No-Fly Zone in Syria Is a No Good Idea

Interventionists see humanitarian crisis to exploit.



The push for a no-fly zone in Syria has been ratcheted up in recent days, with Hillary Clinton explaining at Sunday's presidential debate why she was in favor of imposing a no-fly zone and members of government in the United Kingdom pressing for one.

At the debate, Clinton said she advocated for a no-fly zone as Secretary of State (she served from 2009 to 2012—the Syrian civil war began in 2011) and said she was doing so again as a presidential candidate. "We need some leverage with the Russians," Clinton explained, "because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground."

At an emergency parliamentary session in the United Kingdom on Syria on Tuesday, Conservative, and Labour, members supported a no-fly zone, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on the West to explore more "military options" in Syria, saying Russia was at risk of becoming a "pariah nation." The new prime minister, Theresa May, said she would carefully consider the option but that it was up to "the international community to continue to put more pressure on Russia."

France, for its part, has tried to pass a United Nations Security Council resolution that would demand an "immediate halt" to the bombings by the Syrian and Russian air force in Aleppo. The resolution, which could have been used to justify the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria, was unsurprisingly vetoed by Russia. China, another veto-wielding power, abstained.

While Clinton admitted at the debate more U.S. intervention in Syria would have the aim of creating leverage vis a vis Russia, Clinton and other intervention advocates generally cite the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo as their motivating factor, claiming that Russia and Syrian forces were bombing populated civilian areas under the control of rebel groups. Syria insists these are terrorist groups, among them ISIS. Donald Trump repeated that claim at Sunday night's debate.

At a speech to Goldman Sachs in 2013, Clinton explained the difficulties of imposing a no-fly zone in a way she hasn't at the debate or elsewhere on the public campaign trail. "To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas," Clinton said according to leaked transcripts. "So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we're not putting our pilots at risk—you're going to kill a lot of Syrians."

Clinton continued: "So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians." This was in 2013, before ISIS had become a recognized threat and before Russia intervened in the civil war. Back then, then Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCOS) chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said that tens of thousands of U.S. troops would be needed to impose a no-fly zone and that the operation could cost a billion dollars a month. A no-fly zone is an even more difficult proposition now and would be harder still by the time Hillary Clinton were to enter office in 2017. More recently, last month current JCOS chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford said that imposing a no-fly zone would "require" war with Syria and Russia.

Previously, the U.N. passed a Security Council resolution in 2011 concerning violence in Libya (China and Russia abstained) that was used by Western powers led by France and the U.S. as a justification for a no-fly zone. China and Russia complained almost immediately that the resolution was being used beyond the scope for which it was intended, with the Russian ambassador to NATO arguing the aim of the operation was to oust Col. Qaddafi, the Libyan dictator. Rebels eventually captured, sodomized, and killed Qaddafi with the help of U.S. air cover. Before that, the U.S. participated in the imposition of a no-fly zone over Iraq after the conclusion of the First Gulf War—the U.N. resolution used to justify that action did not reference no-fly zones either—that lasted until the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 1994, NATO imposed a no-fly zone in Bosnia. It was the first combat engagement by the Cold War alliance since it was established in 1949.

With less than a hundred days left in the Obama administration, the U.S. is likely to run the clock out in Syria and leave any decision about escalating or de-escalating intervention to the next president. Given the poll position of the committed interventionist Clinton and the inherent uncertainty of Trump's positions, the upcoming lame duck session of Congress may be the best opportunity yet available to waste on not reining in U.S. interventionism.

NEXT: Ten Reasons to Look Foward to the Future: A Review of Progress by Johan Norberg

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  1. The media has put a no-fly zone on Wikileaks.

  2. Wait, what — Who sodomized Qaddafi?

    1. The rebels when they captured him. Perhaps there’s a better description for having a bayonet shoved up your poop chute, but I can’t think of one.

