Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | February 18, 2013

Russian bombers do Guam

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bomber aircraft operated near Guam on 12 February, a few hours before President Obama’s SOTU address.

A few things about this.

1.  It’s not the first time the Russians have timed bomber flights to coincide with Obama events.  As early as February 2009, Russian bombers buzzed Canada hours before Obama’s first visit there to confer with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Later that year, in July, Russia conducted three close approaches to Alaska with Tu-95 Bear bombers during Obama’s state visit to Moscow.  Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins had this to say at the time:

In the past, it would be “politically embarrassing” for the Russians to conduct such flights while a U.S. leader is visiting the Russian president, but the general said the Russians conducted three such flights during President Obama’s recent visit to Moscow.

Alert readers will remember Russian bomber excursions from last summer as well, including a penetration of the U.S. Air Defense Information Zone off Alaska on 4 July.  (Note: this was erroneously reported by some bloggers at the time as a violation of U.S. air space.  It wasn’t.  It was a close approach to our air space, in an area where we identify and require communication from all aircraft operating there – as do other nations in their ADIZes.)

2.   The bomber passes against North America in the summers of 2009 and 2012 were culminating events in major Russian military exercises.  That does not appear to be the case with the bomber flight on 12 February.  Although Russia launched a very large naval exercise in late January, which included a high level of activity in the Mediterranean, off Syria, that exercise concluded on 31 January, and did not appear to have notable participation by strategic forces.

The Russian bombers did fly on the 12th, however, during China’s first big naval exercise of 2013.  Such Chinese exercises were rare – an annual event, at most – only three years ago, but their frequency has increased.  Russia’s signal with the bomber flight was intended as much for Chinese consumption as for American.

3.  It was also intended for Japan’s consumption. On 7 February, Russian Su-27 “Flanker” fighters intruded briefly into Japanese air space around Rishiri Island on the west side of Hokkaido.  Japan lodged a protest, of course, and Russia is denying the incursion.  (The map shows Rishiri’s location and the Russian Far Eastern bases from which Su-27s may fly.)

Rishiri Island air space violation, Sea of Japan

Rishiri Island air space violation, Sea of Japan

Rishiri is not one of the disputed Kuril Islands, which lie to the east on Hokkaido’s other flank.  But the resolution of the Kuril Islands dispute is a key national-power issue for both Moscow and Tokyo, and Russia has been busy intimidating Japan on this matter for some time.

Egregious intrusions on Japanese sovereignty elsewhere have been rare.  But provocative shows of force near Japanese territory – by both Russia and China – have been ramping up in the last year.  The July 2012 Russian exercise that produced the bomber flight in the Alaskan ADIZ on 4 July included a big amphibious assault element in the waters just off Hokkaido, on Russia’s Sakhalin Island.  The same exercise saw extensive use of Bear bombers around Japan. 

China, meanwhile, has been maneuvering her navy provocatively for the past few months around the disputed Senkaku Islands.  On 30 January, a Chinese warship illuminated a Japanese destroyer with a fire-control radar in an area where the two ships were operating, reportedly 60-95 miles (100-150km) north of the Senkaku Islands chain.  Such an action can be taken as highly provocative in any circumstances; in company with other threatening moves, it could prompt a legitimate self-defense action by a Japanese warship.

Activity in the air is of even greater concern.  Japan’s Air Self Defense Force has scrambled fighters 160 times since October 2012 in response to close approaches by Chinese military aircraft.  This is a dramatically heightened and very destabilizing pattern.  A Chinese patrol aircraft actually penetrated Japan’s claimed air space in the Senkakus on 13 December 2012 – and, according to Japanese media, the U.S. began deploying AWACS airborne warning and control aircraft to the area on 10 January in response to this incursion.

On 19 January 2013, according to military sources speaking to Asahi Shimbun’s Beijing correspondent, China scrambled fighters to intercept a U.S. AWACS aircraft operating at the “Japan-China median line” north of the Senkakus.  Japan responded by scrambling her own fighters from Naha, in Okinawa.  Both sides scrambled multiple sorties on the 19th.  During the incident, a Chinese frigate reportedly illuminated a Japanese military helicopter in the area with a fire-control radar – eleven days before the warship-to-warship incident on the 30th.

