Thursday, April 14, 2016

Russian Simulated Attacks on US Warship

Appeasement encourages more aggression.  History has demonstrated that repeatedly.  The latest proof is this incident involving Russian aircraft and a US ship (1).

“In one of the most aggressive actions in recent memory, Russian warplanes conducted “simulated attacks” on the a U.S. Navy vessel in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, repeatedly flying within 30 feet of the ship, according to a defense official.

Sailors aboard the destroyer Donald Cook said the aircraft flew low enough to create wake in the sea waters surrounding the ship, and the ship’s commanding officer said the incident was “unsafe and unprofessional,” the defense official said.

“This was more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time,” according to the defense official …”

There may also be a legal aspect to this.

“The nature of the overflight as a “simulated attack” may violate a 1973 treaty between the U.S. and Russia that specifically prohibits this type of maneuver, the defense official said.”

For you Russian apologists out there, this was not an isolated incident, misunderstanding, or act of a rogue pilot.

“The maneuver was one of several aggressive moves by Russian aircraft on Monday and Tuesday.”

Russian Aircraft Overflying USS Cook - Now That's Close!

Russia has observed our utter lack of response to Chinese provocations and Russia’s own seizure of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine and concluded, rightly, that we aren’t going to respond.  There are a couple of logical conclusions to draw from this.

  1. Our lack of response will only encourage further and escalating acts by Russia (and other countries).  It is only a matter of time until Russia demands that we vacate the Baltic Sea as a Russian “territory”.  Don’t believe it?  China has seized the South China Sea and all but formally declared it to be sovereign Chinese territory, warning the US to stay out of the area.  Why would Russia hesitate to do less?  Closure of the Baltic Sea to US naval forces would be a logical precursor to the annexation of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

  1. Our forces are being needlessly wasted in the Baltic Sea.  If we won’t stand up to Russian aggression, why have ships there?  What purpose do they serve?  We may as well bring them back to the US and save wear and tear on the ships and crew as well as saving money on operating costs.

On the other hand, we could respond to flagrant Russian aggression with our own aggression.  An “accidental” shootdown of a Russian aircraft by a Phalanx or RAM undergoing “maintenance” would go a long way to discouraging future Russian acts of aggression.  Accidents happen.  That’s why aircraft shouldn’t conduct passes unsafely close to warships.

I can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth among the appeasement fans.  We can’t upset Russia.  They won’t like us.  They’ll get mad at us.  They have nuclear weapons.  Hey, Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft and nothing happened except that the Russian’s probably steered clear of that area from then on.  Amazing how that works.

Seriously, if we aren’t going to use our Navy then bring them home.

I hope the Russians are prepared for a sternly worded note of protest from the US with, possibly, a hint of disapproval.  I wouldn't want to be in Putin's shoes when he gets our note!


(1)Defense News website, “Russian attack aircraft just flew within 30 feet of a U.S. Navy ship”, Andrew Tilghman, 13-Apr-2016,


  1. The following is just my Humble Opinion:

    A) I'd simply tell the Russians that the next time that happens, we may well shoot down the planes. I thought that during the cold war there was an unofficial agreement of sorts between the Soviet and US Navies that kind of defined egregious behavior. I.E. I can ram you and bump you, but my missile radars will be turned off... maybe its time to revisit that.

    B) Alternative two is lock on to that puppy with CIWS and track but don't fire. Let them know that their existence in the air that close is at the discretion of the air commander. Essentially 'How cute. We can shoot you down at any time'.

    C) Could you do things just to screw with them right back? I.E. next time you see them running in like that launch clouds of chaff. Have fun ingesting that into your air intakes.

    I might try any one of the three, or combinations thereof.

    The first one might be the easiest. Make a very open, public announcement that we value free access of the sea, and that any combat aircraft making what look to be attack runs on our ships are fair game.

    We won't do it to their ships if they are in the Gulf of Mexico, and we expect them to not do it to us in the Baltic.

    1. Jim, no offense but your first idea is the entire problem. Don't we routinely tell one and all that we will vigorously protect freedom of navigation? But, what do we actually do? Nothing. Or, worse than nothing.

      Russia and China aren't stupid. They've seen that our words mean nothing. Telling them yet again that we won't stand for this behavior and then not only standing for it but bending over to take it more fully won't deter their behavior. That kind of thinking is just perpetuating the problem.

      Same thing for your second option. They know we won't actually shoot.

      Now, your third option has some tiny merit. Not as much as my option but a bit.

      It's shit or get off the pot time. Either we stand up for ourselves or we need to go home.