      …videos of his last moments show rebel fighters beating him and one of them sodomizing him with a bayonet…

      1. Ahh he got torn apart by the mob. I was thinking someone got the privilege of being his ‘Big Bob’ and then I got absorbed with all the intricacies that go into deciding who gets to be the rapist of justice. Do they give it to the biggest dick in the force? Does the leader take that honor for himself? Did they already have a designated ‘rape guy’ and the big fish just fell on his beat — like a celebrity or something getting caught doing crime by a small town sheriff you claims jurisdiction in the matter.

  3. I wish there was a no-fly zone around my barn!

  4. Trump’s right on Syria. You should vote for him.

    1. He’s gonna grab Syria by the pussy.

      1. What’s with Donald’s obsession with cats?

        1. They have cats in Syria? They must be supporters of Assad.

  5. So, are we going to shoot down Russian planes? Or is this going to be another “red line” that gets trumpeted throughout the media but ultimately ignored when push comes to shove?

    1. NATO has already shot down Russian aircraft. Turkey shot down Russian Sukhoi Su-24 that was flying on the Turkey-Syria border in 2015.

      I’m not so sure that the Russians will be in a conciliatory mood after the second one is shot down.

    2. And what will Russia do in response? I wonder if Hillary has even thought about that. Siccing her SJWs on Putin won’t work, unless he laughs himself to death.

      1. Let’s find out. Great idea! Do you understand that shooting down foreign military aircraft is literally casus belli?

        The reason many in the US military support Trump over Hillary is because Hillary does not care about sending US forces into harms way for political and/or stupid reasons, then not being prepared for total war, if shit hits the fan. In fact, most politicians are not prepared for their excursions leading to war.

        Trump would grab the hostile situation by the pussy and it would not fight back.

  6. Reason #11 to feel confident in the future – fighting Russia!

    1. There just aren’t any good villains for movies anymore.

      1. Trump’s called for 30,000 ground troops in Iraq and Syria. I’ll give him credit for at least not wanting to risk a war with Russia as much as Clinton does, but let’s not pretend he’s a peace candidate here.

        1. He also said: “We have to defeat ISIS”

          Why us?

          1. Dude it was in the oath we swore when we joined the Global Police Academy.

            1. America. Fuck Yeah.

          2. To be fair, ISIS is calling on people to kill Americans – they haven’t disavowed the people gunning down Americans in their name.

            Of course, the thing is that, if I’m following the bouncing ball correctly, the debate now is whether to fight the same people ISIS is fighting.

            1. Stopping the sarc for a moment. I do believe it to be just to engage in combat an adversary who has declared war on us and acted out on that declaration by raping and killing American citizens.

              1. So ISIS has sent death squads to America to rape and murder people here in the name of Islam?

                1. @Hugh, not sure if you are responding to me? But clearly ISIS has killed every American they can get their hands on. Their leader made a US girl his favorite rapeie(?) simply because she was American. Obviously some of the domestic terrorist actions of late, San Bernadino was carried out by ISIS operatives on US soil. I don’t know if this falls short of your depiction of ‘death squads’ and such. I believe ISIS to be engaging us in every way that they can, and they certainly wish they could hit us harder if they were able.

              2. Depending on how you judge San Bernadino, US declared war on Barbary Corsairs for less or equivalent, against a stronger enemy, with weaker army.

            2. ISIS is calling on people to kill anyone and everyone who doesn’t subscribe to their particular, very narrowly-defined version of Islam. They’ve shown themselves to be at least as keen on killing French people as Americans.

              Of course, the thing is that, if I’m following the bouncing ball correctly, the debate now is whether to fight the same people ISIS is fighting.

              I believe you are following the ball correctly.

              “The enemy of our enemy is . . . oh. Those guys. They’re also our enemies, and enemies of our friends. And our friends are friends with our enemies. And the enemies of our friends are fighting our other enemies. But also our other friends. Curse these entangling alliances!”

