Crimea River, Says Sputnik News

 

article-2127660-1288DA1D000005DC-0_634x396Today’s report on the unbelievably fraught, perilous, unstable, and ghastly state of the world is brought to you by Russia’s пропаганда organ Sputnik News. (I still cannot believe they gave it that Leika-the-Space-Dog of a name: Didn’t they market test that? Hell, maybe they did — maybe I’m just old as dirt and these new-fangled Millennials think Sputnik sounds like a totally credible name for a Russian newspaper.)

Anyway, they write:

Jumping at a Chance? US Makes Fuss of Russia Violating Turkish Airspace

While Moscow and Ankara have already settled the matter of Russia’s accidental incursion into Turkish airspace, the US still seems to be in a fuss about it: an anonymous American official has insisted he does not believe it was an accident, reiterating that US is “deeply concerned over Russian movement in Turkey’s airspace.”

While Turkey seems to be satisfied with Russia’s explanation of its accidental violation of Turkish airspace on Saturday, the US seems to be unwilling to drop the issue.

“I don’t believe that this was an accident,” Reuters quoted some anonymous US defense official as saying in Madrid, describing the incident as the “violation of a NATO member’s sovereignty”.

Well yes, we are making a bit of a fuss, given that this sounds a lot closer to what must have happened — and it’s according to the Financial Times, whose reporters I know and trust and who don’t work for newspapers called “Sputnik.”

Nato accused Moscow on Monday of “irresponsible behaviour” after Russian jets violated Turkish airspace along the border with Syria over the weekend.

Following an emergency meeting of Nato ambassadors in Brussels, the alliance demanded that Russia immediately cease incursions by its fighter jets, saying that they created “extreme danger”.

The incidents provoked a sharp response from Ankara which warned that it would hit back against any repeat violation of its airspace. Russia blamed the foray on a “navigational error”.

But on Sunday, Turkey’s army reported that two of its jets had also been harassed by a MiG-29 while patrolling the border with Syria. The Russia-made MiG had placed the two aircraft under radar lock for a total of nearly six minutes.

The stand-off underlines the increased risk of military clashes as Russia steps up its bombing campaign in areas of Syrian airspace where Nato allies are also operating.

“Russia’s actions are not contributing to the security and stability of the region,” said Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general. “I call on Russia to fully respect Nato airspace and to avoid escalating tensions with the Alliance.” …

Turkey’s western allies have been alarmed by the escalation in tensions with Russia. A senior diplomat said that Turkey had suggested it would in future shoot down any wayward Russian jets. “This is very worrying, it is heating up,” said one senior official from a Nato country.

“Russia’s incursion into Turkish airspace is reckless and worrying,” said Richard Moore, the UK’s ambassador to Turkey. “UK and its other Nato allies stand shoulder to shoulder with Turkey.”

Some Nato officials, concerned that the alliance could be dragged into an unintended incident between Russia and Turkey, are urging Ankara to come to an arrangement with Moscow. It is unclear whether the incident will be put on the agenda of a planned meeting of Nato defence ministers in Brussels later this week.

Two Turkish F-16s intercepted the Russian fighter in Turkey’s airspace over the weekend, according to the Turkish foreign ministry. Turkish media reports suggested that Ankara officials were initially unsure whether the fighter jet belonged to the Syrian or Russian air force, before determining it was a model used only by Moscow.

The incident follows days of tension on the Syrian border. Last week, another Russian plane violated Turkish airspace while bombing a Syrian village near the country’s border. Turkey responded by scrambling its jets. …

By targeting areas in Syria’s north, Moscow has made Turkey’s plans to set up a no fly-zone over parts of the region seem increasingly untenable. Ankara has been pressing its allies to establish a safe zone south of its border to protect civilians and give Syrian rebels a bridgehead against forces loyal to president Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow says the incursions were a mere “navigational error.”

A navigational error. The planes in question were apparently an Su-30SM and an Su-24 Fencer. What’s scarier to you: The idea that the finest pilots in the Russian military can’t figure out how to use a those fancy navigation systems? That they don’t know how to program a flight route? That they can’t read a map, perhaps? Use a GPS? Or even look out the window? “По Гоша, Ivan, we’re not in Latakia! Look down! That’s Turkey.” Or is it that when they got lost, their first instinct was to put a coalition aircraft under a radar lock for a full five minutes and 40 seconds?

