Bears Over Guam: Testing, Testing, One, Two……..

Tu-95_Bear

NBC News reports that two Russian bombers were intercepted in international airspace near the island of Guam.    The incident happened Tuesday, during the President’s State of the Union address.

U.S. long-range radars and satellites tracked the two bombers as they took off from northeastern Russia and headed south on a long-range flight that required “multiple refueling.” Japan also scrambled fighter jets as the bombers passed near but did not enter Japanese airspace.

One should be concerned with Russia’s recently-rediscovered global reach.  Not overly so, as yet.  But we have for too long dismissed Putin’s stated intentions, assuming that the means and will to begin to achieve them didn’t exist.   That is unwise in the extreme with a man like Putin, and a Russia whose sense of its place in Europe and in world affairs has been reawakened under him.

U.S. military officials say “it’s highly unusual but not unprecedented” that Russian bombers would fly training missions in the vicinity of Guam. According to one official, “It wasn’t provocative but it certainly got our attention.” U.S. long-range B-52 bombers, also capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are based at Guam.

Damned sure should have “got our attention”.   The naive and foolhardy push to unilaterally reduce the US nuclear stockpile should be viewed in light of a resurgent Russia and increasingly hostile China.   And not like it would at some protest on the steps of the student union.   They are damned sure testing us, and will do so increasingly as our capabilities are reduced by our self-inflicted dismantling.

How’s that “reset button” working for ya, Hillary?

22 thoughts on “Bears Over Guam: Testing, Testing, One, Two……..”

  1. Unfortunatly, hillary is the one you need to be concerned about, You have too worry about all the tea partiers in congress and the same in the senate.They are the ones holding up any authorizations for the military. They are the ones aided by the blue dogs, who said the peace treaties be damned let the torture of americans and foreigners begin. You lose your rights because of that type of person. They do under the auspicies of budget restraints when times are bad for america. By austerity measures when times are tough. By kicking you when you are down. These are the people who like ryan, who got his education thru government handout, says no more education, whose business accumen was tought by his father, who only did government roadwork, for union wages, who says that union wages are too high, they have to cut back on wages. So is he going to give it back?

  2. Jim, you have that precisely and completely backwards. Is this Administration and its apologists EVER going to take responsibility for anything it does, and makes complete hash of, like foreign policy, economic catastrophe, and the disdain for our Constitution? According to you, no. You seem to define profligate gummint spending as our rights, and blame everyone but the ones who hold the levers of power, for their misuse and incompetence with that power.

  3. Just a gentle reminder from putuin that Obama needs to excercize his new found flexibuility now that he hs won his last ( hopefully) election

  4. During the 80s the Bears made multiple flights to Guam. These are the same Bears that were flying then. They had a limited ability to attack then and now they have even less ability to endanger that island and its facilities.

    Our neighbors in Russia and the other states are in the same financial boat we are in but they don’t have the Super Bowl and hot shot actors to distract them. The bomber feints are only to bolster their self image and to provide some international intrigue.

    1. You sure of that, Dave? Methinks Russia’s financial situation is considerably different from our own. As is their neo-Soviet dictator. The appeal to the glory days of Russia, be it Imperial or Soviet, is far stronger than most estimate. Coupled with our own self-inflicted decline, Russia’s resurgence should be of concern.

      Also, Russian weapons development in the last decade and a half makes the Bear a much more lethal platform now than it was in the 80s. Just as our aircraft are.

  5. @Bill,

    So your response to this considerable foreign policy failure, borne of a lack of understanding of Russia and Realpolitik, is to say “yeah, Bush did it too!”?

  6. The Russian Bear, like all animals, can smell/sense the weakness in other mammals..

    My Barbancourt-infused mind says it’s time to re-position the Duck Blind oppo 1600 Penn Ave…Barbancourt dilutes the blood-vessels much better than any blood-pressure meds…and with Obama as Fearless Leader I’ve had to tripple the dosage…saaayyy, from a totally selfish stand-point mebbee he should be “President-for-Life”–what an excuse! lol

  7. I don’t think Bill is saying “Bush did it too so we can go back to sleep.” Fact is, Bush did misjudge Putin. I think that’s just as bad as when Zer0 does it. How has the effect been any different? Bush certainly did nothing about Puty Put.