Regarding the operation of U.S. aircraft in the Senkaku area: I have seen no announcement of it by U.S. authorities, and can’t verify it independently.  E-3A Sentry AWACS are stationed at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, and could certainly fly the missions from there.  The point of using an AWACS is not clear; it seems to imply an interest the U.S. doesn’t actually have in exercising authority or control over the air space boundary between Japan and China.  AWACS are not equipped to be intelligence/reconnaissance aircraft, so deploying them for that purpose has no utility.  The AWACS’ core mission is combat direction.

Also currently stationed at Kadena are F-22 Raptor strike-fighters and F-15 Eagle strike-fighters (F-22s have rotated through Kadena since 2009).  These fighters would presumably be the first responders for any incident involving a U.S. AWACs and Chinese fighters – although the Japanese report indicates that Japanese fighters scrambled in response to the 19 January intercept by the Chinese fighters.

4.  The magnitude of the regional stakes actually amplifies the significance of chain-pulling between nuclear-armed nations, assuming that’s what Russia was doing with a tactically pointless bomber excursion to Guam.   The Tu-95 Bear H can launch missiles at Guam from 1,800 miles (1,620 nautical miles) away.  It doesn’t need to circle Guam close aboard to get its job done.  The bomber pair’s highly unusual flight path was intended to have a political effect.

5.  It is worth noting the loss of knowledge and precision on the part of the media since the end of the Cold War.  At least one aspect of the 12 February incident highlights this trend: the casual reference in the Free Beacon report to the Bear bombers “likely” carrying nuclear weapons during the flight.  There appears to be no evidence of this, and it is more likely that the Russian bombers were not carrying nuclear weapons, which would be provocative in the extreme (and would violate New START, if done without notifying the U.S.  This is a provision Russia buys nothing by violating; it’s better to observe the treaty and expect the U.S. to do the same).

But in any case, the intercepting F-15 aircrew could not be certain, on 12 February, that any nuclear-capable weapon systems carried by the Bear bombers actually had nuclear warheads.  They’d be able to tell by looking whether AS-15 Kent (Kh-55) missile bodies were mounted on the hardstands on the wings.  But they wouldn’t be able to state with certainty what kind of warhead was present.

6.  Another aspect of the incident that highlights our shift away from Cold War sensitivities is the sketchy level of detail on the flight and intercept of the Bear bombers.  There are two main ways for Russian bombers to get to Guam.  Both matter to the local nations’ sense of security – and the implications of one of them amount to a major strategic vulnerability for the U.S.

Threat calculus for Tu-95/AS-15 land-attack missile versus Guam

Threat calculus for Tu-95/AS-15 land-attack missile versus Guam

U.S. intelligence was undoubtedly tracking the bombers’ flight from the moment they launched from their originating airfield (which could have been their main base in southern Russia, but was probably a base in the Far East, where the strategic bombers often stage to operate over the Arctic and Pacific).  The bombers might have gone through the Sea of Japan and one of the Japanese straits to get to the open-ocean leg of their journey, in which case they would have been intercepted and escorted by the Japanese on the way south.

But a more likely approach path is from further east, possibly through the Sea of Okhotsk and south from the Kuril Island chain.  (See map.)  On this route, Russian bombers would encounter only their own and international air space, all the way to the Marianas Islands.  Alternatively, launching from the Petropavlovsk Yelizovo airfield on the Kamchatka Peninsula would produce an even more fuel- and combat-advantaged flight path. The path to Guam from Russia’s remotest Far East, and south across the Western Pacific, is wide open – unobstructed, unfortified – and it appears that Russia has just taken a step to make that clear.