    2. None taken. :-)

      I'm coming at this from a different angle. We have two things that have changed: A) Our former agreement with the Soviets expired with that government. B) We haven't been aggressive about defending the ships when stuff like this happens for many years.

      That is the current baseline. We will change that, but do so with notice. Then the next time we get buzzed in the baltic, no one is shocked that a SU-24 went down in flames; and a Russian citizen potentially died.

      To just start shooting, as you would suggest, leaves more of the possibility of escalation. It also makes us look like crap on the world stage. Why now? Why against Russia but not China?

      Clarity in international affairs is never a negative. Its especially helpful with our government, which can be so changeable from administration to administration. IIRC in WWI part of the (legitimate, IMHO) complaint of the German government against the British was 'every time we asked what would happen when we went into Belgium you were noncommital. Now you we get there and you declare war.' Heck, IIRC even Reagan had no problem basically telling the rest of the international community that things had changed now that he'd replaced Carter.

      So we tell everyone 'Nope. No more. Fair warning, we will shoot at planes making attack runs on our warships because how are we to know that this time isn't the opening gambit of something serious.

      They may test it, then we have to shoot. When we shoot we have our bona fides. And the next time we are doing FONOPS in the nine dashed line, or the Black Sea, they'll know too.

      Maybe you think its too far gone for that. I'm all for being tough, but believe we need to set up as much of a non-escalatory environment as possible.

      Standing tough is great. To do so we need a reasonable leg to stand on as well.

      Its not weak to try to figure out a way to draw a line in the sand, but not have that lead to outright war.

      Again, just my opinion.

    3. "To just start shooting, as you would suggest, leaves more of the possibility of escalation."

      Again, no offense. This is just plain nonsensical. Why is the risk of escalation always on us? Russia can buzz our ships and no one talks about escalation. What is it that inherently makes our actions escalatory but not Russia or China's? You (the large scale you, meaning all the appeasers out there) seem to have an irrational fear that if we sneeze in the direction of Russia we'll trigger nuclear war. Turn the situation around. If we buzz a Russian ship will nuclear war break out? No. Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft and nothing happened. Russia is no more going to escalate over a minor event than we are. What they'll do is rein in their behavior as they did with Turkey.

      We have grown so timid that we're rationalizing our lack of action as responsible behavior when, in reality, it is the inaction of cowards and appeasers. That didn't work well against Germany prior to WWII and it isn't working here.

      For all the "restraint" that the US has shown towards Iran, NK, Russia, and China, have those countries become more peaceful and friendly towards us? No. There's the objective assessment of your approach.

    4. CNO,
      Appeasement is on us, because, we are more successful.
      We are the saner people, and we do have government thats answerable to its people.
      So if an actual damn shooting war starts, they better have a good excuse as to why it happened.

      Naked aggression, where has it gotten Russia? Their economies in the doldrums, its been shrinking since 2013, when the rest of ours started recovering, they've weathered it so far, but are feeling the pinch. This is a desperation act of a govt that's facing the very stark reality of a dissatisfied populace, hoping for a Thatcheresque last minute reprieve by way of an obvious foreign culprit.
      Russian govt wants a plane shot down. It's great for propaganda.

      NK, i wont even go there, that's a country that I'm almost certain will engineer a war in the next 10 years purely because they're so far gone, they've no way out of the hole they've dug themselves, so invariably there will be a last hurrah of survival attempt.

      China is a different kettle of fish. Economically, we can't impact them, or only in a minimal way.
      That's a foe that needs some very clever strategic thinking to counter effectively.
      South China Sea, isn't closed to anyone, but the Chinese are certainly trying to grab large chunks of it.
      Not sure what the solution is there, but an alliance of disparate countries with shared interests to counter Chinese expansionism coupled with longer distance US strategic pressure, may work.
      Don't forget, US did in the Caribbean a century ago precisely what China is doing in the South China Sea now.
      Its a rising Regional power exerting its growing influence. Morally, militarily, economically, there may not be anything the US can do about it. That may be the reality you Yanks may have to face.

      Russia is a pissant that must be managed so it goes to Hell without taking the rest of us with it. NK is even more of a pissant.
      China is a rival and a foe to be challenged on near equal footing.
      Crying for lets shoot down some of their assets cause we don't like X, ain't gonna help anyone.

    5. Where exactly did the US construct artificial islands and militarized them in the Caribbean? Take a look at what is going on in the SCS:

    6. "Appeasement is on us, because, we are more successful."

      If I read your comment correctly, you're suggesting that we simply tolerate Russia until such time as their economy implodes. Correct me if I'm misreading you.