              1. I was thinking there was some debate about going to war with ISIS – but then I heard Clinton say we should be *cobelligerents* with ISIS – “no, we’re not on the same side, we’re just shooting at the same people (while ISIS shoots at us). If you can’t follow our 3D chess, your stoopid.”

              2. Curse these entangling alliances!

                If only somebody had warned us about entangling alliances!

            3. I don’t see a ground invasion as a good idea to combat ISIS. Yes, we can take out their conventional forces and the territory they control, but that doesn’t eliminate the asymmetric terrorist threat they pose, and at the same time that leaves us in a quagmire. What do we do with that territory? Do we just withdraw and risk them coming back (and more importantly, does Trump think this? Given his thoughts on the withdrawal from Iraq, that seems unlikely to me)? If not, who do we give that land to, or do we administer it ourselves as occupiers?

              1. Are we allowed to use the term “tar baby” to describe such a scenario, or would that be RACIST?

                1. “Are we allowed to use the term “tar baby” to describe such a scenario, or would that be RACIST?”

                  Yes, but also a raper of the environment using dirty oil. Can we agree to the term ‘lignin bundle child’?

              2. I say just give it back to Assad. Maybe make it part of an overarching deal with him and the Russians. Peace with Israel, autonomous region for the Kurds ( and to hell with the Turks), inspection regime, and Russia out of east Ukraine.

                Yes they will be an asymmetric threat but part of the radicals agenda is to hold territory as a Caliphate. That is the one thing our military is capable of denying them.

                1. Given that Assad and Russia have no interest in tangling with ISIS until rebels are crushed, and don’t need the US after, why would either of them give up anything? And shit, peace with Israel? Iran and Hezbollah would switch sides instantly.

                2. I don’t think Assad wants US troops in his country, even if it’s nominally just to fight ISIS. I could be wrong though. I’m also not sure how good the US would look in that scenario, and it could be only a matter of time until the “next ISIS” pops up.

            4. “To be fair, ISIS is calling on people to kill Americans”

              Tell them to get in line behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Jalisco Nueva Generacion, Stalinists, New Provo Front, Zika mosquitos, Liberte de Quebec, One Direction, Asian Dawn (I read about them in Time magazine).

              1. Forgot the death panels.

              2. Fucking One Direction!

  7. It’s an insane idea that will, not might, lead to two heavily armed nuclear nations directly shooting at each other. Its the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard advanced by a presidential candidate.

  8. Why are we wasting time on meaningless fluff like this when we’ve got Donald Trump running around saying mean things?? How on Earth will armed combat on the other side of the planet affect us in any way?

  9. Hillary Clinton is insane.

    They are playing with fire here.. not only at the risk to start a war with Russia, the most disastrous thing that could happen. But they think once they start attack assad or institute a no fly zone, the Jihadis will get the momentum back. They think they can just use terrorist to put pressure on assad but never let them get so far as to take over the country.. they are delusional and the deaths in this war have just begun if we start destroying the Syrian Arab Army

    1. They think they can just use terrorist to put pressure on assad but never let them get so far as to take over the country.. they are delusional and the deaths in this war have just begun if we start destroying the Syrian Arab Army

      This is the appalling thing. They seem to see this as some sort of strategy, when it’s very difficult to see what good could possibly come of it.

      1. Step 1: Win today’s news cycle
        Step 2: Respin yesterday’s news cycle so we have always been at war with East/Eurasia
        Step 3: Baldly lie when called out on step 2.

    2. These people are indeed insane, but the lunatics who want to run the asylum are different from its ordinary inhabitants.

      I suspect that they fear that the US government is teetering on the verge of an economic collapse that will likely threaten the very existence of the state. A world war is exactly what these lunatics want. War is the health of the state.

      1. A world war is exactly what these lunatics want. War is the health of the state.

        Sadly, you may be right. These shitweasels could care less about the lives that are lost or ruined in the process. There’s not enough ropes and streetlamps to hang all the pols who deserve it.