Key point here: a sense of geography and politics would inform Cold War reporters that there was more to the story than the reported intercept off Guam.  A nervous Cold War public knew enough, in turn, to want reassurance that foreign bombers were being escorted (that is, held at risk) whenever they were out posing a threat.  But Russia’s Far Eastern frontier is one of the few places on earth where the U.S. doesn’t have the means to do that.

We are centering the build-up for our “pivot toward Asia” on Guam – and Russia can get bombers into position off Guam by flying into missile range while remaining outside the normal operating range of our land-based fighters.

Making up that shortfall in Guam’s defenses would not be simple.  Constant readiness to react to the Bear H threat would occupy more than simply a pair of alert Air Force fighters in Japan.  The U.S. Navy, for its part, doesn’t have the assets to keep a carrier air wing or an Aegis warship, with its powerful anti-air capabilities, constantly in position to respond to a Bear H threat from the Okhotsk/Kamchatka side of the Russian Far East.  (In the short run, the Band-aid “fix” would presumably be to put a Patriot battery in Guam, on alert to shoot down the approaching missile.)

The Cold War ended before the U.S. really had to face this particular problem of stand-off attack capability in foreign hands.  The Kh-55 series of cruise missiles was nascent technology for the Soviet forces of the 1980s, and the global political situation changed profoundly before it became a significant factor in regional military planning.

But the political situation is changing again: profoundly, and for the worse.  In the Far East, as elsewhere, the day when American regional “intervention” represented an unchallengeable limiting factor for everyone else is behind us.  It was never likely to last long, and it hasn’t.  We are already in a position in which we are vulnerable if we don’t scramble to keep up with the threat.  For those who have eyes to see, Russia has just made that plain – and it’s only one of the threats now mounting in the Far East.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.

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Responses

  1. and it’s probably Soviet agents who are shooting people and their relatives who attend Obama public appearances.

    thanks for the threat assessment, but are you certain it’s not just a desperate attempt to re-garner all the attention that we used to lavish upon them way back when they had influence and power?

    they seem to be having rather limited success in regaining any of the three.

  2. The Russians, and more importantly, the Chinese, Japanese, North Koreans, have come to the conclusion that the time is approaching where US sea/air power can no longer check the the future projection of (in conjunction with overwhelming land power) Chinese air/sea power near the coasts of East Asia.

    If this keeps up, which it will… it’s only a matter of time before the Japanese are faced with the dilemma of fighting, or becoming vassal to, the stronger horse, China. The S.Koreans are well along this path already and the North is skillfully milking this situation for more than its worth..

    As for the Russian flight, it is a reminder that even the fall back or “new line of defense/control” (post-Chinese expansion) that the US is attempting to develop, (of which Guam is vital) is vulnerable and likely not to hold in the future as well. A Navy totally reliant on cooperation with regional allies to maintain dominance of the seas, is no empire’s Navy at all. The British learned that lesson the hard way,

    I had more , but I gotta remember this is a blog comment.🙂

    Again you have touched upon a neglected pressure point vital to our security interest OptCon.

  3. I understand that the Russians and Chinese combined spend a fraction of what we spend on defence. I also understand that both we and the Russians (and USSR beforehand) have been involved in incursions and exercises of the sort you describe for many-a-year, and that there has been no overall increase in these theatricals in recent times. The new factor is that China has joined in this “Great Game”. And aren’t you all delighted that this administration has responded to the belated (and inevitable) emergence of China as a great Pacific power by rebalinging the disposition of our armed forces towards the Pacific Basin?

    • While the common perception, your understanding is erroneous.

      The next biggest military spender to the US is China.

      China is extremely opaque about its military spending, hiding large portions of it outside its military budget, such as personnel and operational costs and many other military expenditures, along with off-the-books sources of income, such as those from PLA farms – so we have to rely on unofficial estimates.

      Thus China’s actual annual military budget is much higher than what Beijing admits to and claims.

      China’s military budget for FY2012 was $250 bn (the DOD’s high-end estimate), and if we assume that in China one dollar can buy 3 times more than in the US, China already outspends the US in military expenditures by $750 bn to $645 bn, i.e. by more than $100 bn.