      The problem with that approach is that it could take decades, if it even happens. Russia can cause a LOT of problems for the world and us in the meantime. The people of Crimea and Ukraine probably don't think much of the idea of appeasement, right now!

      Russia's aggressiveness in the Baltic suggests that Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are next on the re-annexation list. How many countries are we willing to allow Russia to seize while we wait for them to implode?

      The local policeman doesn't smile indulgently at a bank robber because he, the policeman, is the "better" person. No, he arrests the robber with the idea that punishment will make the robber realize his mistakes and become a better citizen.

      You don't reward a bully with more countries, you smack him down.

      This nonsense that the US is more mature and should, therefore, exercise more restraint is idiotic. You don't deal with miscreants with tolerance, you deal with them with discipline. This is no different, conceptually, than raising a child. You set rules and boundaries of acceptable behavior and then punish them when they fail to obey. Russia is a petulant child and needs to be punished.


      while the language is pretty lefty, essentially the story holds true. US exerted economic influence to exert control over the carribean and central america.
      Not much difference to what China is attempting to do in its backyard.
      Im not saying its any more moral now, its just a natural chinese expansionist agenda, imperialist tendencies, resulting of successful economic policies coupled with a growing voice of descent back home requiring diverse foreign policy.

    8. You get that was over a hundred years ago, right? That's your apology for China's actions? If any country did something wrong, ever, then every country can do wrong forever? I'm disappointed if that's your rationale. The world has matured (well, some of the world) and the standards of civilized behavior have evolved.

    9. Did you miss this?
      "Im not saying its any more moral now,"
      No, not saying its particularly nice, but as of when has the world, east or west gotten any more moral?
      Do you think the US supporting one of the most repulsive despotic regimes on earth is moral, referring to Saudi's of course, a repulsive orthodox muslim country with all the niceties that entails.
      Don't read this wrong, i dont think many if any muslim countries are ready for a democratic system, but there are better forms of despotism than the crap the Saud family practices.
      And US happily goes along with it to secure its oil supply.
      Where in this is the US acting morally?
      I dont think we've progressed nearly as much as you'd like to think, and holding the chinese to a higher standard than you hold yourself to screams of hypocrisy. No, i dont equate historical precedence as a moral gauge. All I'm asking is for some perspective.

    10. The US is not without its share of unpalatable political actions and I have no problem calling them out. However, to use one wrong to justify a another, larger one is unacceptable. Questionable political alliances are not illegal. They may be unwise and, possibly, unethical but are not illegal. Seizing disputed islands in defiance of international law is not something the US does. There is a scale of integrity in the world and the US is at the top. China is near the bottom. Let's be clear about that.

      Im referring to the US of course. Russia nabs Crimea, its an act of war. China nabs Islands that it disputes ownership over, its an act of war. US overthrows local governments in countries that will not adhere to its influence, its an act of war. The US has now done this to more than half the countries in the middle east. Some successfully, some not. So far, US has sponsored government overthrows in: Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lybia. Thats just off the top of my head.
      If anything, US is doing on a grand scale what China/Russia are doing two bit versions of, they try and nab some realestate, the US goes after the whole kit and caboodle.
      CNO, im a westerner, and always on the US's side. Doesn't mean i can't be at least a little bit honest about whats going on.
      Of course i want the US to win, and i can harden my heart to the woes of wronged and slighted arabs. But we need to be honest about whats going on here.
      If we merely exist on propaganda, how are we any better than the Chinese or Russian citizens taken along for a ride by despotic governments?

    12. The US does not invade countries for its own gains. We have (perhaps unwisely) invaded countries in an attempt to alleviate the mistreatment of the citizenry. We have also not kept the countries but try to return them to their people as soon as possible. The US acts with noble purpose (if often bumbling actions). China and Russia are acting for their own gains.

      Moving on, let's consider the immense numbers and dollars America contributes to and spends on humanitarian assistance, medical relief, and hundreds of other purely beneficial activities around the world. The US is not perfect but on the integrity scale we are clearly on top.

      As an aside, this is also why I don't normally open this blog to politics. The "discussions" inevitably degenerate into country bashing and promoting with little fact and logic. With that said, this is as far as I'm taking this discussion. You may have a last say, if you wish.

    13. All good, ill be petty and say that if the US is indeed acting with Nobel purpose and not self interest, it'll be the very very first country/nation/peoples in recorded history to do so.
      Otherwise happy to let this drop. You're right, partisan politics wont go anywhere.

  2. This is the agreement I was thinking of.

    They clearly violated this.