  10. What would be neat about war with Russia is the potential for aerial dogfights. Hasn’t been any of that action since ‘nam. The Iraqi pilots just didn’t show up for work during ‘Shock and Awe’ if memory serves.

    1. I think the missiles on both sides are good enough that the “dog fights” are going to occur at the extreme edge of visual range. Also, its a lot harder to dodge modern missiles than Top Gun made it seem.

      1. I grasp that, but dog fights weren’t made up by Hollywood. Even modern missiles have a fail rate; also there is counter measures to be accounted for. And there’s always the time when all ordinance have been fired and a plane is left with only their guns while still in the combat zone.

        1. I really don’t think we have margins that tight anymore. If we get into that kind of battle, its going to be prelude to the world’s largest tank battle ever. Were I the commander of an air wing, I would withdraw my planes after a standoff salvo rather than get within a couple of thousand feet of an enemy. Not to mention that those are the sorts of engagements that can draw your pilots into a nasty SAM trap. I’ll defer to people with more knowledge than myself, but we can’t roll these things off the assembly line a hundred at a time for a million bucks each, on top of the cost of training a pilot.

          1. I don’t think any machines of war can be totally sidelined and kept safe in total war, world war scenario. That certainly didn’t happen in previous world wars. Million dollar planes got blown up and countries bankrupt themselves in producing more, more, more, until the conflict was over. But I certainly am no expert, really hard to say how aerial combat will go down in a new hypothetical war; the airforce probably has had the most advancement and seen the least action out of all the armed forces.

      2. Shit, Brett, next you’re gonna tell us that it’s entirely possible to play volleyball shirtless WITHOUT homoerotic overtones.

        1. Seems like a good place for this.

      3. It is all speculative though, for sure. No superpower has engaged an enemy in decades with a air force that dared to challenge said superpower in the air. It’s like waiting for the Tyson v. Holyfield fight but it may never happen, and in the meantime Tyson and Holyfield have just be K.O. scrubs in the ring, biding their time for a worthy foe.

    2. Son you don’t bring an F-35 to a dogfight.

      1. This. The F-35 is quite possibly the biggest piece of shit ever. It’s a fucking dog. The Air Force would be better off getting Boeing to produce more F-15E Strike Eagles or F-16s from Lockheed Martin, the Navy would be better off buying more F-18 Super Hornets, and the Marines and British Royal Navy would better off buying more Harriers. And the the rest of the world buying F-16s or F-18s.

      2. I thought the SPCA got dog fights banned?

  11. Hasn’t the burden of proof by now switched to those who advocate intervention on “humanitarian” grounds?

    1. I don’t think burden of proof affects certain actors, that shit’s just fancy talk used to keep black folk in prison and rich whitey out of prison.

    2. But no, the burden is still on the “isolationists” – “so what would *you* do about that cute Syrian child in that photo?”

  12. But remember, Gary Johnson is unserious and stupid because he momentarily forgot what Aleppo is when it was brought up out of nowhere.

    1. If Clinton and the UN have their way, everyone will forget Aleppo, once it is bombed out of existance.

  13. Enemy and friendly jets mixed with enemy and friendly surface-to-air-missiles – what could possibly go wrong?

  14. Ed,

    Russia is a permanent member of the UNSC. So, talking about UN resolutions is utterly pointless since Russia would veto any resolution calling for an end to the bombing.

    Instead of talking about Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs, you need to get your head out of your ass and cut to the chase. Hillary Clinton, if you take her at her word, is talking about the US and NATO enforcing a no fly zone over Syria and shooting down Russian planes to do so. She is talking about war with Russia.

    Maybe she doesn’t mean this and is talking out her ass. In that case, she is engaging in the most dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric imaginable. Even at the height of the Cold War, no candidate ever promised to go to war with Russia if elected. And make no mistake, that is what Hillary Clinton just promised.

    The choices here are either Hillary Clinton is the most dangerous and irresponsible major party candidate in history or the election will decide if the US goes to war with Russia. That is really what is going on here.