      In fact, the top 8 after-USA military spenders collectively outspend the US at $648.1 bn to America’s $645 bn.

      Only the willfully obtuse imagine that China is spending all of that oney for no intended purpose.

  4. Regrettably Optcon, your observations on geopolitics and strategy are over the head of your left leaning commentators.

    Semi-ignorance is worse than total ignorance.

    • yeah, that must be it.

      failure to agree with the conclusions must be ascribed to left-leaning ignorance rather than to not being able to understand the history of the world and of probes against imperial control by local challengers.

      disagreement is certainly not to caused by not having been trained in the doctrine of sea power as central and in having been a cold warrior unable to let go of what’s now vestigial.

      Russia ain’t gonna rise again none too soon.

      What challenge China offers remains to be seen as they try to consolidate their economic gains and deal with their internal stresses.

      • I wish to avoid polemics but…

        1)That’s exactly it. It’s not the fact that you don’t agree with the conclusions. It’s that you draw your conclusions through sloppy scholarship and frankly, superficial knowledge of Russia. You are wrong on China also, but I’m not so good on that.

        2) I guess you like your women on top… a lot. Or at least a little too much. Even the girls get tired of that position Fuster. Then again the Left , through its warped sense of equality, wants them in the trenches along side you too, I had some epithets in mind to throw you for that, but I do respect you so I won’t.
        The history of the world? The history of “my” world was not the product of revisionist pansy historians (written for the sake of integrating non-white populations into the “salad-bowl”) throwing the disparate likes of Queen Nzinga and Crazy Horse a bone for the sake of multiculturalism. I am not ashamed of the West’s conquests or achievements., nor will I apologize for what is history. History, as we understand it, is a Greek word, therefore a Western invention and concept. You will find the Chinese views similar when it comes to the defense of the excesses oft heir civilization of course. They are not ashamed of their History, except for the period of most of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The United States was man’s last best hope for the history of the world. The product of a long line of Western Civilization (you know, those folk who gave you the wheel). BTW just so you understand that this isn’t a right-left thing at base, I have read and admire the work of historians such as Eric Hobsbawm.

        3) Vestigial? The West without sea power is incomprehensible Fuster. I don’t quite get you paragraph. What’s vestigial about strategy and geopolitics? Oh I see what you mean, we are all one big happy family living on borrowed time and other people’s money. Please elucidate, what is vestigial in the context of your response. Unless you imply that Russia ,without an accord on the rules of mutual behavior, is no threat to the United States… and I thought I was naive.
        4) Russia never went away and any rudimentary study of history shows that Russia can expand as easily at it contracts in a relatively short period of time. That’s geography.

        4) China is patient, their internal stresses are decreasing and they can always utilize foreign bogeymen (Japan etc.) to divert their population’s attention. On the contrary, our divisions are increasing. Rich vs. poor, non-integrated immigrant vs established and integrated population, etc. Nothing “remains to be seen” in regards to China. The direction of their armaments program is clear.,”for those who have eyes to see” .

        Damn, Fuster. Our kid’s are being prepped for the job already…

        • vestigial refers not to sea power but to the threat posed by the diminished Russia in comparison to the threat that they posed from ’44 until the ’70s.

          please do not hesitate to share with us what I’m sincerely certain to be greater knowledge of Russia than is in my possession,jg.

          I doubt that the opticon will mind and I’ll be glad to learn from you.

          • There is a very large difference in the meanings of vestigial and diminished.

            By no stretch of the imagination are Russia’s capabilities “vestigial” in the context of either Heartland/Rimland/World Island, or, a global extrapolation of classic “balance of power” theory.

            Is this sufficient for the purposes of our discussion?

      • Once again, proof that denial is not just a river in Egypt.

  5. Copied from the other site:

    1. There is no “Pivot”… it’s a lie. A dodge… a side door for The Regime to claim some sort of “interest” when it intends to do absolutely nothing. If we sit by passively and play with our dwindling number of ships and planes out of our fixed US bases in the Pacific… Guam and the Marianas being our western most holdings, Hawaii… and our Naval bases on the West coast. We essentially “pivot” to the Pacific. Of course to look like a Pivot, we have to lose some weight somewhere else.

