Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Russians are coming

Last week, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen issued a warning: "Should you even think of attacking one ally, you will be facing the whole alliance."  Good stuff, right?!  Surely this bold warning coinciding with the annoucement of NATO's Rapid Reaction Force will give President Putin cause to rethink his actions in Ukraine.   He would most certainly not go into any other country, say like Estonia, right?  Of course, this announcement may have come after Russia captured an Estonian police officer who they now claim is a spy.

The announcement was so powerful even President Obama had to eschew his anti-war, cut-the-military tendencies and agreed that the US would be right there with NATO.  But Russian forces have been on the border or in Ukraine for some time.  What caused NATO, especially the US, decide that something more drastic was needed?

According to the news site RT.com, Russian Tu-95 bombers have been practicing drills against targets on the Labrador Islands.  The profiles being flown by the bombers would indicate they are practicing a launch profile against targets in the United States.

The bombers are capable of carrying AS-15 Kent nuclear cruise missiles.   The nuclear warhead carried by the AS-15 Kent has a 200 kiloton yield (that's 10 times the yield of the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki).

Of course militaries conduct training drills all of the time, what has NATO and the US so worried is the following, "The latest report (of bombers conducting drills) comes days after Russia’s own recent decision to revise a 2010 military doctrine to identify the US and NATO members as enemies, which “clearly outline[s] the conditions of a preemptive nuclear strike” against partner countries"  RT.com

Russian bombers have been bumping up against US fighters in the Pacific for the last year.  The RT repot is the first of bombers operating near US forces over the Atlantic (not counting the Russian subs that keep appearing in the Gulf of Mexico).   The maneuvers over Labrador were outside the NORAD area so no interceptors were scrambled.

A change in Russian doctrine, increase activity of nuclear-capable bombers, and a decided shift by NATO which was wondering what life was going to be like after Afghanistan…perhaps this is the reasoning behind the tepid plan for dealing with ISIS.

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