to include more belligerents. It is difficult to see where US planes would be enforcing this “no-fly zone” from, since it is doubtful Turkey would permit basing or overflight for such a mission, and there is a decent chance that the US might have to enforce this “no-fly zone” against Turkish jets at some point. Ignatius’ proposal is hopelessly naive and extremely dangerous.