    2. That’s going to be Europe, I figure NATO’s days are numbered. We will have a salutary presence in Europe, but then we will have a salutary “Parade” Army, anyway. As Jed Babbin is pointing out over at American Spectator, this morning, the Pentagon’s budget has already been slashed by $450 billion. “Lincoln” is in port, awaiting refueling operations to begin. It might be quite a while before the funds show up to even start that operation. The abandonment of the F-22 and the F-35 Goldplated Boondoggle nonsense has left us with too few front line fighters with old overstressed F-15′s and F-16′s to soldier on, limited to boring holes in the sky due to age and airframe fatigue.

    3. Conservatives who normally are the national defense specialists are rapidly being replaced by Libertarians who think that Fortress America is still a good place to hold a pot party.

    If we, the rational few who are left, don’t understand that Tsar Vladimir I, and the Oligarchy of the new Fascist Imperial China don’t see that, then we are all er umm… Chuck Hagel; a dumb, lazy, toady…

    The sequestration cuts are not actually cuts, but reductions in the rate of growth of the Pentagon’s budget. The problem is that the leadership of the Pentagon, both civilian and military, has walked away from the soup to nuts program review that would have allowed them to cut the budget by eliminating pointless, stupid, and politically correct programs. How many gay pride days, sexual harassment seminars, green energy programs, alternative fuel experiments and other foolish nonsense can be cut, before touching something that is really necessary? Maybe we trade some PC BS, for some reactor fuel for one of our few aircraft carriers?

    We are in serious trouble, and it is only going to get worse. We are proceeding on the fantasy that the Russians aren’t trying to re-energize the Soviet Union, and the Chinese are more interested in trade than conquest. Add to that, the Radical Islamic Caliphate in Waiting… pressing steadily, while using us to defeat ourselves.

    Pooty Poot is doing just what I figured he would do. Pushing the Regime to the wall… while Obambi quivers and wets his Momjeans… crying because you can’t send a drone to do a man’s job. (Humm “Drone”… irony there… bee hives and bee biology… Obummer is sort of a “Drone” isn’t he?)

    r/John – TMF

    • Forgive my presumptuousness in replying TMF

      1. You are correct and everyone outside the continental United States realizes that.
      2. This is not quite correct. I believe the plan is to attempt to morph the dominant post-war US position in Europe into a broader trans-Atlantic common market or co-prosperity sphere. Actually a pooling of debt… under current circumstances. No wedge can realistically be driven between The United States and Europe, at least as things stand today.

      Although you are correct concerning diminishing air power, dominance of which traditionally set America apart from its adversaries, there is still an overall American advantage. Hopefully, developments in aeronautics beyond current manned models and ancillary robotic capabilities (which we are not privy to) are maintaining the edge.
      Side note
      It is no accident that Allied Air Forces have ditched the F-35. Let that be be a lesson to us. In an ideal world (as I see it) we would have collaborated with or stolen the technology for the Sukhoi T-50. But like I said, that’s in an ideal world…

      3. We all know that the general populace in America has lost its bearings. We are hardly the folks that saved Western Civilization in the middle of the 20th century, spiritually or demographically. Your second paragraph reveals that your prejudices are actually one of the reasons that has kept us from coming to a mutual understanding with said adversaries.
      Senator Hagel has not even been given the opportunity to fail yet..

      As for your next paragraph, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But you cant run something like the skunkworks when most of the workforce “no habla y no estoy Ingles.. o no estoy Gringo”

      Yup, we are in serious trouble. Other generations might not have been so tethered to ideology, both left and right in order to find solutions. That ain’t the case with us.

      The Russians will never go back to the Soviet Union. What Russia does in Her own neighborhood is Her business. Fix Mexico if you need a challenge, I told you this once before, the Russians believe in the same God you do.. Stop blaming them for our shortcomings, they lost thirty million plus, more than anything they wish to live in peace and security, Putin or no Putin.