Or is it that obviously they did this for fun, and are now fully expecting the world to nod blandly and say, “Innocent navigation mistake, yep, happens all the time, why, just yesterday I meant to drive to the Pentagon, missed my exit, wound up in Yonkers, no idea how that happened?”

Meanwhile, Russia’s sent its main Black Sea battle ship, the Moskva, to the eastern Mediterranean for a bit of exercise:

A variety of ships, including the Moskva, were reported to have left from Russia’s Sevastopol port in Crimea Thursday, according to the independent Turkish ship-spotting blog Bosphorus Naval News. The ships will transit through the Black Sea and then onward to the eastern end of the Mediterranean. …

The Russian ministry of defense said the exercises would commence in the next few days and run until October. Russia reestablished its Mediterranean fleet in 2012 after it was disbanded at the end of the Cold War in 1991.

The Russian navy has recently extended its ability to operate in the Mediterranean by partially reestablishing an old Cold War base known as Tartus that lies on Syria’s west coast. That, along with an air base in northwestern Syria, has allowed Moscow easier military supply routes into Syria.

Now, it might be true that those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. But the argument against studying history is still pretty good, because that dooms you to remember that it’s repeating itself even when you can’t do a damned thing about it.

Thus today’s history lesson — because if I’m doomed to remember it, I’m taking you all down with me — is on the Crimean War.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r162leq1vY

Or for a longer version:

In November 1853 the Russian Black Sea fleet based at Sevastopol and the Turkish fleet met at the Battle of Sinope. The Turkish fleet was sunk. It was a provocative action by Russia because she had no real reason to fear Turkey. The affair was reported in the British press as the ‘Massacre of Sinope’, and caused fever-pitch anti-Russian feeling among the public. It also strengthened the ‘war faction’ in the Cabinet, for unexplained and obscure reasons. Perhaps a combination of reasons were responsible: it has been argued that

  • perhaps the long peace — since 1815 — had created a desire for war. It provoked patriotism and expressed the British cock-sure attitude which resulted from her economic, territorial and free trade strength
  • Sinope was a naval victory: Russia clearly had a Black Sea fleet which needed to be defeated before it got into the Mediterranean. The British felt that the Russian naval threat could not be allowed to grow
  • Britain was becoming more and more dependent on trade, especially with India and the east: Sinope followed the Great Exhibition of 1851 that had demonstrated Britain’s industrial pre-eminence in the world. The Mediterranean trade and the routes to India could not be jeopardised
  • In Britain, the ‘war party’ had been growing since the summer of 1853.

Even moderate papers like The Times demanded retribution before Russia over-ran Turkey: Russia could do this legitimately, since Turkey was the country that had declared war on Russia. Demands were made for a British fleet to be sent to the Straits, but the Cabinet was divided between ‘war’ and ‘peace’ factions, resulting in indecision. Clarendon, the British Foreign Secretary said that Britain was ‘drifting towards war’ — something that Aberdeen was trying to avoid. However, he was in an impossible position because not to help Turkey would lead to an expansion of Russian power and to help Turkey meant war. Aberdeen let events drift towards war by indecision in preventing it. By Christmas 1853, the British government was left with little choice.

In the winter of 1853, Lord John Russell proposed a Reform Bill in an attempt to strengthen the Coalition. It was rejected but Palmerston resigned to show his hostility to parliamentary reform. His resignation coincided with the government’s indecision over Sinope, but was misinterpreted as a sign of Palmerston’s disapproval of the government’s foreign policy. That whipped up the war party’s enthusiasm in Britain. The British government’s dithering continued until March 1854, largely because of Cabinet divisions; then in March 1854 Britain and France jointly declared war on Russia ostensibly in defence of Turkey, but really to control Russia expansionism.

From the Vienna Note onwards, it is difficult to see how war could have been avoided: this was even Gladstone’s view. Palmerston may have been right: stronger action taken earlier might have stopped Russia. There was some element of Russia calling Britain’s bluff, following the Czar’s informal talks with Aberdeen in 1844, when Aberdeen’s low-profile approach had intimated to the Czar that Britain would never go to war over Turkey. There is much evidence to suggest that Czar Nicholas I was under the illusion that British foreign policy towards Turkey had changed: even that Britain might consider the partition of Turkey, to end the problem; certainly he believed that Britain would not fight over the issue. The long gap of four months before Britain did declare war strengthened Russia’s misapprehension. They had expected Britain to rush in, if she was going to do anything. It was a shock for the Czar to discover that British policy towards the Ottoman Empire had not changed.

