Negotiate a No Fly Zone Now
by Deacon Blues
For what it's worth, the downing of a Russian jet yesterday on the Syrian/Turkey border only reinforces the need for a negotiated no-fly zone over northern Syria.
Contrary to MSNBC's hosts and guests that are dismissive of any suggestion of no-fly zones and their alarm-raising over the possibility of Russian-made Syrian anti-aircraft systems shooting down NATO planes, no-fly zones can be negotiated instruments of military and diplomatic solutions. This seems to escape Lawrence O'Donnell and others at MSNBC, who reflexively go against anything Hillary Clinton suggests just as much as Republicans reflexively go against anything Barack Obama supports.
Yesterday's events only reinforce the need for a negotiated no-fly zone, regardless of the ditherings of Phyllis Bennis and O'Donnell about the failings of such an approach. Bennis for her part is quite adept at touting diplomacy over military action, yet her only solution in opposition to a no-fly zone is months of negotiations, while Putin continues to bomb Assad's opponents and ISIS continues to hold its safe havens.
NBC's own Richard Engel reported that Erdogan's government was looking for an opportunity to poke Russia in the eye over its targeting of anti-Assad forces inside northern Syria, and in an act of premeditation shot down the Russian aircraft after only several seconds of being in Turkish airspace. For months, Turkey has wanted the United States to put in place a no-fly zone as the precondition for Turkey's commitment against ISIS. But now that Erdogan has dangerously amped up the tensions, NATO cannot afford to continue allowing a rogue like him to drag the alliance into conflict with Putin. NATO must drag him and the rest of the alliance to the table with Putin and his Syrian lackeys to negotiate the terms of a no-fly zone so that a diplomatic track can commence and take hold.
As for Obama's critique yesterday that the Russians were partly responsible for what happened, this is an example of the pot calling the kettle black. Putin and Erdogan's actions in making a bad situation worse stem directly from Obama's walking away from his "red line" and the vacuum caused by his failed policies. The fact that a French president needs to fly around the world to cobble together a response to ISIS bespeaks the abandonment of leadership from a president of the United States.