Friday, August 10, 2007

Russian posturing

Russia's recent posturing in the face of declining international relevance is taking a more sinister approach:

Russian bombers are reported to have buzzed an American military base for the first time since the Cold War when they flew over the Pacific island of Guam.

Moscow said that US fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the two Tupolev-95 warplanes as they resumed the Cold War era practice of flying over Western offshore military installations in a mission on Wednesday..

...Last month RAF Tornado fighters were twice forced to scramble after Tu-95 bombers flew close to British airspace.
I can't imagine what Putin hopes to accomplish with all of this. Its the international equivalence of a child jumping up and down screaming "Look at me!"

Not only that, but the Russians are lying about their escapades:
Today the American fleet commander in the Pacific poured cold water on the claims, however, insisting the Russian bombers never got within 300 miles of Guam.

"US planes went to an orbit point in preparation for an intercept that never occurred because the Bears didn't get close enough," said Admiral Robert F. Willard, employing a slang term for the Russian planes.
First, "Bear" isn't a slang term -- its the official NATO reporting name for the Tu-95 bomber. Second, while 300 miles may not be intercept range, Russian missile capability in the 1960's was 270 miles for a Kh-22, which had both anti-radar and nuclear capability. This isn't a joke.

Here's some other incidents in this series of increasingly odd actions by Moscow.