Bears in the air: Why Russian bombers rattled some serious saber

Peace in our time.

 

An F-22 from the 302d Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, AK intercepts a Russian Tu-95MS Bear H. (USAF image)
An F-22 from the 302d Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, AK intercepts a Russian Tu-95MS Bear H. (USAF image)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

U.S. to pointlessly put warships off Sochi?

Politics versus security.

Let’s stipulate that it was dumb to ever contemplate holding the Winter Olympics in Sochi.  What were we all thinking?

Now we’re stuck with the plan, however.  What to do about the real and intransigent problem of Islamist terrorism in the Caucasus, which has reared its head with a vengeance in recent weeks, and now has several terrorists – and that’s just the known threat – converging on Sochi for the Games?

The U.S. Olympic team’s security has been coordinated with a private security company called Global Rescue, which has worked with Continue reading “U.S. to pointlessly put warships off Sochi?”

Tumultus Post-Americanus

Interesting times.

You’d think they could wait until America has decided if we really intend to be post-American.  I mean, what’s President Obama going to do about Iran and Syria – get Qatar to bomb them?  Does that really require a regional-war-scale response from Russia?  And what about the South China Sea?  It’s not like our new Marine contingent in Australia can do anything about China’s strong-arming of the other nations there.  Nor does there seem to be much likelihood that we will react to Russia’s chest-thumping in the disputed Kuril Islands north of Japan.  And when I say “react,” I mean “react at all.”  For all the president’s new focus on the Pacific, we don’t seem to have any positions we intend to actually enunciate there, much less defend.

The Tumultus Post-Americanus is now well underway.  The US and NATO, and our Pacific allies Japan, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines, Continue reading “Tumultus Post-Americanus”

Russian troop deployments in the south

On the move.

There are differing opinions about the exact nature of the reported deployment of Russian troops to Syria.  Some of the reporting appears to be circular, and Business Insider has picked apart the original language of a RIA Novosti report in Russian to conclude that the “Russian troops” amount to no more than an anti-terrorism security detachment for the Russian fleet tanker RFS Iman (a Black Sea-based ship deployed for support to Russia’s Horn of Africa antipiracy task force).

It’s hard to say: Iman by herself couldn’t transport very many troops into Syria (a detachment of infantry, maybe, if they were really miserable, sleeping on deck and in passageways, during the few days’ transit), but Iman is an unlikely platform for transporting Russian troops anyway.  If Russia puts a substantial number of troops in Syria, Continue reading “Russian troop deployments in the south”

Are Russia and China ready to play a new Great Game?

Not as simple as it looks.

In all the discussion of the sanctions on Iran and what effect they’re having, analysts have forgotten a major factor.  The US, Iran, and Europe aren’t the only geopolitical actors in the world.  We don’t operate in a sealed vacuum in which the interests and intentions of others have no meaning.  And from the perspective of these others – especially Russia, China, and India – what the US is doing with sanctions could well be the beginning of an attempt to destabilize Iran on their doorstep.

The strategic drivers

Once Iran is destabilized, the picture gets murkier from the standpoint of a great Asian power. Continue reading “Are Russia and China ready to play a new Great Game?”