Putin Sends a Message… and Bombers

 

President Obama has spent most of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing trying to avoid Vladimir Putin. For his part, the Russian leader seemed amused at the cold shoulder, gamely trying to force photo ops with his American counterpart. The result was a collected, smirking Putin and an exhausted, peevish Obama. The body language of the photo above tells the story almost as well as Russia’s latest troop movements.

As Obama bumbled at APEC, Putin moved his army into Ukraine:

Eyewitnesses have spotted hundreds of Russian-made vehicles and heavy munitions moving into eastern Ukraine. Thousands of Russian troops are on the border — and thousands more may already be inside Ukraine, if one informed estimate is to be believed.

The steady, and by several accounts heavy, buildup of troops and military equipment along Ukraine’s border with Russia has U.S. officials on alert ahead of a possible new offensive by Russian-backed separatists in the country’s restive east.

“Obviously this represents an escalation. Escalation remains high and is rising,” spokesman Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said in an interview.

If that wasn’t enough of a message, Russian bombers are headed to the Gulf of Mexico:

Russia’s long-range bombers will conduct regular patrol missions from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, the military said Wednesday, a show of muscle reflecting tensions with the West over Ukraine.

A statement from Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu came as NATO’s chief commander accused Moscow of sending new troops and tanks into Ukraine – a claim quickly rejected by Russia.

Shoigu said the tensions with the West over Ukraine would require Russia to also beef up its forces in the Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula that Russia annexed in March.

He said Russian long-range bombers will conduct flights along Russian borders and over the Arctic Ocean. He added that “in the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.”

I doubt the State Department is still giggling about Mitt Romney and his 1980s foreign policy. As a Cold War submarine vet myself, I think Fred Thompson best sums up my feelings:

There are 15 comments.

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  1. user_124695 Member
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    I notice Mr Putin’s lapel badge is huge, compared to Mr Obama’s almost-invisible American flag pin.

    • #1
  2. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    And our AF won’t be there to keep them out of the Gulf? Don’t we have a treaty with Mexico? Isn’t that part of our air defense zone?

    • #2
  3. Howellis Member
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    It might be time to tell Putin that he needs to call them back or we will shoot them out of the sky. And then do it.

    • #3
  4. user_1030767 Member
    user_1030767
    @TheQuestion

    Um, Russia is sending bombers into the Gulf of Mexico!?  I live on the Gulf of Mexico.  I know Putin doesn’t like gay rights activists.  If he’s mad that Houston lets men go into womens’ restrooms, could someone tell him that we’re working on that.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Putin is making a dominance move in that photo. Obama does it all the time, but usually to Americans, or her (former) allies:

    obama netenyahu

    He’s a typical bully. He turns into a helpless child as soon as someone who’s a credible threat challenges him.

    God save us. We’re a nation whose head has abdicated his primary responsibility to our sovereignty.

    • #5
  6. Marion Evans Member
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    So they send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico. The more millions of dollars they blow on stupid initiatives like this, the sooner this sad chapter of Russia’s history will end and we can go back to better relations.

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Salami tactics. It seems clear to me that Vladimir Putin is a student of Yes Prime Minister:

    • #7
  8. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Marion Evans:So they send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico. The more millions of dollars they blow on stupid initiatives like this, the sooner this sad chapter of Russia’s history will end and we can go back to better relations.

    If one already has the bombers, and one already has the fuel for the bombers, and one doesn’t pay one’s pilots and/or maintenance crews terribly well, does it really cost that much to take the bombers out for a joyride now and again?

    These bombers are pretty old, are they not?

    • #8
  9. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Misthiocracy: Salami tactics. It seems clear to me that Vladimir Putin is a student of Yes Prime Minister:

    Yes indeed. I love this series, and wish I could make it required watching for every single person that goes to D.C. for whatever purpose. I doubt that obama would recognize himself, but Putin surely would. I bought the series, along with “Waiting For God.”

    • #9
  10. Totus Porcus Member
    Totus Porcus
    @TotusPorcus

    In all of those encounters with Putin, Obama looked like a wiseguy who found himself at a loss for words.  I expect he or one of his staff will think up something clever and post it on YouTube in a couple of days.

    • #10
  11. x Member
    x
    @CatoRand

    Misthiocracy:

    Marion Evans:So they send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico. The more millions of dollars they blow on stupid initiatives like this, the sooner this sad chapter of Russia’s history will end and we can go back to better relations.