    This is not a debate about the usual interventionists wanting to save some shit hole country. This is about getting into a direct conflict with Russia. And if you are going to write about this, you should understand that and say that instead of the usual “interventionism bad” talking points.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. It is like I am watching this happen to an alternate universe. The left hate Putin. I get it. But he is hardly the world’s worst strong man. And there is not a single vital US interest in fighting against Russia in this case. There are NO GOOD SYRIAN REBELS (at least not of any significance). There is essentially Bad Guys (Assad) and Bad Guys (ISIS). The civilians are fucked no matter what happens. Assad wins? Civilians die. ISIS wins? Civilians die. War keeps dragging on? Civilians die. Either stay the fuck out altogether, or fucking help destroy ISIS so the war is at least over. But to fucking be willing to go to war to save these Islamist fuckers????

      But it is the right who are war mongers.

      1. Such are the wages of so many in the media losing their minds over Trump being “dangerous and irresponsible”. They lost their shit so badly and were so over the top in their criticism, that it is now impossible for them to walk back from it when Hillary really does say something dangerous and irresponsible. Ed can’t tell the truth about how bad this is because doing so means admitting that Trump might not be the dangerous on in this election and that is not something someone in Ed’s position is going to do.

        1. Ed can’t tell the truth about how bad this is because doing so means admitting that Trump might not be the dangerous on in this election and that is not something someone in Ed’s position is going to do.

          C’mon man… Ed just wrote a whole article on why the fuck Hillary is insane to be pushing for a no-fly zone, and you want to give him shit about it?

          You want Robby to start covering this stuff instead?


          1. Look, lafe, John can read Ed’s mind and know what he’s REALLY thinking.

            1. +1 Super Mind-reading Warlock.

            2. No. I just can read. I started to think you really do believe I think I can read minds. I guess I have under estimated how bad our education system actually is. No one seems to be able to read and understand texts anymore.

              You read this and think “well Ed is criticizing Hillary”. And that is true as far as it goes. There is however more to it than that. Ed is criticizing Hillary as being another interventionist wanting to save the world. What Ed doesn’t mention is the fact that Hillary is not just advocating for intervention but advocating for war with Russia. That makes her something much different and far more dangerous than your ordinary Neocon interventionist. Ed’s failure to see that and instead portrayal of her as just another interventionist misrepresents who she really is.

              Why did Ed do that? Is he dumb? Did he just miss it? Maybe but I don’t ascribe stupidity to things generally, especially not something as obvious as this. So why did he do it? The answer is that to tell the truth about Hillary means admitting that Trump is really not in comparison that dangerous. Trump, whatever he flaws, has never directly advocated for war with Russia.

            3. To me that is a pretty reasonable conclusion and really should not require much explanation. I guess I over estimate your intelligence. At some point it would be nice if you and a few others would get a bit smarter so i wouldn’t have to dumb shit down or have my points go right over your head when I don’t. It would be a lot more interesting if you understood what I was saying.

              It is very hard for me to teach you how to think and read in this medium. And i can’t seem to get out of the habit of assuming you can.

      2. there is not a single vital US interest in fighting against Russia in this case

        Have you considered the possibility that Team Clinton believes that war is good for the economy, and that a really, really big war would be great for the economy?

        They’ve been blathering about how WW II got the US out of the Great Depression for the last seventy-five years. Perhaps they believe their own bullshit.

        1. Have you considered the possibility that Team Clinton believes that war is good for the economy, and that a really, really big war would be great for the economy?

          Not to mention unifying a divided and angry citizenry.

          A little Henry IV, anyone?

          1. What else can an unpopular illegitimate ruler do?

      3. The left hate Putin.

        They blame Russia, and him, for the DNC hacks and the Wikileaks email dumps. He embarrassed Herself, and therefore must be punished. Regardless of whether it starts WW3. Regardless of how many innocent people on both sides die. Regardless of how many Syrian civilians get killed in the crossfire.

        These motherfuckers are fucking sick.

