Unfit for office

It’s fascinating to hear the press and the Republican Party that just sold out the American people again trying to claim Donald Trump is unfit for office when it’s got idiot candidates like these spouting off like ignorant tough guys who don’t understand that Russia and Iran are not Iraq and Grenada:

“If you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.”

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.”

Yes, the US military can beat the Russian military. It can almost surely beat both Iran and Russia-in-Syria. But it can’t do so without paying a price that is far heavier than any rational American wishes to pay. And if an already-exhausted US military gets stuck into the Middle East, that will give China a free hand in the Pacific and might even permit Russia to take back Ukraine.

This is precisely how great military powers manage to lose wars; they overrate their capabilities, sufficiently alarm enough enemies to cause them to band together, and try to fight a multiple-front war.