For someone who allegedly has experience in foreign policy, Hillary Clinton is sounding like a bit of a numbskull.
In an apparent break with the Obama White House, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for the creation of a no-fly zone inside Syria Thursday, the day after Russian warplanes started bombing rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
“I personally would be advocating now for a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air, to try to provide some way to take stock of what’s happening, to try to stem the flow of refugees,” Clinton said in an interview with NBC affiliate WHDH in Boston after a campaign event nearby.
U.S. officials confirmed Wednesday that Russian planes had started bombing anti-Assad forces in Syria, but that they did not appear to be targeting Islamic State forces as promised. “I think Putin is playing a very dangerous and cynical game. He’s clearly doing everything he can to prop up Assad and to establish sort of a Russian presence in Syria and the broader Middle East,” Clinton added.
The obvious problem with this is that the only thing to “no-fly” in Syria are Syrian military aircraft and Russian military aircraft. Unlike the Balkans and Iraq, where the real estate we were trying to protect was easy to define, the current status of the front lines in Syria make the management of such a no fly zone very difficult. This map shows the location of Russian air strikes and the relative location of the different combatants. As a note, you are more familiar with Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) as “al-Qaeda.”
Pay attention to the scale at the lower left. Russia has brought into Syria the mobile SA-22 air defense system which has a range of 20 kilometers. This shows that all of these airstrikes were flown under a Russian air defense umbrella. Not only that but the strikes were no more than 10 minutes from the airbases that launched the strike virtually eliminating any chance of advance warning. Were we to announce such a no-fly zone, how would we manage a no-fly zone that is so small you can hardly turn around in it and is so confused on the ground that you actually don’t know where the front line is and 90% of which puts you within range of either Assad’s or the Russians’s air defense systems. And if the Russians ignored it? Then what?
What Clinton is proposing is a needless escalation of the conflict in Syria into one involving combat between US and Russian aircraft. I would hope she knows that. I mean her track record of starting thoughtless wars (Libya, Iraq, and Syria) is pretty well documented. I am not necessarily opposed to that and I don’t have any doubt about the outcome of any fight involving Russian pilots — even if they show up sober — but I don’t understand the strategic goal in provoking this encounter.
This is a truly dumb idea. Hillary is either trying to talk tough or she’s well into senile dementia.
Note: I acknowledge that some of our people are making the same noises, i.e. Carly Fiorina and [mc_name name=’Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001095′ ]. That doesn’t make the idea less stupid, it just make Hillary saying it more stupid.