      • JGets:

        1. My, only really useful here, degree in History… Europe, and Colonial America… Tells me that counting on Europe for much of anything other than painful yo-yoing back and forth between dependence and jealous hatred is mostly fantasy. I was treated as a 4 year old to a pair of my very own dog tags, courtesy of the United States Army. My mother was to put them around my neck and keep them on me at all times during evacuation of the kaserne we lived in while my father commanded a troop in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment… I remember one drill, there were quite a few, but I remember one where she put them on around my neck, and with her evacuation maps, the other wives in the apartments around us, and a little caravan of cars (I rode in the “way back” of our 59 VW Beetle..) we drove to a meeting point at the Autobahn in Nuremberg. We were there during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Wall Crisis, and The Czech Border Crisis (for which my father was directly involved – and talked about sitting on the cupola hatch of his M-48A2 through the winter cold and snow… at the Russian tank commander in his T-55.) freaky stuff.

        I really don’t trust the Europeans all that much, they really don’t like us, and their distaste is growing. We are there because if we weren’t they go right back to slaughtering each other over ancient tribal/national differences and small patches of dirt.

        2. I will never trust the Russians. Ever. They are brilliant mathematicians, musicians, artists… and fundamentally lousy at self-government, rational interest, and very low on a sanity scale (we aren’t much better sometimes) but Russia has proven itself to be the homeland of paranoid schizophrenia. They might worship the same God, but their particular derivation of Orthodoxy has proven to be problematic and intolerant. I pray for the Russian Orthodox, that they might smile, love God, and love Mankind a bit more, too. Russia just never seems to be able to grow beyond the lunatic psychopath running things. Ivan Groznyi will forever curse them, I suppose. His Oprichniki terrorizing the peasants and Boyars with their mystical black image. They change the labels… Oprichnina back then, KGB and GRU in the Cold War….

        Putin is dangerous. He runs a gangster government, rules by murder and intimidation, and of course the obligatory bribery. His steady re-constitution of the Russian Empire might take a while, but he is working steadily at it, and our weakness and fecklessness is only going to enbolden him.

        3. The F-35 hasn’t been cancelled yet, but the tea leaves say that the B and C models most probably will be. The A model is overweight, underpowered, and only stealthy in certain narrow flight envelopes. It is too short legged to be a strike fighter, and too underpowered to be an air superiority fighter (It, frankly, is not much of an improvement over the F-16 that it is supposed to replace – and often not as good.)

        It would be better and cheaper if the Air Force worked with Boeing (McDonnell/Douglas) and purchased F-18E and F models with lightened landing gear. At least they’d have capable replacements for the F-15 and F-16… and have that commonality they were looking for. Call it the F-4 Phantom II move.

        R.John

        PS – I don’t blame Russia for our shortcomings… I admire their practical engineering prowess, both at reverse and induced efforts. What I do think is that they are an aggressive, determined nation-state that has its own interests and its own sovereign identity… and those things are often at loggerheads with our interests and sovereign identity.

        • TMF

          Without getting into details, I too share a similar background as your own and concur on many of your points., but I could not say that the Europeans (Russians included) hate us. I’m married to one🙂

          For the sake of brevity, suffice to say that times have changed, several European generations have grown in the climate of the continuing construction of Europe’s ever closer union. Even the Russians are traveling and integrating in and with Europe. Realistically war seems possible only on the fringes of Europe’s “cultural” borders including some Balkan pockets. A far cry from the end of both WWII and Cold War. As I’ve mentioned on previous occasions Putin is Putin, Russia still has to cover much ground, but nether is it Solzhenitsyn’s vast gulag anymore.

          Your observations and point on aircraft production seems to be a logical solution in the short run. Until a better solution to the F-35 series becomes available. This still continues to be a mid-range problem for US air power.

          Lastly, thank you for your courteous reply, and prayers for your fellow Christians.

