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OPINION

Russia Shooting Down US Drone Belligerent, But Not Worth War

sen lindsey graham r sc

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 16, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Fred Fleitz By Thursday, 16 March 2023 05:01 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Earlier this week, Russian fighter jets harassed and downed an American MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone over the Black Sea, in international airspace.

Russian planes dumped fuel on the drone and clipped its propeller, forcing its American operators to bring it down in international waters.

Was this a belligerent and war-like act?

Yes.

Is this a reason for the United States to risk starting a war with Russia, possibly by shooting down Russian fighters that approach U.S. air assets over international waters, as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has called for?

Absolutely not.

We saw a similar situation in June of 2019 after Iran shot down an American drone over the Persian Gulf.

Most of then-President Trump’s national security advisers urged him to approve the bombing of Iranian radars and missile batteries in response to the drone shootdown.

However, at the last minute, after Trump learned that 100 to 200 Iranians could be killed by a U.S. attack, he called it off.

Trump said he called it off  because possible Iranian fatalities would not have been proportionate to shooting down an unarmed U.S. drone.

Trump also believed a U.S. attack could have started a war with Iran.

President Trump made the right call.

He also made a decision which reflected perfectly, the "America First" approach to U.S. national security.

An approach he initiated during his presidency.

This meant a strong U.S. military, decisive presidential decision making, and the prudent use of U.S. military force, so as to not start unnecessary wars.

Given how profoundly the America First approach has transformed conservative thinking on U.S. national security, it was actually stunning to hear Sen. Graham call for military action in retaliation for the downed drone.

An action which would likely kill members of Russia’s military.

The consequences of direct U.S. military confrontation with Russia that Sen. Graham has called for would be much more dangerous than the 2019 U.S. attack on Iran that President Trump called off.

Not only would it risk a war with a great military power, one which might well spread into Europe, it could easily spark a nuclear war.

The Biden administration made this current situation worse by trying to mislead the public about the downing of our drone, by claiming Russian jets may have done this by accident or that it resulted from the incompetence of Russian pilots.

This inept response has only further angered the Biden administration’s opponents in Congress and egged them on to press for military retaliation against Russia.

This writer agrees that Russia should pay a price for its reckless and dangerous decision to destroy an unarmed American drone in international airspace.

But we need a proportionate, America First response using tools short of military action that holds Russia accountable without starting an unnecessary war, such as stern diplomacy, economic, and financial pressure, information warfare, and other tools.

The downing of the U.S drone is a sign of how dangerous the Ukraine conflict has become for the United States.

This is because Russian President Putin’s growing desperation over the Ukraine War has greatly increased the risk that a miscalculation or a minor incident could escalate into a war between Russia and the United States.

This explains why so many Americans are increasingly worried about the war in Ukraine, especially the absence of any Biden administration strategy to end the war, coupled with a concern that the U.S. cannot provide the current level of military aid to Ukraine indefinitely.

Sen. Graham’s ill-advised call to risk war with Russia over the drone incident will intensify this debate across our nation and Congress. Additionally, it will pressure the Biden administration to put forth plans for a cease-fire and a strategy to end this conflict.

Fred Fleitz is a Newsmax TV Contributor and vice-chair of the America First Policy Institute Center for American Security. He previously served as National Security Council Chief of staff, CIA analyst, and as a member of the House Intelligence Committee staff. Read more reports from Fred Fleitz — Click Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Fred-Fleitz
Was this a belligerent and war-like act? Yes. Is this a reason for the United States to risk starting a war with Russia, possibly by shooting down Russian fighters that approach U.S. air assets? Absolutely not.
graham, putin, reaper
669
2023-01-16
Thursday, 16 March 2023 05:01 PM
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