    "not simulating attacks at, launching objects toward, or illuminating the bridges of the other party's ships;"

  3. Presumably they were screwing around to collect on the U.S. response and/or deflect attention from something else going on (is DONALD COOK doing BMD ops?). Obviously objectionable, but restraint probably the better part of valor here.

    1. Restraint is the better part of stupidity. We're just setting Russia up to seize the entire Baltic just as China has seized the South China Sea. Appeasement is accomplishing nothing for us and is only encouraging Russia and China.

    2. There is no reason for Russia to "seize" the Baltics. They gave up empire building, unlike the USA and its NATO cover scheme. There are no natural resources there, and Russia needs friendly neighbors for trade. The hysterics about demonized Russia are absurd. Its sad to see people cheering for a new Cold war.

    3. "... gave up empire building..."

      ?????? That's a good one. I guess the seizure of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine have to do with trade with friendly neighbors rather than empire building.

      Be warned, I will not allow blatantly false statements. Proceed accordingly.

  4. To an extent, I agree with you. But just to an extent.

    I think its more than fair that we try to re-create the Soviet naval agreement. I also think its fair for us to exercise our vessels in the Baltic. Russia is just one nation along that coast.

    If the Chinese sailed 100 miles off the coast of California with a destroyer and started doing anti-air exercises I don't see us buzzing them with pseudo attack runs from F-15's or Hornets.

    Their being there might be provocative, but they are still in international waters.

    Allowing them to buzz us like that is just a bad idea for everyone involved.

    1. Jim, do you really believe that Russia will honor any treaty they might sign with us? They've probably already violated several existing treaties, violated several nation's air space and territorial waters, seized Crimea, and invaded Ukraine. And you want to make a treaty with them? I ask you this gently and politely ... Are you that naive?

    2. No. But I think you are missing the lessons of history.

      We did it with the Soviets who had just the same track record.

      But by and large they *did* abide by this. Why? Making a point over a FONOPS on either side is good business. Outright war between two nuclear powers is insane.

      TThings are different now, of course. But if we get them to agree, then they break the agreement, we are completely within the right to shoot them down.

      Our own lack of action has made it too nebulous right now. They win with nebulous rules, not us.

      So we write the rules. Ideally bilaterally with a treaty, but if nececssary unilaterally.

      If you want peace, prepare for war. I believe that. But I also am a fan of Churchill. 'Jaw Jaw is better than War War'.

    3. Jim, with respect, you are missing the lessons of history on multiple levels.

      I'm not an international law expert but Russia has almost certainly violated SALT/START/INF treaties with their missile development work. They have almost certainly violated UNCLOS and other international safe navigation laws and provisions. They seized Crimea and invaded Ukraine. And you think that one more treaty will solve the problem??? Can you name a single thing Russia has done that fills you with confidence that they will abide by another treaty?

      Do you seriously think either the US or Russia is going to start a nuclear war over buzzing some ships or shooting down the odd aircraft? If Russia was inclined to do that they would have done so to a helpless Turkey.

      Man up and recognize a classic bully situation that is being worsened by appeasement. Read your history about the outcome of appeasement.

      The Soviets honored treaties - to the limited extent that they did - because they were sure that we would respond. Now, Russia is sure we won't respond so they have no motivation to honor treaties and, indeed, are not.

      Let history educate you!

    4. THat's why I like this blog. It makes me think from different angles. :-)

      You do make a good point about assigning all the restraint to our end. You're correct. We should be having more of a discussion about Russia's responsibilities.

      That said, I still read this differently. I do disagree with your premise that my idea of either bilaterally or unilaterally saying 'After today, we shoot for this crap' is appeasement. Doing it bilaterally is nice. Unilaterally is okay. But either has teeth.

      Munich is only one lesson of history, and I don't believe it fits here. There the Czech PM was, IIRC, forced to wait in another room while Britain and France gave away key Czech defenses to Germany. Nothing was demanded of Germany.

      This is more like the Belgian, or even more, Polish, situation in WWII. 'You've done X and Y. Do it again and get these Z consequences'. That's not appeasement, that's an ultimatum. Do this or that bad thing happens.

      I'm going by memroy here, but read about the status of the Heer, and the political situation, prior to Munich. Had the British and French issued an ultimatum *THEN* the German High Command was seriously considering undermining Hitler; they had doubts about their ability to execute his plan to take the Czech army in their defenses with any sort of alacrity. And they *knew* they couldn't do that and defend the French border at the same time.

      An ultimatum there could have possibly toppled Hitler, without war, prior to the war.

      I'm not saying that will happen here. I am saying that us issuing that warning will be heard loud and clear across the international community.

      We won't harrass your shipping. We expect the same.

