“[Russia is] interested in keeping Assad in power. So I, when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them.”
That was Hillary Clinton in the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 saying flat out that as President of the United States, she would impose a U.S.-enforced no-fly zone in Syria to keep Russia from bombing targets there.
That, even though the U.S. Marine Gen. James Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, just testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Sept. 22 that “for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia.”
And, even though on Oct. 6 the Kremlin had already warned it would shoot down U.S. war planes in Syria. Major General Igor Konashenkov issued a statement, saying, “Today, the Syrian army has effective S-200, Buk and other air defense systems, which have undergone technical renovation in the past year. I remind U.S. strategists that air cover for the Russian military bases in Tartus and Hmeymim includes S-400 and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, the range of which may come as a surprise to any unidentified flying objects.”
Now, we’re not any big fans of Russia per se, but is Clinton out of her ever-loving mind? Wouldn’t enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria be a pretty risky proposition under these circumstances if it increases the chances of a direct exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Russia?
It is an act of war. Even though there is no authorization to use force in Syria. But maybe that doesn’t matter to Clinton, who, if she means what she says, would necessarily mean U.S. and Russian fighter jets in the same exact air space, with the U.S. Air Force having active orders to escort Russian MiGs out of the zone or else shoot them down.
So, then let’s assume Russia runs the no-fly zone. After all, they were there first. Then what? Clinton would have to make a split-second decision about whether to enforce yet another “red line” in Syria. If she did decide to enforce it — in order to salvage the credible threat of U.S. force in the region — we’d be at war with Russia. Just like that.
We have to assume she’d enforce it. She’s been pushing for a no-fly zone in Syria since she was Secretary of State, and since before Russia had a sizeable presence in the country. Now, despite how the situation on the ground has radically changed, and with Russia clearly involved, she is still pushing.
Both the top spokesmen in both the U.S. and Russian militaries have warned explicitly that such actions would mean war, and yet Clinton — along with other hawks in the Senate like Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — are arrogantly pushing forward.
Get off it, already.
It’s one thing to have taken on Soviet satellites during the Cold War, ala North Korea or then-North Vietnam, but a fairly standard staple of Cold War doctrine did not usually include attacking satellites that had active Russian forces on the ground. That’s why it was called the Cold War.
Even President John Kennedy ruled out a military strike in Cuba to resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis in Oct. 1962 out of similar concerns. It was tantamount to nuclear holocaust then, and that remains true today. Both countries remain armed to the teeth with enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the other.
In the meantime, U.S. talks with Russia on Syria have ground to a halt and a U.S.-brokered “ceasefire” was broken almost instantly. The Obama administration is out there every day of the week accusing Russia of tampering with U.S. elections. The State Department is alleging war crimes by Russia and Syria at the city of Aleppo. And Russia just pulled out of a nuclear agreement with the U.S.
Maybe we really are on the brink this time.
All to defend the strategically super-important… city of Aleppo? Under Clinton we would risk crashing into the Russian air force — and risking a much wider, deadly war — to protect what remains of the ineffective rebels against the Bashar al Assad regime? What for? They’ve already lost the war. And even if they haven’t it is insanity when Russia has already indicated it will defend Syria.
When she was Secretary of State, Clinton had heralded a “Russian reset,” that is, a renewal of closer ties with Russia. Now look at how her policy has played out. By that, apparently she meant to put U.S. forces into extraordinarily risky adventures by threatening war with Russian satellite states like Syria and Ukraine.
We’re closer to war with Russia now than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.
We’re on the brink of Armageddon with this harebrained Clinton policy. German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned last week “it’s a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous.” More dangerous than 1962? Whoa, boy.
Former Soviet Prime Minister Mikhail Gorbachev warned on Russian television, “I think the world has reached a dangerous point,” referring to the conflict in Syria. Yikes. He almost never speaks up.
You’d have to be a lunatic to support this policy. Stark raving mad. Clinton is looking for leverage and wants to prove how tough she is in the debates. So, sure, just throw up a no-fly zone in the middle of a Russian satellite’s airspace — that their forces are currently patrolling — what could go wrong?
In the meantime, perhaps everyone else should be looking at unearthing their 1950s era fallout shelters.
With its aging fleet and nuclear deterrent, is the U.S. even prepared for war with Russia?
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, we may be about to find out. Count me out.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.