During the third debate, Hillary Clinton repeated her intention of imposing a "no-fly zone" over Syria.
In order for this proposal to be legal under international law, Syrian President Assad would have to ask a President Clinton to establish such a zone. Absent that request, Clinton's "no-fly zone," like an embargo, would be a declaration of war.
Russian planes are flying over Syria legally because Syria's President Assad asked for help in his fight to end a civil war, kept alive to a great extent by mercenaries paid and armed by foreign governments, including the United States.
Russia is not going to observe a "no-fly zone" because a US president issues an illegal order. If President Putin did so, it would clear the way for NATO bombs to rain down on Syria, replicating the illegal no-fly zone that led to the destruction in Libya of hospitals, schools, marketplaces, water systems, homes, roads, bridges and military installations. And thousands of deaths.
Just as in Libya, regime change would take place amid a fight among various factions for the dubious privilege of being a US puppet government.
In pursuing this strategy, would President Clinton order that Russian planes flying over Syria be shot down? There would be no point to the "no-fly zone" if she didn't. Won't a war with Russia be the outcome?
In the nineties, neoconservatives crafted a document known as the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). It has been the basis of US foreign policy for more than two decades. Its meme is that our country must be in a state of "perpetual war" until the US controls the world and its resources.
Where that effort stands now: our troops are in their sixteenth year of occupying Afghanistan, Iraq is hopelessly mired in chaos, Ukraine and Honduras roiled by US coups, Libya laid waste, Haitians in dire straits, thousands of Syrians fleeing a civil war, drone assassinations, Somalia is presently being bombed, the entire population of Yemen is on the brink of starvation. Where will it end? Not any time soon if we have a presidential candidate who is already making plans to go to war with Russia and then, if we are all still alive, with China.