    5. I'll throw one more thing out there.

      We need to very seriously consider our capabilities at this point, and consider the overall situation.

      One one side, the fact that we are exercising with allies in the Baltic, allies whom the Russians have considered traditionally part of their 'near abroad', is in and of itself standing up to them.

      We should, IMHO, do this for some of those nations (Poland, Finland, etc.).

      Some, IMHO, its not worth it, nor can we do much about it (Ukraine, Georgia).

      Before we draw lines in the sand we have to figure out where we can actually hold those lines. REFORGER is dead; and our traditional allies in Europe have extremely limited ability to fight.

      This has nothing to do with the buzzing of our ships directly. Just more of a general observation.

    6. "I do disagree with your premise that my idea of either bilaterally or unilaterally saying 'After today, we shoot for this crap' is appeasement."

      If you'll shoot, then fine. If you won't, it's appeasement. We won't.

      If you are willing to shoot, what's holding you back? Is one more warning going to make some kind of difference? Are you forgetting your history? :) This is not even remotely the first time Russian planes have buzzed US ships. Do you recall Russian planes buzzing the same destroyer, the Cook, in Apr 2014? Do you recall Russian bombers penetrating US airspace 16 times in a two week period as reported by the Washington Times in Aug 2014? You seem to be forgetting your recent history! Russia has been warned repeatedly. We already have all the justification we need to shoot. Yet another warning is pointless.

    7. "Do you recall Russian bombers penetrating US airspace 16 times in a two week period as reported by the Washington Times in Aug 2014?"

      Replace forgetting with didn't know about and you're spot on. That's pretty egregious.

    8. The key to a wise country is having a well informed citizenry. That's where America falls woefully short. Half our citizens couldn't name a single presidential contender, right now - heck, half the Democrats want an avowed socialist to be their nominee; talk about uniformed!

      If you (the large, generic you) are going to formulate opinions on world politics and military matters, you need to be well informed - you need data. That's one of the purposes this blog serves - to point out relevant data and help interpret it.

      You're welcome! :)

  5. "Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft and nothing happened except that the Russian’s probably steered clear of that area from then on. Amazing how that works."

    Russia was bombing Turks inside Syria, Turkey ambushed a Russian fighter (Striker?) to "warn them off", Russias response was quite the opposite, they wildly stepped up their attacks on Turkish Proxies within Syria, including sustained artillery fire.

    As for this situation, its a tough one.
    My first opinion was, (nearly) like you, paint them with targetting radar, or that chaff to the face idea.

    I think the ideal response would be to do the same to them at sea, but then I dont believe the Russian Navy leaves port often enough for it to be a viable?
    Intercepting them with our own air maybe?

    Shooting them down is a very dangerous response, firstly, they might shoot back, which could be terminal, or at least bloody, there friend might shoot back for them, a 24 speeds past running full burn, the destroyer fires at it, and a buddy 24 shoots at the destroyer, 24s dont appear to have anti ship missiles, but they do have anti radiation missiles, wouldnt that be a PR disaster, Americans panic and open fire on a Russian aircraft in international waters, Russian aircraft shows remarkable restraint and rather than sinking the evil american aggressor, just destroys its radar.
    Or there is a sub nearby that blows it up.

    1. Or,....

      A Russian aircraft aggressively ignores repeated warnings and blunders into a live fire exercise being conducted by a US ship and is accidentally shot down. Concerned and heroic US sailors risk their lives attempting to save the crew of the Russian aircraft.

      I guess it all depends how you choose to spin it.

      Why do you want to assign all the responsibility for restraint to the US and none to Russia?

    2. "Shooting them down is a very dangerous response, firstly, they might shoot back, which could be terminal, or at least bloody, there friend might shoot back for them ..."

      If an Aegis destroyer can't handle two Russian Su-24 aircraft then we've wasted a LOT of money on useless warships. Su-24's are Soviet era aircraft built in the 1960's-1980's. If Aegis can't handle that threat, better to find out now in a very limited incident than during an actual war.

    3. "A Russian aircraft aggressively ignores repeated warnings and blunders into a live fire exercise being conducted by a US ship"

      There are laws in place about live fire exercises in international waters, they have to be announced some time in advance, to stop that exact scenario.

      "Why do you want to assign all the responsibility for restraint to the US and none to Russia?"

      Because there PR is much much much better than yours, even when they are caught flat footed they manage to seize the initiative, when they set the pace the the US just ends up doing fish mouth.

      "If an Aegis destroyer can't handle two Russian Su-24 aircraft then we've wasted a LOT of money on useless warships."
      In a fair fight, sure, but little wins when its ambushed. And even if it does, what happens next, when a Russian jet shoots down an American SIGINT/AWACS plane for "aggressive" movements?

