Donald Trump victory could make world safer, says ex-forces chief
A Donald Trump victory in the US presidential election could help make the world safer, a former head of the armed forces has claimed.
The billionaire Republican, who has been attacked for praising Russian president Vladimir Putin during the campaign, would "reinvigorate" relations between Washington and Moscow, according to Lord Richards.
Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton, however, risks provoking conflict with Russia over Syria if she wins the race for the White House, he claimed.
The crossbench peer also said there was a "strong case" for allowing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to take back Aleppo to bring the humanitarian crisis to an end.
"In the Cold War era states coalesced and they had this understanding and it worked - even though there was a massive amount at stake, communications and mutual understanding between Russia and America wasn't too bad," he told The House magazine.
"It's non-state actors like Isis that are the biggest threat to our security. If countries and states could coalesce better to deal with these people - and I think Trump's instinct is to go down that route - then I think there's the case for saying that the world certainly won't be any less safe.
"It's that lack of understanding and empathy with each other as big power players that is a risk to us all at the moment.
"Therefore I think he would reinvigorate big power relationships, which might make the world ironically safer."
Lord Richards, who retired as chief of the defence staff in July 2013, said introducing no-fly zones over Syria would lead to war with Russia.
"If the humanitarian situation in Syria is our major concern, which it should be - millions of lives have been ruined, hundreds of thousands have been killed - I believe there is a strong case for allowing Assad to get in there and take the city back," he said.
Asked about Mrs Clinton's proposal to establish a safe zone for Syrian civilians, he replied: "Unless she's prepared to do this properly and go to war with Russia, she shouldn't talk about no-fly zones and nor should we. We would have to shoot down Russian aircraft in order to impose it. Do we really want to go to a shooting war over Aleppo?
"We want the humanitarian horror of Aleppo to come to a rapid halt. The best and quickest way of doing that is to encourage the opposition groups to leave. The Russians are undoubtedly using their weapons indiscriminately. If they're going to attack those groups then there is inevitably going to be civilian casualties.
"The alternative is for the West to declare a no-fly zone and that means you've got to be prepared to go to war with Russia ultimately.
"I see no appetite for that and nor, frankly, do I see much sense in it. It sticks in my throat to say it because I have no love for Assad.
"The fact is, the only way to get it to stop now is to allow Assad to win and win quickly and then turn on Isis with the Russians."