So, as Victorian Web asks:

Who was responsible for the Crimean War?

The Sultan?       Had he been encouraged to act like this by past events? Stratford Stratford had said that Britain would help, so the Sultan declared war on Russia because he knew the Allies would come to his rescue.

Russia?      They had always looked to expand into Turkey but withdrew if strongly opposed.

Britain?      Aberdeen’s apparent change of policy might have encouraged Russia.

France?      Napoleon III was looking for prestige.

Austria?     She could have resisted Russia and joined the Allies.

And doesn’t this all sound ever-so-familiar?

Those who don’t know history might at least have a bit of peace of mind, I suspect. If it were to do over, I’d never read a word of it.

 

 

Published in Foreign Policy, General, History
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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    And what was the other cap on the bear’s expansion in the Great Game?

    • #1
  2. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    This was a very interesting and informative post – thank you. I am embarrassed by how little history I know. But I do know that we seem to do the same stupid things over and over and over.

    • #2
  3. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Well, isn’t this ultimately a Russia vs. Turkey fight since Russia is in the Shia camp and Turkey in the Sunni? Russia wants to keep Assad and Turkey wants to oust him.

    Turkey has not been the best NATO ‘team player’ in the last couple of years. So what irony if NATO now has to fight for Turkey.

    • #3
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Ball Diamond Ball:And what was the other cap on the bear’s expansion in the Great Game?

    If you’re in your usual perch, you’re looking at it.

    • #4
  5. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    anonymous:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Leila-the-Space-Dog

    It’s Laika.

    Laika

    Right you are. I fixed it. Thank you.

    • #5
  6. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    anonymous:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Leila-the-Space-Dog

    It’s Laika.

    andy-kaufman-by-BikerScout[201049]

    • #6
  7. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    Ball Diamond Ball:And what was the other cap on the bear’s expansion in the Great Game?

    If you’re in your usual perch, you’re looking at it.

    Heh.  I was thinking of my only occasional perch.  But there’s this, too.

    • #7
  8. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    It’s not hard to see where this is going: Russian reabsorption of the Baltics after NATO is defunct by American inaction.

    Maybe I’m being pessimistic but I truly don’t think so.

    • #8
  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    5 minutes ago

    AFP’s reporting that Turkish army says its jets were harassed again, had radar lock placed on them by a MIG-29 on the border on Monday.

    • #9
  10. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive
    Pleated Pants Forever
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Putin is an unsavory character, to say the least, and I understand the criticism of his wreckless adventurism but I respect the fact that the man at least acts in his nation’s interest (as he sees it), which is more than I can say of western leaders. The West needs to wakeup to the fact that there are no good guys here, not every historical event is as cut and dry as WWII. Assad, murderer that he is, is the only power in Syria not outright exterminating religious minorities. If he is displaced by our so-called moderate rebel allies (like the moderates in Lybia?) it will be a bloodbath as Alawites and other minorities are extinguished. Per your reference to knowing history, it seems the only history Americans know is our revolution and WWII….so in every conflict the rebels are just freedom loving patriots and it is good vs evil. I wish the world were so simple. Alas.

    • #10
  11. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    The fact that Russian and Turkish pilots are engaged in {CoC violation} measuring on the border is neither surprising nor particularly frightening.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Turkish ground based AAA/SAM systems had locked up the Russian aircraft as well.  Russian MiG-29s flying BARCAP missions would lock up anything approaching the border as a matter of routine.  Is it dangerous?  Sure, from the standpoint that someone can always make a mistake. The Gulf of Sidra incident may well have been an example of that.  Its been speculated that the Libyan pilot fired accidentally.

    • #11
  12. David Knights Member
    David Knights
    @DavidKnights

    Pleated Pants Forever:Putin is an unsavory character, to say the least, and I understand the criticism of his wreckless adventurism but I respect the fact that the man at least acts in his nation’s interest (as he sees it), which is more than I can say of western leaders. The West needs to wakeup to the fact that there are no good guys here, not every historical event is as cut and dry as WWII. Assad, murderer that he is, is the only power in Syria not outright exterminating religious minorities. If he is displaced by our so-called moderate rebel allies (like the moderates in Lybia?) it will be a bloodbath as Alawites and other minorities are extinguished. Per your reference to knowing history, it seems the only history Americans know is our revolution and WWII….so in every conflict the rebels are just freedom loving patriots and it is good vs evil. I wish the world were so simple. Alas.

