A recent story headlined on CNN.com asked the question, “Why is Russia sending bombers close to U.S. airspace?”, after several Russian military aircraft flew near U.S. airspace along the coasts of Alaska and California. Perhaps a better question would be why has Russia waited so long to do so?
The story includes a smattering of ominous, juvenile-level rhetoric from Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican Congressman from Illinois, who describes what Russia is doing as an “act of aggression.” He compares Vladimir Putin to a diminutive school bully who acts overly tough, no doubt an allusion to Russia’s reduced influence in world affairs since the end of the Cold War.
Kinzinger’s quotes make him sound more like the loveable, rotund idiot Tommy Callahan portrayed by Chris Farley in “Tommy Boy” – ‘Like, you’re not even gonna believe what those Russians are doing. It’s not really cool.’ But, I guess since Kinzinger “served” in the Air Force and “sat” on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he’s a reliable source to judge the behavior of Vlad Putin and the Russian military.
Americans should not be surprised that the Russians are sending aircraft close to American airspace. Considering what the U.S. government and military has been doing for twenty-five years, Russia’s sorties should be an expected minimum response by Moscow. Be thankful they aren’t like the U.S. government and overact to threats that don’t exist.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union the United States has proceeded to encircle Russia by expanding NATO and the number of military bases ever-closer to Russian soil. Go to Google images and type “United States encircling Russia” and a number of maps pop up showing the extent of this policy. One image jokingly makes the statement: “Russia Wants War: Look how close they put their country to our military bases.”
The United States regularly conducts military “exercises” with allies in areas of Eastern Europe formerly controlled by the Soviet Union. In the post-Cold War era, NATO has become nothing more than a collection of vassal states under the overbearing and near-tyrannical control of the U.S. government and military, much like the Warsaw Pact used to be under the Soviets.
Adding more countries to NATO does nothing for the security needs of member states. They serve as sacrificial pawns in a giant game of geopolitical chess played by the U.S. government and its crazies who run the military. Military bases allow the United States proximity to Russian territory. Most Americans remain ignorant of all this. For many of those who are aware, too many drink the government/media Kool-Aid that says this is necessary for U.S. “security”.
The current situation in Ukraine was instigated by the United States. The collapse of the government, the civil war and the installation of a pro-American government, all the consequence of American meddling in the affairs of a country bordering Russia. As usual, the American media played its usual role, selling the government’s version of reality, thus making it easy to cast Putin and the Russians as the bad guys.
The Russian response, the annexation of the Crimea, moving troops near the border, whatever, would all seem reasonable to Americans if a similar crisis was happening in Mexico. Imagine the Russians deciding they didn’t like a Mexican government they claimed was too pro-American and took measures to cause its collapse, then taking an active part to ensure a government friendly to Moscow took its place. That’s what the United States has effectively done in Ukraine.
Too many Americans just don’t understand how the world works and how their own government is the instigator of so much strife in the world. If they can think they sure don’t demonstrate an ability or willingness to do so. If they did they would honestly and rationally conclude that their own government is provoking Russian near intrusions into U.S. airspace.
But since coming to that conclusion would require reading (sorry, no pictures, no tracing your finger slowly across the page, and absolutely no mouthing the words as you read them) and thinking about information more than a few minutes into the past, that’s not gonna happen. So when Americans read about Russian military aircraft flying near U.S. airspace they’re outraged because that’s the easiest reaction.
Maybe that’s exactly what the U.S. government wants. As the article points out, U.S. military surveillance can track Russian military aircraft before they leave Russian airspace. Let them get close and then intercept. Feign outrage and foster fears of Russian aggression. The terrorist bogeyman is getting old so why not return to an old favorite. All governments need a bad guy; if one’s not readily available then fabricate one. As history has demonstrated, the U.S. government is hands down, best at that.
Reaction to these Russian flights just proves what critics of American policy have been saying since the Bush administration cherry-picked “intelligence” to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, taking the United States down a permanent path of financial destruction through stupid, unnecessary and unwinnable military operations.
If another country acted similarly the American government would be ablaze with self-righteous outrage. The media would perform like the trained seal that it is and toot the government’s propaganda horn, riling the American people into an irrational, frothing patriotic fervor. Among the political class there would be calls for economic sanctions and, if the country was small and weak, threats of imminent military action.
And we do that for non-existent threats. General Joseph Dunford, nominee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Russia an “existential threat” to the United States. No doubt many Americans would, like zombies, nod in agreement, all because of what the media told them about outdated Russian aircraft flying close to U.S. airspace.
Ignoring tangible and ongoing threats to Russian security instigated by the United States over the last quarter century demonstrates that when it comes to American foreign policy and assessing its real consequences, ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy remains the order of the day.