    1. Putin was nowhere near as aggressive when Bush was in the WH. Likely because he understood that Bush recognized power politics and was willing to counter him. Bush and Condi Rice certainly didn’t come up with something as uniquely absurd as a “reset button” when dealing with a nation that has eight centuries of conflict with the West. That had to make Putin and Medvedev laugh into their sleeves. As for the “more flexibility” comment, that smacks of complicity, not simple misjudgment.

    2. Not sure I agree with that assessment URR, I seem to recall Putin invading a US ally during Bush 43’s tenure. That’s about as aggressive as it gets. Were it not for the tenacity of Georgia’s military, he’d have taken Tbilisi and installed a puppet regime.

  8. Mike D,

    In the spectrum of “aggressive”, the 2008 invasion of Georgia was pretty mild. Particularly since it was the Georgians that invaded South Ossetia first. It was the US willingness to use force to assist Georgia that kept the Russians from annexing Georgia, and dispensing with Saakashvili.

    Had the situation occurred in August of 2012, there would have been no such restraint because of US power.

    1. Brad had an excellent writeup of the whole Georgia invasion. And as for “Georgia invaded South Ossetia first” that’s a bit hard for Georgia to “invade” as it’s part of their country. Second, it was not our willingness to use force, we did no such thing, and had no shooters even in the region. We DID fly in some US personnel as (arguably) human shields under the guise of humanitarian aid, but unless it was REALLY under wraps, we didn’t make anything even resembling a threat of force to protect Georgia. What “saved” them, if anything, is the utter unwillingness of the rest of the former Soviet sphere to be cowed by Putin’s actions. The Poles went from being undecided about being part of the US missile defense network to demanding we build parts on their soil, and asking for full NATO membership because of the Russian invasion. I’d give more credit to the backbone of the Eastern Europeans in standing against Russia than any spine showed by the US in that little action.

      If you haven’t read the piece Brad posted, I really do encourage you to do so. It’s really fantastic.

  9. Hi Ultimaratioregis, yes I am pretty sure about my comments. I work with men from the former Soviet Union and they are pretty harsh with their comments concerning Soviet planes. Those Bears were not built to last this long at all. They didn’t move for years and it took a huge effort to get them in the air again.

    In 1994, I stopped in Zagrab while delivering relief supplies to Sarajevo. The Soviet pilots were amazed at an Air Force 1962 C-130E that was flying there and at the good condition it was in. Their IL-76 was almost new but was falling apart.

    These men say that the economy in the Ukraine and some of the the other central states are doing well because so many people are moving there to avoid an economic collapse in Russia or Eastern Europe. You can take their word for what it is worth. One of them lives in Kiev now and is active in aviation.

    My apologies for taking so long to reply.

  10. Dave,

    I didn’t say Russia’s economy was thriving, or even doing well. I said it was a different situation. With a leader much more willing to fund military buildup than ours. He has ensure technological development has continued, whether with their own technology or with what they steal from us.

  11. Mike D., I have read the post. But I also watched the events unfold very closely. And remember several pointed remarks made by the Bush Administration that they would not rule out the use of force. Condi Rice and Jim Jeffrey both asserted it very strongly. Putin did take notice of that.

    I have also written on the subject of how much more clearly Russia’s Eastern European neighbors understand them. And how they have begun to stand up to them. (See Visegrad Battle Group)

    My point is this, that without the bounds of possible US military force being brought to bear, Russia would have occupied all of Georgia, and not just the two break-away republics. If such was building and took place in 2011-12, Russia would have no such restraint, and Georgia would be no more.

    The Russian “re-set” was an unmitigated catastrophe which tips just how foolishly amateur and unskilled our foreign policy team is.

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