    Completely agree.  There are no good guys here.

    • #12
  13. Tenacious D Inactive
    Tenacious D
    @TenaciousD

    “Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward…”

    • #13
  14. Ross C Member
    Ross C
    @RossC

    I think the story of the Crimean war is incomplete without the mention of the Russian/Eastern Orthodox desire to reclaim Constantinople.  At the time of the Crimean war Constantinople had been conquered by Turks for 400 years after being in Greek (Roman) hands for a 1000+ years.  The Russian double eagle symbol is a Byzantine (Roman) symbol directly appropriated for this desire.

    Russian expansionism is generally portrayed as opportunistic in the face of Ottoman decline, but I see this desire to right a perceived wrong as being significant and generally overlooked.

    • #14
  15. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    Putin is merely adopting Rahm Emanuel’s famous line, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”
    Unfortunately for the free world, the crisis is having O as the President of the United States.

    • #15
  16. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Pleated Pants Forever:Putin is an unsavory character, to say the least, and I understand the criticism of his wreckless adventurism but I respect the fact that the man at least acts in his nation’s interest (as he sees it), which is more than I can say of western leaders. The West needs to wakeup to the fact that there are no good guys here, not every historical event is as cut and dry as WWII. Assad, murderer that he is, is the only power in Syria not outright exterminating religious minorities. If he is displaced by our so-called moderate rebel allies (like the moderates in Lybia?) it will be a bloodbath as Alawites and other minorities are extinguished. Per your reference to knowing history, it seems the only history Americans know is our revolution and WWII….so in every conflict the rebels are just freedom loving patriots and it is good vs evil. I wish the world were so simple. Alas.

    Yet he is not acting in his nation’s interest, but in his own interest, to stay in power. All that money spent on war should be deployed to diversify the Russian economy away from energy.

    Of course, there are good guys. There are always good guys. They are just not fighting. They fled with their families, some to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, others to Europe. In fairness, what is there to fight for? It is an arid place with few resources. Berlin is a lot nicer.

    • #16
  17. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    David Knights:The fact that Russian and Turkish pilots are engaged in {CoC violation} measuring on the border is neither surprising nor particularly frightening. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Turkish ground based AAA/SAM systems had locked up the Russian aircraft as well. Russian MiG-29s flying BARCAP missions would lock up anything approaching the border as a matter of routine. Is it dangerous? Sure, from the standpoint that someone can always make a mistake. The Gulf of Sidra incident may well have been an example of that. Its been speculated that the Libyan pilot fired accidentally.

    An interesting sidebar here: The US and Germany in their NATO capacity had deployed Patriot anti-air missile systems to protect Turkey against ISIS or Assad’s airforce.  Recently we stated we would withdraw this system – much to Turkey’s consternation.  (There are some who believe this action was triggered by Turkey bombing the Kurds, but that is only speculation right now).

    I can see NATO reversing those decisions and allowing the systems to stay now.  Stay tuned.  They would be very lethal against any Russian aircraft.

    • #17
  18. Phil Nelson Coolidge
    Phil Nelson
    @PhilNelson

    Tedley: Tedley Putin is merely adopting Rahm Emanuel’s famous line, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Unfortunately for the free world, the crisis is having O as the President of the United States.

    Or as someone else once put it: “Probe with bayonets.  If you encounter mush, proceed; if you encounter steel, withdraw.”

    So, far, wherever he probes to his west, Putin has encountered no steel.

    • #18
  19. Phil Nelson Coolidge
    Phil Nelson
    @PhilNelson

    Marion Evans: Turkey has not been the best NATO ‘team player’ in the last couple of years. So what irony if NATO now has to fight for Turkey.

    Very true.  But, then, if you’re Putin and you want to erode the strength of the NATO Alliance, you go after the weakest link.  The West is not happy with Turkey, and for good reason.  What better time and place to establish a precedent that NATO will not act to defend its members?

    • #19
  20. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Can it be assumed that President Obama would honor our NATO commitment to defend Turkey?

