Peace in our time: ‘Game of carriers’ in Eastern Med

Elephants dance.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia has moved to clamp down on Ukraine in advance of the laughably rigged “referendum” scheduled for 16 March, when Crimeans will vote on which way to secede from Ukraine: either as an “independent” state or through annexation by Russia.  Crimeans who want to remain part of Ukraine are out of luck.

The battle for Crimea may be preordained; the battle for Ukraine underway.  There are also indications of a larger battle shaping up in the region, as the aircraft carriers of Russia and the United States perform an elaborate minuet in the Eastern Mediterranean.  If you weren’t convinced that the Russian move on Ukraine would rapidly destabilize the region, consider what has been going on in the last week west of Cyprus. Continue reading “Peace in our time: ‘Game of carriers’ in Eastern Med”

‘Five carriers’ photo was in 2012 and it was no big deal

Everybody calm down.


Eighth wonder of the world, check.  Breach of national security - not so much.
Eighth wonder of the world, check. Breach of national security – not so much.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this in the last week, so I’m running a short post on it to see if the wild rumors can be laid to rest.

About a year ago, someone began circulating a photo of five aircraft carriers all in port at the same time at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia.  The claim was that the carriers had just been ordered into port for some purpose the Navy didn’t understand, Continue reading “‘Five carriers’ photo was in 2012 and it was no big deal”

U.S. Navy assets update in Ukraine crisis

Great big ships.

Reader “Your Opinion Please” posed questions to me on carrier movements at this earlier post, and I am copying the response here (see below) to provide a general update.

There is no change in the U.S. military posture in the Mediterranean or Black Sea.  That’s the basic point to take away.  The activities we’re seeing are routine and predictable.  Because of the geography of the Ukraine problem, no NATO naval power can realistically be brought to bear on it, and any signals sent with naval power will be political, collateral, and temporary.

As mentioned in the previous post, the carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) and her strike group are in the Mediterranean, Continue reading “U.S. Navy assets update in Ukraine crisis”

Ukraine update: Russia prepares the battle space

Peace in our time.

Things are proceeding about as I expected in Ukraine, and in terms of Putin’s posture.

Readers will have heard about the Russian military exercise launched in the Western Military District involving “150,000 troops.”  That’s a lot of troops, but I very much doubt they are all headed for Russia’s border with Ukraine.  I do expect a build-up on that border, but something on the order of 20,000-30,000 is more like it, and it may not be that many.  The 150,000 troops are, in any case, mostly stationed in western Russia to begin with.  Some, especially elements like special forces, aviation, and missile units, will probably deploy from elsewhere to augment the Western Military District’s permanently stationed units.

Russia establishes a beachhead Continue reading “Ukraine update: Russia prepares the battle space”

So, why DID we have to hear about a no-fly zone over Syria from Rick Perry?

Can’t we talk about this?

The weird thing about Governor Perry’s “Syrian no-fly-zone” moment was not that he talked about a no-fly zone (NFZ) with the Fox news pundits, and then reiterated his comments in the GOP foreign policy debate on Tuesday.

The weird thing is that there seems, in fact, to be a proposal for a Syrian NFZ – one in which the US would reportedly provide logistic support – and it took a GOP candidate to tell us about it.

Perry took a lot of heat for “bringing up” the idea of an NFZ for Syria.  But foreign news agencies have been furiously reporting for nearly a week that negotiations are underway for such a measure.  The plan, as sketched out to date, would involve Arab and Turkish air forces enforcing the NFZ, with the US providing logistic support.

Calm down, Continue reading “So, why DID we have to hear about a no-fly zone over Syria from Rick Perry?”