This photo taken from video released on March 16, 2023, shows a Russian Su-27 approaching the back of the MQ-9 drone and beginning to release fuel as it passes, over the Black Sea, the Pentagon said. The Pentagon has released footage of what it says is a Russian aircraft conducting an unsafe intercept of a U.S. Air Force surveillance drone in international airspace over the Black Sea. Credit: US Department of Defense via AP

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Believe me, I’m no fan of Vladimir Putin, nor was I of Josef Stalin or any of his thuggish successors in the late unlamented USSR. Nor would I have been an admirer of the Tsar had I been around then. Russians seem to have a fondness for tyrants. Nevertheless, I do have some respect for the better aspects of Russian nationalism, as manifested in their victories against Napoleon then Hitler.

The  U.S. drone whose fate we are condemning was snooping around the edges of Russian Black Sea airspace many thousands of miles from our shores. How would we react if a Russian drone were buzzing around the Gulf of Mexico inches from U.S. airspace? We needn’t go further back in history than the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. Remember the righteous indignation when Soviet missiles were to be poised just 80 miles from Florida?

It seems that we may be playing with fire, beyond the apparent consensus in the country that we should support Ukraine in its resistance to Russian aggression. The escalation of our involvement in this European conflict is evident. World War III is not a pleasant prospect, and the renewed chummy relationship of Russia, China and Iran should give pause.

Go ahead, knock that chip off the American shoulder, you barbarians, let’s have an international incident. Maybe that will take Americans’ minds off out-of-control inflation, mob invasions of our southern border and related tons of smuggled narcotics, trampled civil liberties and more.

It’s high time to have more debate on this creeping escalation before we stumble into a big war that none of us wants.

Alan W. Boone