There is an active, influential, and well-paid minority of pundits and politicians in America who apparently believe that escalating conflict between nuclear powers—and even nuclear war itself—is not really that big a deal.
These, of course, are the sorts of people who fancy themselves “the adults in the room,” while people who proceed with prudence, caution, and regard for the rule of law are to be regarded as traitors, cowards, or Russian agents.
Consider, for example, Sean Hannity’s March 2 suggestion that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—which really means the United States—should attack a Russian tank column with “some of [NATO’s] fighter jets, or maybe they can use some drone strikes and take out the whole damn convoy.” For Hannity, this would not count as escalation because NATO could elect to not tell the Russians who carried out the attack, and then Moscow “won’t know who to hit back.”
Meanwhile, support for a “no-fly zone” has been one of the more dangerous avenues to escalation, since a no-fly zone would be a de facto declaration of war on Russia. Sen. Roger Wicker, for example, has said the US should “seriously consider” a no-fly zone. Florida congresswoman Maria Salazar supports a no-fly zone for the very profound reason that “freedom isn’t free.” (Fortunately, most members of Congress appear to recognize that a no-fly zone would mean World War III.)
And then there are the pundits who have outright treated the gravity of nuclear war with a lot of hand-waving. NBC’s chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, in an apparent reference to nuclear war, implied the US should risk everything in order to destroy a Russian convoy.