Clinton Refuses to Say If She’ll Shoot Down Russian Jets Violating No-Fly Zone

‘Part of the reason I have proposed a no-fly zone as a coalition effort, not a United States solo effort, is to have conversations with the Russians at the table’

MADDOW: "You differ with the current administration, with the Obama administration, now on having said you support a no-fly zone--"
CLINTON: "Mm-hmm."
MADDOW: "--in Syria.  If, if, say you’re President and that no-fly zone is in effect, and a Russian jet flies into that no-fly zone and they refuse warnings to leave--"
CLINTON: "Mm-hmm."
MADDOW: "Do you give the order to shoot down a Russian jet?"
CLINTON: "Well, that’s a hypothetical that I think there are many steps you have to go through and decisions you have to make before you even get to that.  NATO did have to warn the Russians because they were invading Turkish air space--"
MADDOW: "And they were escorted out, right?"  
CLINTON: "--a NATO ally, they were escorted out.  Part of the reason I have proposed a no-fly zone as a coalition effort, not a United States solo effort, is to have conversations with the Russians at the table.  Because the goal of any no-fly zone is not only to provide safe areas for Syrians so they don’t have to be fleeing or continued to be bombed by Assad, supported now by the Russians, but to give some leverage to get everybody at the table, to try to create as much as a cease-fire, including the Assad forces, with the Russians and the Iranians as well.  One of the ways that you do that diplomatically is you put out some ideas like what – we’re going to talk about a no-fly zone and, in fact, I thought it was interesting, you know, on the other side of the argument here, Putin is now saying, OK, now we can talk diplomatically because we’re changing the situation on the ground, and therefore we should come and have some diplomatic consultations.  I think the no-fly zone, which the Turks have asked for for a long time and humanitarian organizations have, is a device as well as a potential outcome to see how we get people to the table.  And the Russians would be certainly warned.  There’s been military discussions now to, as I say, de-conflict air space.  So I think it would be highly unlikely, if this were done in the right way--"
MADDOW: "But ultimately a no-fly zone is an anti-aircraft proposition."
CLINTON: "It is, it is.  But that doesn’t mean you shoot at every aircraft that might violate it the first or second time."

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