We’ve seen our U.S. Sailors on their knees, held at gunpoint by the Iranians — and John Kerry thanked the Iranians. We have our U.S. Navy SEALs sharing personal weapons and purchasing their own combat gear. We have Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus issuing orders to make sure all duty positions in the Navy and Marine Corps are gender neutral. So what else could possibly go wrong?
As reported by Fox News, “Two Russian warplanes buzzed a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea in what a defense official called a “simulated attack profile,” one of several close encounters between the destroyer and the aircraft this week.
The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) was conducting flight operations with a Polish helicopter Monday when two Russian Su-24 attack aircraft approached at an “unsafe” speed and altitude and buzzed the Navy destroyer as the helicopter was taking off from the destroyer’s flight deck, the defense official told Fox News.
The Russian jets came within 1,000 yards of the destroyer, flying just 100 feet off the ground, a defense official said. The next day, a Russian jet came within just 30 feet of the destroyer, the defense official said.
The United States and Russia have an agreement that dates back to 1972 that is supposed to prevent this type of behavior, according to the defense official. Turkey shot down a Russian jet of the same type in late-2015 after the aircraft entered Turkish airspace.
The defense official tells Fox News the Russian jets conducted 20 passes in the Baltic Sea incident Monday, ignoring repeated radio calls from the Navy destroyer.
Of course the Obama administration will tell us Putin is doing this from a position of weakness — yeah, right. Tell that to the Sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer. And what’s the real purpose of this belligerence? It sends a message — not truly meant for the United States but rather to the Baltic States and all the nations of Eastern Europe. The message was designed to convey America’s military impotence and the superiority of Russia — regardless of their failing economy. It will be a great propaganda tool for the state-run Russian media and I can just imagine the commentary.
This is similar to what we all witnessed coming out of Iran after the seizure of our two Riverine assault craft and the videos and pictures of Sailors on their knees and crying. And now the Iranians plan a memorial depicting the shame. Yes, one has to ask, was the USS Donald Cook part of a carrier battle group which should have been providing defensive air cover? Then again, perhaps we just don’t have that capability — but we do have gender-neutral duty positions and women preparing to be Navy SEALs, hopefully they’ll be able to have their own personal weapon.
However, this is just another in a very long series of affronts by Russian aircraft towards the United States. “This latest provocation from the Russian military comes over two months after a similar dangerous incident took place in the Black Sea in late January, when a Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. Air Force spy plane. The U.S. Air Force has seen more flights of Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers in the past year off the coast of Alaska in recent months. Air Force F-22s remain on alert in Alaska to scramble when these Russian nuclear-capable bombers appear on radar heading near the U.S. coast.
On July 4th, as Americans were celebrating Independence Day, a flight of two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers was intercepted by U.S. Air Force F-15s 39 miles off the coast of Mendocino, Calif. Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Obama at some point that day to wish him a happy Independence Day.”
Funny thing — when Putin and the Russians played that deadly game of chicken in Syria with the Turks, they got shot down. No world war was started, just a message sent by the Turkish Air Force: we don’t mess around. And it appears the message was received by Putin. You see, strong men only respond to stronger men and actions. I know U2 frontman Bono seems to believe the best way to combat violence is with comedy — you know, tickle the enemy and make them laugh.
Nah, that may work in the movies or in the world of unicorns and rainbows, but in the real world, the enemy keeps poking you in the chest until you take an action. We appear neutered and my concern is that this will only escalate until, as they say, someone gets hurt — and I don’t want that someone to be an American. Can you imagine a John Paul Jones, Admiral David Farragut, William “Bull” Halsey, Chester Nimitz, Raymond Spruance, or my modern-day hero, Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, taking this crap? Nope, me neither.
I can just hear the stories being told by the Su-24 pilots who conducted this bold and audacious maneuver — of course over much vodka. I wish it were our own U.S. Naval aviators telling the story. Where are our Mavericks, Icemans or others who would say, nah, that dog don’t hunt. Remember that final fighter scene from the movie “Top Gun?” Sometimes we need life to imitate art. I know our guys are itching for a fight. Sadly, we have a commander in chief who’d rather do the tango.