War with Russia! We haven't talked about that nightmare possibility since the Cuban Missile Crisis, when we now know the world was saved from a nuclear war only by the cool-headedness of a Russian submarine captain who refused his government's orders to fire a nuclear torpedo at a US aircraft carrier if US ships continued their attempt to sink him or force his sub to surface and be boarded. Instead, he surfaced his sub and defused the crisis.
Nor is Syria the only flashpoint where Clinton appears willing -- even anxious -- to try and push Russia to see if President Vladimir Putin (whom she has compared to Hitler) can be forced to choose between a humiliating back-down or all-out war. One is in Ukraine -- a country where, as Secretary of State, she helped an opposition led by fascists to topple the government of a Russian ally by funding and fomenting a coup -- a coup which ultimately ousted the elected pro-Russian president and led to the installation of a US handpicked junta leadership which sparked the current civil war there. Clinton wants to push Ukraine deeper in that bloody civil conflict by supporting efforts by Kiev to reclaim the eastern, ethnically Russian part of the country which has effectively seceded. She may hope Russia won't feel compelled to move in with troops and air support, but what if it does?
What's scary there is that if Russia did decide to directly fight Ukrainian forces, and to occupy part or all of Ukraine -- something that even US experts say its military could easily accomplish, how would Clinton respond? She has already pushed the Obama administration to move aggressively to put offensive weapons, including nuclear-tipped missiles, nuclear-capable fighter bombers and Abrams tanks, along Russia's western border, in the Baltic nations, in Poland and, if we count British military forces, which act in accordance with US directives as part of NATO, Rumania. Would those forces be ordered to threaten challenge forces facing them inside Russia if Russia moved on Ukraine?
Who knows? These kinds of things develop a life of their own, like Frankenstein's monster, once lit up by conflict.
At least Trump, who has said some bizarre things in this campaign, has stuck to one wise position, which is that "the US should not be viewing Russia as an enemy." In his view, the US should be working with Russia on mutual problems like ISIS, and should be doing business with Russia. He's right. The same goes for China, where Clinton claims authorship of the aggressive "Asian pivot" policy of the Obama administration, which now has the US confronting Chinese forces in the South China Sea, at exactly the opposite side of the world from this country.
Stupid? Yes. Scary? For sure. Good for the arms industry? Yes indeed.
Again (and I'm not suggesting one should vote for Trump), it needs to be said that he has gone against the long-standing position of his own party in calling for a US pullback from NATO, an organization that since 1990 has lost its raison d'être and is now fighting in places as remote from the North Atlantic as Afghanistan. His explanation -- that the European nations aren't paying their fair share for the "defense of Europe" -- may be inadequate, but his point that neither NATO nor the US should be engaging in regime-change military actions around the globe is correct.
Clinton, for her part, wants increased military spending.