          JG

        • PS

          In a lighter vein, in case you’re wondering, no I didn’t order by mail and, I haven’t “gone native” 🙂

          • I imported mine from New Jersey… You can’t get to a more foreign country than that. 😉

  6. Within two or three years, our force will be so hollow, and our “Parade Army” so weak and screwed up that The One’s promises are a nonsense. After losing 20,000 Marines (two divisions people), the Marine Corps is not that big, the probable cancellation of the F-35 (even the A model replacement for the F-16 won’t be fielded in enough numbers to be useful) and the associated penalties that the government will have to pay with money that it doesn’t have. Well we’ll be lucky to be able to have a contract in place for the Google satellite to photograph the invasion of Taiwan, or the day the Japanese detonate a nuclear warhead on Iwo or Chici Jima… out of sheer need for self-preservation. The Koreans and the Japanese might actually shake hands in desperation.

    This is going to get ugly, and we have a military that where it is more important to conduct sexual harassment seminars, gay pride day events, and day care, absent mother coordination. We will spend huge money on $275 a gallon bio-fuel experiments, when that much JP8 would run an M1 tank 30 miles or more.

    Our aged aircraft will continue to fall out of the sky. Our pilots will be limited to minimal flight time boring holes in the sky over exercise areas, and our wars are conducted by drones from air conditioned trucks; missing more targets than they hit, hitting the wrong target, and not hitting a target at all because the PC police won’t allow it.

    The real soldiers, sailors, Marines, and the few military airmen left, will begin to leave. Standards will be loosened, combat will be a game, and by the end of his term The Elite will have their nationalized police force with 1.5 billion bullets to shoot at us. Not at our enemies, because, the Regime’s enemies will be totally internal by that time.

    When the Obama-drone is gone in 2016.. I wonder what we will replace it with? And if it will really matter anyway.

    r/TMF

  7. For the sake of argument.
    Just a notion to keep things rolling..forgive the errors please. I’d love to have the time to work this though.

    In regards to the OptCon’s article, and the responses concerning the Pacific threat.

    It is necessary to view said events in a global context.

    Seems to me we have a clash between classic geopolitical theories, Mackinder/Spykman (heartland vs.rimland) et. al. vs. Westphalia/Concert of Europe (extrapolated on a global scale of course, multipolarism) et.al.

    A logical management of the threat (from a US perspective) would dictate either a unilateral response validating our Pacific supremacy, or a modified implementation of “balance of power” under the current circumstances. Obviously we have rejected going it alone. Yet, on the other hand, problem is, any balance of power type response on our part, necessitates that the other powers not view us as either the resident hegemon, or a weak ally. Neither the Russians are cooperating with us against Chinese interests, nor are the Chinese cooperating with us against Russian interests (at least publicly). The actions of the minor powers Japan, Korea etc. are not are not crucial at this point in time. Hell, the NORKs sank a ROK frigate and set off three nukes, we did diddly (there’s a lesson in that).
    There are other theaters which we could put into play geopolitically to induce other Great Powers to more closely align their policies with our own. But evidently, we are not getting our point across.

    Conclusion. It is neither the Chinese nor the Russians who are being isolated in the Pacific, but the United States. We are the Hegemon.

  8. https://www.offshoreenergytoday.com/gazprom-levant-lng-execute-tamar-flng-deal-israel/

    Thought you might be interested

  9. […] to the one sent in February 2013, when Russian strategic bombers (Tu-95 Bears, on that occasion) flew a profile against Guam in the Pacific.  The Russians demonstrated a capability then to approach Guam outside the […]

  10. […] to the one sent in February 2013, when Russian strategic bombers (Tu-95 Bears, on that occasion) flew a profile against Guam in the Pacific.  The Russians demonstrated a capability then to approach Guam outside the […]

  11. […] be equipped with long-range nuclear cruise missiles – circumnavigated Guam in November 2014 and February 2013 as well.  In 2013, F-15s from Guam intercepted the Bear Hs and escorted them throughout their […]


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