      I'm all for countering aggression with aggression, but it has to be sensible aggression, you have to have a plan, you have to be sure you arent being led to slaughter, and I'm really not sure escalation wont see NATO torn apart.

      What happens if in response to an "accidental discharge" local governments of ports ban USN ships for safety reasons.

      Russias ultimate goal is (probably) getting the US out of Europe, which is why it so heavily supports the "right" that want an end to US occupation, and the "left" that wants a strong (in "soft power") EUrope that stands up to American Imperialism and offers a "third way".

    4. Reading this, I had to chuckle. That's some pretty one-side analysis of consequences! To sum up your contention, if the US escalates, ships will be sunk, aircraft will fall from the sky, the Navy will be banned for all ports, and NATO will be torn apart. All from a simple escalation. The only thing you left out was nuclear war! I guess we shouldn't escalate.

      Now, let's look at the other side. Russia seizes Crimea, invades Ukraine, buzzes US ships repeatedly, reportedly operates subs in other country's territorial waters, repeatedly penetrates US airspace with bombers, - and nothing happens ... you predict no consequences.

      So much for analysis and predictions. Let's look at actual events. Turkey shoots down a Russian plane and nothing happens. You seem not to have factored actual events into your analysis and predictions.

      With respect, your prediction of the consequences of escalation is not even remotely realistic.

    5. "Because there PR is much much much better than yours..."

      Now that is some truth! Of course, part of the reason is that Russia has no qualms about blatantly lying. We at least attempt to tell the truth to some degree.

      An excellent observation and partial comment!

  6. How close was it to the Russian coast? How often do Russian warships conduct "training" just off our coast? Why does our crazed Pentagon think it sporting to constantly provoke Russia and move more and more forces near its borders? Our crazed Admirals are just seeking harm to get in the way of to boost budgets, and any officer who thinks we should risk nuclear war by "just shooting it down" should be fired. This isn't Yemen they are screwing with.

    1. Just a wild guess, here, but I'm going to assume it's because Russia seized Crimea and invaded Ukraine and shows no signs of slowing down its expansionist movements.

      Of course, it could also be because other, nervous countries are begging the US to establish a greater presence due to Russia's expansionist moves.

      Or, maybe it's because sailing in international waters and stationing troops in friendly countries, when invited by those countries, is perfectly legal.

      If you wish to exercise the privilege of posting on this forum, you need to drop the sensationalistic platitudes and stick to facts and logic. You may argue any position you wish but only with facts and logic. Proceed accordingly.

  7. As Jim pointed out the previous agreement was "not simulating attacks at, launching objects toward, or illuminating the bridges of the other party's ships;". I would think there is a good reason in the past for inserting such language into the agreement. If such behaviour in the past is deemed unacceptable then the US should take this opportunity in the diplomatic protest to reinforce this point as being binding and current. This would effectively put the Russians on notice that further actions of this nature shifts the responsibility onto them for the consequences. The problem would be if the WH down plays such events and matches in its diplomatic response.

  8. There is an ostensibly non lethal way to deal with this and that is fire up a high power laser tracked via and tracked via the detector, aim it at the Russian aircrafts cockpit. If they are close to the deck they will either pull up as soon as they are blinded or risk a potential crash into the sea. Yes there is the potential to crash into the ship in a worst case scenario but if you counter this aggresive action with a measured effective response I would think peacetime self preservation might prevail. It's a bit like spraying an annoying fly with flyspray some flies die others fly away from the source.

    1. This one I think is the most sane response. When painted by a laser, it will show that you mean business, but are choosing not to use lethal force.

      I disagree with CNO like many of the others here on an overly aggressive stance. I don't think that the Russians actually want war (they'd lose due to the vast disparity in economic size).

    2. "When painted by a laser, it will show that you mean business, but are choosing not to use lethal force."

      Reread what you wrote. It's not possible to "mean business" while choosing not to use force. That's just the definition of an empty threat.

    3. Have you ever seen what happens to the cockpit of an aircraft when a laser is pointed at it? It can be quite lethal.

      It's become a serious problem in the civilian world.

      You can blind the pilot with it. There is the risk of blinding the pilot and causing the plane to crash into the ocean or worse, the ship itself.

  9. There's an amusing blog entry at "Submarine Matters" about this incident with the headline stating that the US warship was intending to ram the Russian warplane ( lol ) :

    This reminds me of the situation in the 1980/90's. The world was feeling that the US was being timid and every Tom Dick and Harry would do bad things and the US would be the civilised person and not react much.

