The French diplomat and politician Charles Talleyrand once described France’s Bourbon monarchs as having learned nothing and forgotten nothing. This was never more evident that in last night’s debate when Chris Wallace challenged Clinton on what should be her strong suite, foreign policy.
WALLACE: Secretary Clinton, you have talked about — and in the last debate and again today — that you would impose a no-fly zone to try to protect the people of Aleppo and to stop the killing there. President Obama has refused to do that because he fears it’s going to draw us closer or deeper into the conflict.
And General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says you impose a no-fly zone, chances are you’re going to get into a war — his words — with Syria and Russia. So the question I have is, if you impose a no-fly zone — first of all, how do you respond to their concerns? Secondly, if you impose a no-fly zone and a Russian plane violates that, does President Clinton shoot that plane down?
Wallace is completely correct. Moreover, the United States no longer has the ability to actually enforce a no-fly zone even if it wanted to.
Russia has deployed an advanced anti-missile system to Syria for the first time, three US officials tell Fox News, the latest indication that Moscow continues to ramp up its military operations in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
It comes after Russia’s actions led to the collapse of a cease-fire and the cut-off of direct talks with the U.S.
While Moscow’s motives are not certain, officials say the new weapon system could potentially counter any American cruise missile attack in Syria.
Components of the SA-23 Gladiator anti-missile and anti-aircraft system, which has a range of roughly 150 miles, arrived over the weekend “on the docks” of a Russian naval base along Syria’s Mediterranean coastal city of Tartus, two US officials said.
It is the first time Russia has deployed the SA-23 system outside its borders, according to one Western official citing a recent intelligence assessment. The missiles and associated components are still in their crates and are not yet operational, according to the officials.
With this system in place the entire Aleppo battlespace is under a Russian air defense umbrella. In order to enforce a no-fly zone, the US would first have to strike Russian-manned antiaircraft systems.
CLINTON: Well, Chris, first of all, I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict. I’m well aware of the really legitimate concerns that you have expressed from both the president and the general.
This would not be done just on the first day. This would take a lot of negotiation. And it would also take making it clear to the Russians and the Syrians that our purpose here was to provide safe zones on the ground.
We’ve had millions of people leave Syria and those millions of people inside Syria who have been dislocated. So I think we could strike a deal and make it very clear to the Russians and the Syrians that this was something that we believe was in the best interests of the people on the ground in Syria, it would help us with our fight against ISIS.
This is insane. It is nucking futs. If the Russians, or Assad, actually cared about the people on the ground they would have raised the siege of Aleppo long ago. But they don’t. Because a regular stream of muslim refugees streaming into Europe is actually a very good thing from Russia’s geopolitical standpoint. Assad has no real interest in fighting ISIS because, unlike the “opposition” (which you could call al-Qaeda-lite), ISIS has carved out its territory and has reached a modus vivendi with Assad.
It is also difficult to see how these “negotiations” would work. The only aircraft affected by the no-fly zone would be Russian and those of Russia’s ally, Syria.
The one thing Hillary Clinton proved while secretary of state is that she has a room temperature IQ and she doesn’t have the capacity to understand any but the simplest concepts. Her authoritarian streak and ugly personality did not permit her to win over new allies and, indeed, cost us a lot of influence. This lack of ability, however, comes with a huge does of hubris which is burnished constantly by the battalion of catchfarts that make up her inner circle. Look at Egypt. Look at Libya. Look at Syria. In all those cases she intervened with one of her crackpot schemes and inflicted death and destruction on their hapless citizenry. In fact, her stupidity set off the current conflagration in Syria.
What is most disturbing is that Clinton never answers Wallace’s question about shooting down Russian aircraft. One hopes that she is simply talking tough to impress her base of embittered, elderly lesbians. But given Clinton’s record of miscalculation and failure you can’t be sure she wouldn’t provoke a war just to have something to do.