Ian Smith, Republican candidate for Congress in the Third District, does not back a no-fly zone over Ukraine at this time, he told InsiderNJ, calling the conceivable NATO shooting down of a Russian aircraft “a dangerous thing to put into effect” for America.
President Vladimir Putin last month ordered the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where the people – under the leadership of President Volodymyr Zelensky – continue to resist against overwhelming odds.
As his country gets bombed and innocent people lose their lives3rd , Zelensky has called for a NATO-imposed no-fly zone over his country to limit Russian air power.
Putin in response said if NATO moves on a no-fly zone, the western allies should consider themselves at war with Russia.
NATO refuses to budge.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows “an overwhelming majority of Americans (74%) support establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine, banning U.S. imports of Russian oil (80%), and imposing further penalties on the Russian economy (81%),” according to Fox News.
Smith, though, says America should not fall prey to playing a game with Russia that would put the American people at risk.
“The shooting down of aircraft is a dangerous thing to put into effect, which can lead to a rapid escalation [and a potential nuclear conflict between the west and Russia],” said Smith, a gym owner running in in the CD-3 GOP in hopes of going against U.S. Rep. Andy Kim (D-3) in November’s general election.
“Let me be very clear – what is happening in Ukraine is an absolute tragedy,” said the candidate, condemning Russian aggression.
But, “It is not America’s job to be the worlds police department,” he added. “George Washington warned against national entanglements. I do not believe in going to war unless it is an absolute last resort.
“I don’t want to see another Afghanistan, potentially,” Smith said, referring to the United States’ 20-year military presence in the Middle Eastern country.
The Republican candidate said he does back certain U.S. sanctions against Russia, and supports the banning of Russian steel and oil. The United States needs to take much ore vigorous steps toward energy independence, he said, and he advocates opening federal lands to oil drilling, and supports the Keystone XL Pipeline.
“Kim likes to talk about wind energy, but how much Russian steel is going into these windmills?” Smith wanted to know, citing the past shipping of Russian steel to New Jersey ports.
He does not back the removal of Russia from SWIFT, he said.
The bottom line, said the candidate, is “we can’t be prohibiting ourselves from being energy independent. We must prioritize what is most important [and vigorously impose strong sanctions] until Russia is ready to live in the world peacefully, instead of small symbolic things like pouring out Russian vodka.”
Smith also emphasized the importance of augmenting American military power; “restoring our military to the point where it’s respected internationally.” Deterrence is “one of the reasons you want a strong military. We saw a return to that with President [Donald] Trump.”
He decried America’s awful pull-out from Afghanistan, which he said emboldened Russia.
“We looked sloppy,” Smith said.
The anti-establishment Republican who made national headlines as a South Jersey business owner bucking Governor Phil Murphy’s shutdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith also said the United States’ corroded government structures send a tantalizing message to foreign adversaries.
“This country was not founded on the idea of a ruling class of politicians – and this applies to both establishments in our political parties,” Smith said. “We were not built for decade on decade of family members getting jobs and appointments and keeping it all in the family. That’s not the way the system is supposed to work. The idea of a career politician runs counterproductive to the roots of the country. It creates a mentality of people in office more worried about the next election than thinking about the people. The entire world knows this is a major problem, which tremendous weakness in our political system that otherwise is the greatest in the world.”