During the Fox Business GOP presidential debate there was an interesting foreign policy moment when Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) stood in stark opposition to the rest of the GOP field when it came to “No Fly Zones” over Syria and Iraq.
“I think it’s particularly naïve, and particularly foolish to think that we’re not going to talk to Russia. The idea of a “No Fly Zone,” realize that this also something Hillary Clinton agrees with several on our side with – You’re asking for a No Fly Zone in an area where Russia already flies. Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but you better know at least what we’re getting into. So when you think it’s going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying, “We are going to shoot down Russian planes.” If you’re ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq… You can be strong without being involved in every civil war around the world…
The first thing I would do is that I wouldn’t arm our enemies. I wouldn’t arm ISIS. Most of the people who want the No Fly Zones, also favored arming the allies of Al Qaeda which became ISIS. That was the dumbest most foolhardy notion…”
(The pertinent part of the debate starts at about 11 minutes into the video.)
Full disclosure, I happen to agree with much of what Rand Paul says (even on foreign policy), and so I really appreciated this answer on how to deal with Russia and the situation in Syria/Iraq. However, let’s skip over the idea that I believe Paul is right on this issue… what I want to touch on is his point that declaring a “No Fly Zone” over Syria and Iraq to keep the Russians out is a very dangerous proposition. If Russia spits in the face of our No Fly Zone to bomb ISIS… are we willing to shoot at them? That’s an act of war, folks. Are we really willing to go to war with Russia over this? Looked at in this light, a No Fly Zone seems like an incredibly misguided idea.
This wasn’t the first time that Paul made this argument either; he said much the same thing back in October during an interview on CNN with Jake Tapper. (Starting at about 2:20 into the interview.)
Needless to say, many Republicans disagree with him. One Republican in particular (who also happens to be running for President but was left out of the debate because no one wants to vote for him), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), wants everyone to know that he would welcome a fight with the Russians and that he would most certainly shoot down a Russian plane without hesitation!
During an interview with New York’s AM 970 The Answer Graham made it clear what would happen if he were President and dealing with Vladimir Putin.
“First thing I would do is tell Putin that, if you bomb the people that we train in Syria, I shoot your plane’s down.
I would tell him, Putin, you’re not going to attack the people we train. I would arm the Ukrainians so they could fight back for their own freedom. I would export natural gas to Europe to undercut his monopoly and I would tell him that Assad’s going to go. We’re gonna deal with ISIL first.
I would put Putin on notice that you’re not going to destabilize countries with military intervention.
I would shoot his planes down, I would literally shoot his planes down if he attacked the people we trained because we have to do that. It is not right by the American president to entice people to come to a fight, train and equip them, side with them on their cause, and sit back and watch them being slaughtered by an adversary of their people and adversary of the United States.”
Well, that’s a stark contrast indeed. What do you think, dear reader? Are you really willing to put our nation’s future into the hands of a candidate (like Graham, or Clinton) who seems to want confrontation with Russia? Or would you prefer someone who has actually considered what a war with Russia in the Middle East might actually look like?
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com