The real headline: Russians buy air space with cruise missile demo, as U.S. forces retreat

Cruise missile as geopolitical forcing mechanism.

Russian Caspian fleet frigate launches a long-range land attack cruise missile on 7 Oct. (Image: Russian MOD/YouTube)
Russian Caspian fleet frigate launches a long-range land attack cruise missile on 7 Oct. (Image: Russian MOD/YouTube)

The Pentagon released information Thursday that some of the cruise missiles launched by Russian warships into Syria the day before (Wednesday, 7 October) had crashed in Iran, instead of making it to their targets.  The missiles were launched from the Caspian Sea, between Iran and southern Russia.

The global audience was apt to note the point that four of the 26 missiles launched by Russia crashed.  But the more important point is that Russia launched the missiles in the first place.

The question is why.  The answer is not darkly nefarious (not particularly, anyway), but it’s not obvious from the standpoint of tactical military operations either. Continue reading “The real headline: Russians buy air space with cruise missile demo, as U.S. forces retreat”

Peace in our time: Russian naval force in the Mediterranean

Interesting times.

What’s going on in the Mediterranean right now is actually more normal than the odd hiatus we have inhabited for the last 20 years. Historically, nations have vied for influence around the Med, bringing ships and ground troops to bear on a regular basis. The Eastern Med has been a crossroads between East and West for a good 3,000 years, hosting land and sea operations by the Persian, Roman, Abbasid, Umayyad, Holy Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, British, Napoleonic, and Russian Empires.  The Eastern Med was a nexus of dispute between the Soviet-led East and the US-led free West in the Cold War.  A relatively pacified Eastern Med, like the one we have enjoyed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is a historical oddity. And it’s coming to an end.

As the Assad regime in Syria launches an assault on the major city of Aleppo, Continue reading “Peace in our time: Russian naval force in the Mediterranean”