    If one already has the bombers, and one already has the fuel for the bombers, and one doesn’t pay one’s pilots and/or maintenance crews terribly well, does it really cost that much to take the bombers out for a joyride now and again?

    These bombers are pretty old, are they not?

    No, they’re not.  And Russia is drowning in energy money.  Do not console yourself with the thought it will run out of cash any time soon.

    • #11
  12. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Cato Rand:

    Misthiocracy:

    Marion Evans:So they send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico. The more millions of dollars they blow on stupid initiatives like this, the sooner this sad chapter of Russia’s history will end and we can go back to better relations.

    If one already has the bombers, and one already has the fuel for the bombers, and one doesn’t pay one’s pilots and/or maintenance crews terribly well, does it really cost that much to take the bombers out for a joyride now and again?

    These bombers are pretty old, are they not?

    No, they’re not. And Russia is drowning in energy money.

    This is incorrect. Currently the price per barrel is $77.18. Soviet expenditures per the 2014 budget anticipated a price of $117.

    The current effectiveness of their forces is unknown, efforts have been made towards modernization over several years. Yet so far these efforts have not been tested against actual formidable opponents under combat conditions, only demonstrably weak opponents.

    • #12
  13. x Member
    x
    @CatoRand

    Roberto:

    Cato Rand:

    Misthiocracy:

    Marion Evans:So they send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico. The more millions of dollars they blow on stupid initiatives like this, the sooner this sad chapter of Russia’s history will end and we can go back to better relations.

    If one already has the bombers, and one already has the fuel for the bombers, and one doesn’t pay one’s pilots and/or maintenance crews terribly well, does it really cost that much to take the bombers out for a joyride now and again?

    These bombers are pretty old, are they not?

    No, they’re not. And Russia is drowning in energy money.

    This is incorrect. Currently the price per barrel is $77.18. Soviet expenditures per the 2014 budget anticipated a price of $117.

    The current effectiveness of their forces is unknown, efforts have been made towards modernization over several years. Yet so far these efforts have not been tested against actual formidable opponents under combat conditions, only demonstrably weak opponents.

    Oh good.  Let’s do that why don’t we?

    And the plunge in the price of oil is a very recent event. Russia has been accumulating reserves from the sale of energy for many years now.

    To your point though, I do think that if Obama would get the H E double toothpicks out of the way of our domestic energy industry it would (over time) have a salutary effect on a lot of the world’s malefactors, many, many of whom depend on energy revenues for the resources to be troublesome.

    • #13
  14. gts109 Member
    gts109
    @gts109

    Kay of MIT, I believe the area over the Gulf of Mexico is international airspace, and the Russians are permitted to fly there, even though part of the Gulf is in the air defense zone.

    • #14
  15. Marion Evans Member
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Cato Rand:

    Roberto:

    Cato Rand:

    Misthiocracy:

    Marion Evans:So they send bombers to the Gulf of Mexico. The more millions of dollars they blow on stupid initiatives like this, the sooner this sad chapter of Russia’s history will end and we can go back to better relations.

    If one already has the bombers, and one already has the fuel for the bombers, and one doesn’t pay one’s pilots and/or maintenance crews terribly well, does it really cost that much to take the bombers out for a joyride now and again?

    These bombers are pretty old, are they not?

    No, they’re not. And Russia is drowning in energy money.

    This is incorrect. Currently the price per barrel is $77.18. Soviet expenditures per the 2014 budget anticipated a price of $117.

    The current effectiveness of their forces is unknown, efforts have been made towards modernization over several years. Yet so far these efforts have not been tested against actual formidable opponents under combat conditions, only demonstrably weak opponents.

    Oh good. Let’s do that why don’t we?

    And the plunge in the price of oil is a very recent event. Russia has been accumulating reserves from the sale of energy for many years now.

    To your point though, I do think that if Obama would get the H E double toothpicks out of the way of our domestic energy industry it would (over time) have a salutary effect on a lot of the world’s malefactors, many, many of whom depend on energy revenues for the resources to be troublesome.

    “Russia is drowning in energy money.”  You can’t back up this statement because it is false. Current reserves are around $400 billion. External debt is in excess of $700 billion of which $160 billion needs to be rolled over soon. International markets are shut for Russia and only near term recourse is Chinese bail out (see Rosneft situation).

    The surplus money you are thinking of is parked in London real estate or in Geneva private banks and being managed in part by New York hedge funds.

    • #15

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