“If you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.”Share
So said Rand Paul, looking directly at Gov. Chris Christie, who had just responded to a question from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer as to whether he would shoot down a Russian plane that violated his no-fly zone in Syria.
“Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it,” blurted Christie: “I would talk to Vladimir Putin … I’d say to him, ‘Listen, Mr. President, there’s a no-fly zone in Syria; you fly in, it applies to you.’
“Yes, we would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if in fact they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling … we have in the Oval Office … right now.”
Ex-Gov. George Pataki and ex-Sen. Rick Santorum would also impose a no-fly zone and shoot down Russian planes that violated it. Said Gov. John Kasich, “It’s time we punched the Russians in the nose.”
Carly Fiorina would impose a no-fly zone and not even talk to Putin until we’ve conducted “military exercises in the Baltic States” on Russia’s border. Jeb Bush, too, would impose a no-fly zone.
These warhawks apparently assume that President Putin is a coward who, if you shoot down his warplanes, will back away from a fight.
Are we sure? After the Turks shot down that Sukhoi SU-24, Moscow sent fighter planes to Syria to escort its bombers and has reportedly deployed its lethal S-300 antiaircraft system there.
A U.S. Marine Corps aviator describes the S-300: “A complete game changer for all fourth-gen aircraft [like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18]. That thing is a beast and you don’t want to get near it.” There are press reports that an angry Putin has ordered the even more advanced S-400 system moved into Syria.
Is Putin bluffing? Are we prepared to ride the up-escalator, at the top of which is nuclear war, if Putin, who has been boasting of his modernized nuclear forces, is also willing to ride it rather than back down? (Read more.)