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Russian Long-Range Bombers Challenging Close To U.S. Territory

Russia's air force is engaged in a new and alarming pattern of provocative military exercises by flying long range bombers with live cruise missiles very close to U.S. territory in Alaska and Guam according to both American and Canadian defense officials. Within the last two weeks, territory close to Alaska was challenged by Russian long range bombers. And another exercise close to Guam took place last week.

Undoubtedly, Russia is seeking to make a political point in opposition to any U.S. plans to build any anti-missile shield system in Eastern Europe. But such provocative actions also incite old Cold War passions and raise dangerous new tensions for two nations that are supposed to be at peace with each other and involved in heavy, mutual trade. For example, a big recent trade deal sold Oregon Steel to a Russian mega-corporation involved in the steel trade for millions of dollars.

In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin challenged his nation to build up its military and intelligence powers in the wake of new security "threats," which of course meant the U.S. This dangerous stoking the fires of old Cold War tensions is simply dangerous and threatens trade and other peaceful cooperation between the states. It also further raises the possibility of some miscalculation in the future that could cause an outbreak of accidental war between the two states.

For the sake of peace and sanity, President Putin needs to seriously consider where he is carrying relations with the U.S., and consider the serious consequences of engaging in a new nonsensical and dangerous arms race that will cost both societies dearly in lost social goods such as lost improved health care or education for Russian and American children. There should be no grounds for such a new arms race, when this modern world's new sense of power is now defined by economic strengths in trade and industry, not in military terms. Putin's world view seems rooted in the old time feudal history of the world, defining Russia in terms of arms and armies, and is not the forward looking vision of most modern leaders of the industrialized world. Trade strength is now the modern definition of world power.


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Comments (8)

Steve Crickmore:

Of course Condi,(the Soviet expert), said a couple of months ago that Russia has nothing in common with the old Soviet Union, ignoring the fact that Putin the former KGB apparatchik , succeeded in putting Stalin's portrait on Russian coins...Meanwhile the idiot king talks of Yalta and the West's FDR's sell out to Stalin but reassures us, that he has "looked into the eyes of Putin and seen his soul," we have nothing to fear...Time for another 'lobster summit', for Bush to look into Putin's soul yet again, and for Putin to pull the wool over Bush's eyes yet again.

marc:

Oh my frickin' Lord! The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! (Hey wasn't that a movies?)

What's the matter Paul, getting scared of the Russian Bear? Isn't that what the "rethuglians" do, use hyperbole to scare the populace?

You might be interested to know the Russians, with the exception the recent past due to finances, have been "flying long range bombers" "with live cruise missiles very close to U.S. territory in Guam" for decades.

Intercepts using Tu-95/Bear Gs, and later Tu-142/Bear Fs, to monitor American battle groups in the Pacific took place in what became known as "Bear Box" north of Guam and a 1000 miles east of Japan.

But gee, don't let a little history and knowledge of the facts stop you from being scared of the Big Evil Bear to the West.

And don't let the reality of Rootin' Tootin' Putin being up for election in March 2008 sway you from thinking the worst.

I mean really, the reality of Putin not being able to play up his killing of the opposition in foreign lands by poison as a reason to re-elect him should be obvious to most people. It just doesn't make a good campaign ad, know what I mean?

On the other hand, Putin screaming bloody murder over a Bush plan for defensive missiles or restarting, OMG, a decades long practice of bomber/recon flights, or using his strangle hold on gas reserves on former satellites sure sounds a lot better when played over and over again to the Russian electorate.

But forget all that right Paul? Sounds much better to be head scare-monger at Blue.

bryanD:

"I mean really, the reality of Putin not being able to play up his killing of the opposition in foreign lands by poison as a reason to re-elect him should be obvious to most people-marc"

marc, the eternal naif:

Why would Putin spend hundreds of thousands of dollars (in a rare and tracible substance) to kill a critic when a round-trip ticket, 60 cents, and a weeks pay plus per diem would accomplish the same thing?

Counter-intuitive warfare?

kim:

Putin just putting in his two cents for Obama, the man who can go from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week. It's not intuitive; Putin understands the soul of Obama.

Hint: it's white.
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Steve Crickmore:

The Russian constitution prohibits Putin from running again in March of 2008, when his second Presidential term expires. We shall have to wait to see what might happen.

marc:
The Russian constitution prohibits Putin from running again in March of 2008, when his second Presidential term expires. We shall have to wait to see what might happen.
Thanks for the update Steve, but it doesn't change my scenario.

Putin is drumming up support based on nationalism and nothing more. Whether it be for himself or someone of his ilk (and you can bet he his a prime choice that will get all the means needed to "win") is another matter.

We've already seen him back off his stance on the missile defense system, in fact he offered two alternative sites for the system.

Lee Ward:

"We've already seen him back off his stance on the missile defense system, in fact he offered two alternative sites for the system."

Define 'backing off', Marc. Weren't both of the alternatives suggested by Putin rejected by Bush/Rice?

Doesn't that leave everything right where it was? What makes you say Putin has "backed off"?

This suggests he hasn't backed off at all...

The announcement Saturday by President Vladimir Putin that Russia has launched a vast program to improve the country's missile defense system is being presented as a response to American plans to deploy a similar new U.S. anti-missile system in Eastern Europe.

But it comes in the context of other recent Russian steps that suggest a determined and coordinated effort by the Kremlin to assert a return to great-power status by restoring much of the military power of the old Soviet Union. To suspicious observers in the West and to U.S. military commanders who must make their own strategic assessments based on the capabilities of potential rivals, it must look as if the Russian bear is back.

kim:

One of the ironies of MAD or Mutually Assured Destruction just in case there is a youngster present, was that it works best as a folie a deux. When it becomes folies a beaucoup, its underlying madness becomes apparent.
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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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