The International Herald Tribune reports more totally unprovoked provocation of the U.S. by Russia (we are not buzzing their cities, but they are buzzing ours):
Russian warplane exercises around Alaska have become routine in the past few months, U.S. military officials said Monday, as the former Cold War superpower steps up flights from its Arctic bases. Over the summer, Russian bombers have staged at least seven exercises in a buffer zone outside U.S. air space, each time alerting the U.S. through reports by Russian news agencies, said Maj. Allen Herritage, a spokesman for the Alaska region of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. U.S. and Canadian fighter jets, including F-15s, were dispatched each time to escort the Russian planes in the exercises, which ranged from two to six aircraft, Herritage said.
The latest exercise came Sept. 19 and involved two planes flying somewhere off the coast of Canada, Herritage said. They were met by Canadian planes from NORAD, which is jointly operated by the U.S. and Canadian militaries. At least five exercises by the Russian Tu-95 Bear heavy bombers have taken place off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and other historic Cold War outposts, such as Cape Lisburne and St. Lawrence Island, according to NORAD records. All occurred beyond the 12-mile boundary that constitutes U.S. airspace. “They used to have them from time to time, but not nearly in this frequency,” Herritage said. “These exercises used to be more common during the Cold War.”
The exercises come amid troubled relations between Russia and the West and are seen by some as intimidating moves by an increasingly assertive Russia, but Herritage said the exercises are not a cause for alarm. “The recent exercises appear to be routine training activities,” he told The Associated Press. “They are nowhere near U.S. airspace.” President Vladimir Putin announced in August that Russia was resuming long-range bomber flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian Air Force officials could not be reached for comment after hours. They have repeatedly said that the planes were not violating any nation’s airspace or any international agreements. But in mid-September, British and Norwegian jets intercepted Russian military aircraft after they breached NATO airspace close to the U.K. and Finland. And on a handful of occasions this year, NATO nations, including Britain and Norway, have sent fighters to escort Russian bombers nearing their territory.
Nobody in his right mind can now dispute that Russia is provoking a new cold war it cannot possibly even wage, much less win. In other words, it is repeating verbatim the outrageously aggressive action that destroyed the USSR. And remember, the leader who is ordering these attacks enjoys 70%+ popularity in Russia, so the Russian people themselves are equally culpable.
Maybe it’s time for U.S. planes to start buzzing Vladivostok or Minsk?