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Russian Jets Buzz U.S. Navy Ship at 30 Feet
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  • Angel Martin

    “The White House at this point doesn’t so much need a reset button with Russia as it needs to hit control/alt/delete to reboot the relationship.”

    No. We need cntl-alt-del in the Oval Office.

    • Jim__L

      rm -rf for the executive branch…

      And not just for the private email servers with classified information on them…

  • Jim__L

    By the way, do we let our boys do that to Russia’s Black Sea fleet? That sounds like fun. =)

  • Greg Olsen

    WRM makes a great point about responses. Rather than buzzing Russian ships in the Mediterranean, which is likely to lead to escalation, use agent specific punishments, which according to cutting edge IR theory, is one of the best ways to deal with personal rule governments. Going after the cronies is a good start. Use the Department of the Treasury and bank regulators instead of warriors to make your point. Freeze a few bank accounts to start then start dusting off the RICO investigations next, if the behavior continues, gradually ramp up the non-military pressure. Tit-for-tat gives an off-ramp and because the responses are non-military, it prevents the automatic escalation under the security dilemma.

  • Andrew Allison

    If we had an Administration with a spine, the Russians would be told that approaching within 500 feet of a US warship will be considered an act of aggression and that the Navy has been instructed to act accordingly.

  • Nevis07

    “The response to Russian provocations does not have to be symmetrical—if they fly too close to our ships, we don’t have to respond directly against the planes, or do the same thing to Russian ships.”

    I disagree on the asymmetrical approach in this case. As with the issue with the Chinese, we must mirror their own actions against them and make it clear that it is very much a perfect reflection of those actions towards us and our allies. If they want to buzz our ships, then we do the same, except with an F22 dropping fake torpedos. At a certain point (and I would argue we’ve crossed it), freedom of navigation in opposition to island building and simply being ‘above’ amateurish fly-by piloting by adversaries has to be answered in-kind, otherwise the disrespect becomes contagious (and overconfident). Chinese, Iranian and Russian leadership, by nature of their governance and societal structure do not respect typical western soft power responses. They need hard push back.

    I’ve said it again and again, pursue a mirror policy for these nations, when they do do “x”, we do “x” or as close an approximation as possible right back at them. That way they know they are perfectly responsible for their own well being, relationship with the US and our allies, and are entirely themselves to blame for the consequences that follow. Some countries only respect hard power. The Obama administration doesn’t see this – and by the way, this does not have to be a hawkish or ‘neocon’ insight, this is simple reality as proven by thousands of years of human civilization. Either step up or become irrelevant – or worse (in the nuclear age) step up too late, and give your adversaries a false sense of advantage.

  • gabrielsyme

    This is fine so far as it goes, but let’s not forget the most dangerous and potentially war-provoking action in recent years was not Russian, but that of a NATO ally, Turkey, which chose to shoot down a Russian jet after a 20-30 second airspace violation. Russian jets buzzing US Naval ships is annoying and aggressive but not actually all that dangerous; Turkey’s continued membership in NATO is far more dangerous.

  • Ming the Merciless

    (Treaties still in force…)

    Agreement Between the Government of The United States of America and the Government of The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas

    Signed at Moscow May 25, 1972
    Entered into force May 25, 1972

    Article IV

    Commanders of aircraft of the Parties shall use the greatest caution and prudence in approaching aircraft and ships of the other Party operating on and over the high seas, in particular, ships engaged in launching or landing aircraft, and in the interest of mutual safety
    shall not permit: simulated attacks by the simulated use of weapons against aircraft and ships, or performance of various aerobatics over ships, or dropping various objects near them in such a manner as to be hazardous to ships or to constitute a hazard to navigation.

  • Daniel Richards

    Putin’s audience in this provocation is global but also local, intended to raise concerns – that NATO is just a paper tiger – among people in the Baltics, Poland and likely across Scandinavia. Putting NATO boots on the ground – in Lithuania for example, immediately adjacent to Russian access routes to Kaliningrad – would directly speak to this. But Putin is also trying to suggest that the US’s distinctive advantage in naval capabilities is no big deal. The USN is in fact a very big deal and amphibious maneuvers in the Baltics by NATO would be an option to helpfully demonstrate the fact.

    Separately it may be that another – Russian domestic – audience is relevant and Putin may be engaged in managing domestic perceptions going into upcoming Russian elections. Domestically in Russia, Putin is the “great balancer” of interests, extremely sensitive like nobody else in Russia to nuances of influence, alliance and potential opposition. The US therefore has options in timing a response to discomfit Putin – to a greater or lesser degree – as the President might choose.

    There’s not much time left for the Obama people at this point – and the President may well be eyeing a return to the refuge of a senior common room and the comforts of its sherry cabinet somewhere in academe – but the US does have useful options.

  • MarkE

    There have been allegations that the CIA was involved in exposing Putin’s secret off-shore accounts in Panama. Does anyone think this air-sea encounter in the Baltic could be viewed as retaliation for Putin’s Panama embarassment?

  • ejochs

    Great advice from a two time Obama voter.

  • Mark Hamilton

    Ralph Peters had Obama pegged. This man’s weakness has been a serious problem. Mead suggests troops to Lithuania, but we’re more likely to see Russian troops there than US ones under this clown. We’ll be lucky to ride out the rest of this dunce’s presidency without Russia, Iran or China making a significant power play.

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