    Then 9/11 happened and the world saw what happened when the bear got poked hard enough. Everyone kept quiet while the US mobilised and tore down two countries and launched attacks in neighbouring countries via drones.

    And now the US is pulling out, and the street kids are back.

    Seriously,the USN should have responded in some way, even just firing warning shots missing the planes.


  10. "Then 9/11 happened and the world saw what happened when the bear got poked hard enough."

    Yes. It did. That's also part of the reason I'm a bit more leery than I was back in the day.

    We can debate the outcome of those wars. I'm not smart enough, nor do I think we have data enough, to put a bow on them.

    What I can say is that those regions are *still* destabilized, we've spent hundreds of billions, the military has had its hardware in many cases worn out, and we've missed development cycles. (I know. Our acquisition mess is probably 50% of that. How many billions were spent on the GCV, the EFV, etc...).

    I think we did a great job wrecking the armies of our enemies. I think we did a terrible job trying to nation build afterward.

    Maybe it was all worth it. I believe we had to do something. But it was very, very costly.

  11. Personally I would have gone SPY Hi Power 360 and Illuminated the target with the SPG-62. But based on the pics taken by the crew, it appears the ship was in Condition II. But I wanted to highlight a point you've made,

    "Seriously, if we aren’t going to use our Navy then bring them home."

    I believe this is the crux of the entire US military posture. Americans clearly have a ROE belief that does not play to our Armed Forces strengths and will not allow them the leeway to wage war effectively. Our allies have little interest in fending for themselves. Sometimes the situation need to reach extremis before a proper resolution can be reached. Perhaps its time for the US demobilize globally.

    1. "Personally I would have gone SPY Hi Power 360 and Illuminated the target with the SPG-62."

      I like your willingness to respond in some way but, seriously, what good would that do? They know we won't shoot so illuminating does nothing. The only way that works is to occasionally shoot down an aircraft. Then when we illuminate a target, the pilot actually believes we might shoot and he'll probably stop what he's doing.

      Russia knows we won't do anything no matter what they do. They've watched us do nothing while Iran seizes our boats and crews. They've watched us do nothing while Chinese ships have harassed our Navy. And so on. Threats and warnings are pointless if you have no intention of ever backing them up with force.

      Your last comment is fascinating and worthy of an entire post on a geopolitical blog. Do we pull back, sit back, and allow Europe to deal with Russia on their own? Do we allow Russia to continue seizing countries? At what point do we act? If we wait too long, are we just giving Russia more time to grow stronger? Fascinating.

      Good comment.

    2. That is a big question.

      Many of our allies in Western Europe seem kind of ambivalent towards us. I'm not saying we're the perfect ally; but it does seem like many in NATO are falling far short of the 2% required by the treaty organization. And it does seem that alot feel we are too aggressive.

      South Korea, IMHO, is a great ally. We aid their robust efforts.

      Germany... their military is a mess. IIRC entire air wings are grounded for lack of flyable equipment. They have 255 tanks; but not all of them are operable. I'd read a report where in some cases training was done with broomsticks due to lack of equipment.

      I'm not saying that they have to be world beaters. But goodness, at least satisfy treaty obligations.

      And if they aren't, if its not that important to them, I really struggle whether we should.

      If a populace doesn't like our policies, or like us much, and if their demonstrated financial interest in defense is very slight, are we wasting each others time? Are we forcing ourselves on them? At that point, maybe its time to call it good and pull back.

      That may cost us geopolitically in the mid to long run. But we may benefit from reduced expenditures, and the ability to focus more on things that directly impact us.

      That's a big conversation.

    3. There are many problems associated with pulling back. One of them is the sense of a "peace dividend". If we would pull back and retool our military to make it stronger, that would be worth considering. Unfortunately, we've seen time and again that any hint of a peace dividend gets spent on more social welfare programs. We'd pull back, become weaker militarily and socially. Not a good option. It might be what we need to do but let's not delude ourselves into thinking it's a good option.

    4. CNO,

      My suggestion of targeting was mentioned only because it falls within the current ROE paradigm. I wouldn't have done what this CO did and left people topside to take pics. But as you stated, the US isn't going to shoot down anyone unless we have been shot at first.

      And while I understand you concerns about a peace dividend hurting military readiness, our political situation means that the GOP will hold onto that single hill with all they have. A smaller deployment scope would also allow for something you've advocated; a major investment in maintenance of all military systems.

  12. CNO I'm glad you did this piece. This drove me mad this week!

    Aside from the aspects you have obviously covered. I see this as you saw the recent Iranian boat capture incident.