    2. Literal, no irony, argument I heard:

      “Voting Trump is insane, he will start a nuclear war just because he’s in a bad mood.
      I mean, Hilary will probably start a nuclear war, but she’ll won’t do it just because she got upset.”

      1. The fuck?!

        1. Dark humor or brain fart? I still have no idea. As a fan of the absurd, however, I liked the statement.

      2. That’s hilarious, given Hillary’s reputation for having a ferocious temper.

        1. reason I think it may have been a joke is the “Just because she got upset” part – like, yeah, sure, she has a temper, but there’ll be an underlying (if stupid) reason for it, too.

      3. ______ will start a war because he or she hates us and wants us to be miserable.

    3. Half of me is afraid that Hillary hasn’t thought this policy through, and doesn’t have the imagination to see Putin daring to challenge her on this. Thus stumbling into a world war.

      The other half is afraid that Hillary has thought this through and wants a war. She may see herself as the Great Wartime Commander-in-Chief. Unfortunately for those of us who have to live with the consequences of her ambition and stupidity, such wars never go as planned.

      1. I can see Obama stumbling into war but not Hillary. I know its not accurate to judge someone by their media portrayal but your latter description seems more on point with what we’ve come to expect from the HillHawk.

  15. Wasn’t Allepo the city that GayJay didn’t know? And it was explained to him that Aleppo was the capitol of ISIS? So Clinton wants to put a no-fly zone around this city? Assad is a butcher. But so are the ISIS Islamists. And frankly, while Putin may not be Thomas Jefferson, he is defending a client state run by a butcher against other butchers. We don’t have to side with Assad and Putin. But we certainly shouldn’t be siding with ISIS. We have absolutely NO FUCKING REASON TO GO TO WAR WITH RUSSIA! Especially not over this.

    1. Those are the sorts of questions no one seems to be allowed to ask. Washington has collectively decided that Putin is bad and anyone who wonders why that fact necessarily means we must confront him at every corner and risk nuclear war over places where there is very little US strategic interest is dangerous, irresponsible and likely on Putin’s payroll. You are just an authoritarian if you so much as suggest that Putin isn’t wrong about everything and that any retreat or compromise is anything but another Munich.

      It is just fucking nuts.

    2. Shit, I would rather have a president who doesn’t know about Aleppo than one who would start a war over it.

  16. I’m so happy to see that French are once again doing the “Let’s you and him fight” routine in the UNSC, which as John mentioned above, is completely meaningless unless the Russians boycott a meeting and we rush through a resolution. I’ve got a better idea, let’s give ’em a good leaving alone for about four years and see what happens.

    1. I propose the “Sevo Solution to the Mid-East Crisis” ™.

      1) Bring a whole lot of transport vessels to ports along the Eastern Mediterranean coast.
      2) Load them with every bit of US military material we can still lay hands on.
      3) Send them to the US to be unloaded.
      4) Load every US military member in as many airplanes as it takes.
      5) Fly them to the US.

      “Crisis” solved.

  17. Kudos on this article, Ed.
    Thanks for your good work here at Reason.

    1. This.

  18. It is becoming apparent that Putin is supporting Trump because he read Clinton’s emails.

  19. And the ONLY reason, everyone cares about Aleppo humanitarian situation now and not January 2015 is because the SAA has all the advantage and very well could take the whole city in a month or two. (meaning bombing could stop soon)

    the US national security state does not give a shit about dead children.. it is only trotted out for tears when things are not going well for the strategic objections.

    1. objectives..

    1. Eddie Kray is trying to steal Shackelelford’s crown!

  20. Let’s establish (and enforce!) a “no-fly zone” near where multiple air forces, including the Russians, are conducting strikes and combat sorties and also have deployed advanced air defenses. That sounds like “smart power at its best.”

    This is gonna end well…

  21. Remember when the left hated war?

    1. No. But I can recall when they said they did.

    2. The left as a whole? No, I don’t remember that. Specific groups of leftists, perhaps.

      I *do* remember when the left claimed to be Against War, but it turned out they were kidding.