    • #20
  21. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Aaron Miller:Can it be assumed that President Obama would honor our NATO commitment to defend Turkey?

    Hahahahaha!  Only if Israel invades.

    • #21
  22. kennail Inactive
    kennail
    @kennail

    What I’d really like to know is who came with the headline for your piece.  The song “Cry Me A River” is one of my favorites so my attention was hijacked from less worthy pursuits.

    Here’s Ella Fitzgerald’s version:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gn9A-kdsRo

    • #22
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    We keep saying “never again”. Wasn’t Europe united in policy and currency etc. over the last few decades for the very reason to avert the past repeating itself? The 1800’s? The wars in the past were fought the old fashioned way – today there is instant capability to create menace, via hacking, speed to destroy in an instant, as widespread as you want with any number of toxic tools at your disposal, as well as take territory so quickly that, if you blink, you won’t stand a chance.

    I wonder why 60 Minutes on Sunday nights, keep featuring the reminders week after week – the Charlie Rose interview with Putin, the story about the French priest uncovering unmarked graves in Russia and documenting every detail, through interviews with the elderly witnesses, the uncounted….(this is graphic – beware)

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hidden-holocaust-60-minutes/

    Maybe because never again is returning, and it matters, even 70 years later.  The elderly are passing on, and current generations are naive and unaware. Netanyahu staring down the UN when no more words were needed, remembering the suffering on the magnitude of WWII are just stories and pictures, not lived, felt, or thought about on a personal level.  It’s personal to Netanyahu. It should be personal to the rest of us.

    Our adversaries are more empowered and determined than ever and the world is once again unprepared and apathetic.  I wonder who will get the next Nobel Peace Prize for nothing?

    • #23
  24. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    It may be time for the West to wake up to the recognition that the task of developing measures which might put limit of the Kremlin’s assertive activism is rapidly becoming the urgent need,” writes Dr Igor Sutyagin, Senior Research Fellow, Russian Studies at RUSI.

    Yes, maybe. Or we could wait a bit longer, I mean — what’s the hurry.

    • #24
  25. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I also don’t recall Russia forming an alliance with Syria and Iran, popping a base into Iraq, the Chinese showing up for good measure, or the amount of refugees fleeing so many countries, from the Middle East to South and Central America, and blatant, barbaric ethnic cleansing in my lifetime. If that isn’t enough to wake up the West, I don’t know what will…..the urgent need to do something was yesterday. Why are so many countries sitting on their hands or taking band-aid measures?

    • #25
  26. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.What’s scarier to you: The idea that the finest pilots in the Russian military can’t figure out how to use a those fancy navigation systems? That they don’t know how to program a flight route? That they can’t read a map, perhaps? Use a GPS?

    Just a technical point, since that’s mainly what I”m here for.  I’d be very surprised if Russian jets navigate with the Global Positioning System, which is a constellation of US Air Force satellites.  Russia has its own system of navigation satellites called GLONASS. And for completeness, China has BeiDou (aka “Compass”).  The generic term for these systems is Global Navigation Satellite System or GNSS.

    I would not be surprised if a Su-24 has no GNSS capabilities because of its age and the general backwardness of the avionics in Soviet aircraft designs.  But the Su-30SM is certainly new enough that it should.

    • #26
  27. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    I would also put forward the following possibilities:

    1. Inexperienced SU-30SM pilot is bad at navigation or simply not paying attention while intentionally flying close to the Turkish border, accidentally flies into Turkish airspace, then decides to act aggressively in order to repel the F-16s
    2. Ditto above, except the Russian pilot used his radar to ID the intercepting F-16s and then forgot to break lock
    3. The Su-30SM pilot was not very good at using his AESA radar and thought he was using a radar lock mode that would not ping the F-16’s Radar Warning Receiver
    • #27
  28. Mark Wilson Member
    Mark Wilson
    @MarkWilson

    If anyone is curious, here is a set of pretty good photos of the Su-30SM.

    su-30sm

    • #28
  29. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Are these the same Russians that shot down a Korean airliner or are these the New Russians that shot down an airliner over the Ukraine?

    • #29
  30. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    anonymous:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Leila-the-Space-Dog

    It’s Laika.

    Laika

    Right you are. I fixed it. Thank you.

    Perhaps you’re an Eric Clapton fan?

    • #30
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