    As a commander of one of the world foremost Air Defence assets how on earth could you let this happen?

    From a political stand point alone this is death.

    This is really advertising that all an Arleigh Burke is good for is asking Russians nicely to go away.
    Worse than the shots you have there was an F*ing Helix parked 20 feet of the aft pad for 10 minutes p1ssing with an allied helo refuling.

    (In the style of a Simpsons episode I quite like)

    You say, “I’m filling this bit of air with lead and such. If you run into it, it’s your problem. “

    Then you jam everything, so they can’t call home or see jack, and illuminate them till the glow.

    Then fire and random pattern with some pretty star shells.

    This was basically taking the p1ss. And gained them HUGE political currency. Just Awful.

    1. You do get thats its international waters and the US has as much right to bet there as Russia. Since when does international law create an moving exclusive ADZ around any warship?
      of course its stupid thing as far as safety of ship or aircraft
      There was a cold war treaty about provocative actions but that was when US flew bombers armed with nuclear weapons towards USSR and then called back. This is senseless but not in the same class.

    2. Who's arguing "right to be there" other than you?

    3. "Since when does international law create an moving exclusive ADZ around any warship?"

      Its open to interpretation. But given the nature of International waters the RN would privately say that you ability to enforce the zone around your ship gives you the right.

      As you say there is no statute. So ....

      Its common practice for the RAF to intercept and turn back BEARS @ 300 to 150nm well in international airspace, we consider that our "area of interest" and enforce it. RN recently locked missiles to an Argentinian Corvette 300 miles off the Falklands harassing one of our oil rigs and turned them back.

      The joy of the lawless international waters, is from a certain point of view you can do what you like ( give or take ). Especially if they cant report back !

    4. "Since when does international law create an moving exclusive ADZ around any warship?"

      It does not, as far as I know. International law, regulations, and traditions do, however, constitute a body of legal laws, rulings, and precedent for operating ships and aircraft safely in international waters/air and Russia is routinely violating those. Further, every warship has the inherent right of self-defense and an aircraft making high speed runs directly at a ship and passing within 30 ft certainly could constitute a reasonable belief in the need for self-defense, if only due to the threat that a minutely mistimed maneuver would prove fatal to the ship at those speeds and separation. That the US has exercised restraint in the face of such provocation is both commendable and unwise.

  13. You guys do realize that this stunt is just a big photo op for internal Russian propaganda consumption.

    Its not a real attack profile unless they're practicing Falklands war style attack with dumb bombs.

    Again , those are stunts meant as a show of force too boost up "patriotism" in Russia, believe me.

    1. |Our lack of response will only encourage further and escalating acts by Russia (and other countries). It is only a matter of time until Russia demands that we vacate the Baltic Sea as a Russian “territory”. Don’t believe it?"

      And how do you respond to that, only thing i can think of is a lock on with the CIWS.

      Russia wont "demand" such thing , they're
      just a little bit pissed of about the Panama Files :)

    2. "Turkey shot down a Russian aircraft and nothing happened "

      You're pretty wrong here buddy , google Russian economic sanctions on Turkey.

    3. "... google Russian economic sanctions on Turkey."

      I don't think we're too worried about Russian sanctions! LOL

      We were addressing responses along the line of escalating military action, nuclear war, that kind of thing.

    4. "Russia wont "demand" such thing ..."

      The Russian harassment is obviously intended for internal propaganda use but I think that's only a secondary purpose. I think there is a larger strategic purpose. Putin has demonstrated that he's quite adept a manipulating the larger political stage and he clearly has a plan. That plan seems to be to reconstitute the Soviet Union. With that in mind and knowing that he has already seized Crimea and is in the process of seizing Ukraine, I think it's a very real possibility that he's setting the stage for seizure of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Ejecting the US from the Baltic would be a logical precursor to that move.

      I could be wrong but it's not an unreasonable scenario given what Russia has done so far.

    5. I dont think its anything so grand, perhaps the north coast and the east of Estonia, but I think the main goal is monetary, they want Russian friendly (or subservient) governments around their periphery, and a step to that is showing the US isnt a reliable partner.

    6. You may be right but given the fact that they've already seized Crimea and invaded Ukraine, we certainly can't rule out further annexations.

    7. What are you guys talking about , the Baltic states are all NATO members.
      Crimea was a different story, just read how much in distant history Russia has fought for that piece of land.

      "That plan seems to be to reconstitute the Soviet Union."

      CNO, Please thats total nonsense.

      Right now Putin and Erdogan are pissed at each other and believe me or not the US is advantageous in this situation no matter how many ships they buzz , or whatever stunt they pull.


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