      As an example of a leftist antiwar group I was going to link these guys, but then I noticed that one of their examples of “nonviolent protest” was people sitting in the middle of a highway.

      1. I guess it wasnt 100%
        I just want to tell all my friends who are with her they can not claim to be anti war. Ever. At all.

        1. All the Clinton supporters I know have convinced themselves that Trump would be the bigger warmonger. Because it just feels like he would be.

    3. -1 Cindy Sheehan

      I stumbled across Cindy Sheehan’s facebook page maybe 8-10 months ago. Fun fact: she considers Bernie Sanders a warmongering sellout. Absolutely LOVES Fidel Castro, though.

    4. When?
      WWI, WWII, Korean War, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan?….._wars.html

  22. “And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.” AKA – – Al Qaeda and ISIS. Brilliant strategy. Maybe send McCain over there for a photo op.

    Look for Kristol’s endorsement tomorrow.

  23. “Interventionists see humanitarian crisis to exploit.”

    I don’t read that as the prime objective.

    If the UN Security Council voted to approve a no fly zone over Syria, Russia would probably be compelled to respect it. For that reason, Russia will almost certainly veto any no fly zone over Syria.

    The only way the Russians might support it is if they were given the sole authority to police the no fly zone themselves, but Turkey, a key member of NATO, wouldn’t take a Russian patrolled no fly zone on their border lying down, and Iran isn’t about to concede airspace over Syria either–especially since Assad wants them there.

    The fact is that Putin only cares about what people in Russia think, Syria only cares what Iran and Russia think, and the Iranians only care what the Russians think. In other words, none of the parties involved care one bit about what Hillary Clinton thinks. This is just an opportunity for her to sound Presidential in an election year–and talk about something other than the Clinton Foundation.

    Don’t take it too seriously.

    1. The entire point of a No Fly Zone is to stop Assad from bombing. So letting Putin patrol it is pretty pointless. And I would love to not take this too seriously. The problem is Obama has painted the country into such a corner that he or the next President might feel that US credibility depends on doing something about Assaad’s bombing. NATO doesn’t need the UN to enforce a no fly zone. They could do it on their own. And that would mean war with Russia.

      Worse, it is just a matter of time before by accident or intentionally, Russian and US air forces tangle in a major way. If that happens, it will be hard to keep the situation from escalating. The US has vastly superior aircraft and pilots to the Russians. Don’t believe the hype about the Russian air force. The US would would splash any Russian craft in the air without breaking a sweat. That means if there is an accidental confrontation, the Russians are likely to be on the ass end of it. That would be a complete humiliation for Putin. Putin has run the Russian economy in the ground and is popular only because he is seen as strong man who can restore Russian pride. If he were humiliated by having the US splash a few of his aircraft over Syria and he didn’t reply, the political consequences for him would be devastating. So he would be compelled to respond and it would be very hard to keep the situation under control.

      I don’t think people have any idea how dangerous this situation really is.

      1. Russia doesn’t have to send aircraft to enforce a no-fly zone. They can set up AA missile sites and dare NATO to bomb them.

  24. The more I think about it, Ken Shultz (sp?) may have the right idea. If you’re skeptical of politicians’ good promises, why not be equally skeptical of their bad promises? Your selective credulity reminds me of this bit of dialogue from Seinfeld:

    George: What if the pilot gets picked up and it becomes a series?

    George’s Therapist: That’d be wonderful, George, you’ll be rich and successful.

    George: Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m worried about. God would never let me be successful. He’d kill me first. He’d never let me be happy.

    George’s Therapist: I thought you didn’t believe in God?

    George: I do for the bad things.

    In this age of social media and reality television, politicians have picked up the general habit of ineffectually thinking out loud, so that verbal saber-rattling may increase even as international violence decreases (which indeed it has been doing).

    1. Oops! I forgot to delete “(sp?)” after making sure I had spelled his name right.

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