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      06-07-2019, 02:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by minn19 View Post
Maybe, I guess I'm not sure how nearly colliding with our aircraft or ships with these tactics is messing with our democracy. If anything I would think it is doing the opposite. It could blow back on Putin and unite a very fractured US against a common enemy.
Okay - bear with me, because this will be long, and I apologize:

Why are they doing it? Because, Russia. Antagonizing the West is central to one of Putin’s most cherished ambitions: undermining NATO. By constantly pushing the limits with risky intercepts and other tactics, Putin forces NATO to make difficult choices about when and how to respond that can sow dissension among its members.

This problem of the military "brush up's" that you mention, which began not long after Russia’s seizure of the Crimea in 2014, have accelerated rapidly in the past years. In 2016, NATO scrambled jets more than 400 times to intercept Russian military aircraft that were flying without having broadcast their required identification code or having filed a flight plan. In 2018, that number had leapt to 980 an average of more than two intercepts a day. There has been a similar increase in Russian jets intercepting US or NATO aircraft, as well as a significant uptick in incidents at sea in which Russian jets run mock attacks against American warships.

U.S. officials view run-ins with Russia as the most dangerous, because they are part of a deliberate strategy of intimidation and provocation by Russian president Vladimir Putin, and because the stakes are so high. The potential for miscalculation is probably higher than at any other point since the end of the Cold War.

In addition, a certain belligerence towards the U.S. is practically a political necessity for Putin. The Russian leader owes his popularity to "the tiger of patriotic mobilization." Given the country’s diminished status in the world and its stalled economy, he added, militarized fervor for the motherland is the only thing going for his regime.

Since the Cold War ended in 1991, NATO has accepted 10 European countries formerly allied with the Soviet Union. In response, Russia has expanded its military; engaged in powerful cyber war attacks against Estonia, Germany, Finland, Lithuania and other countries; seized parts of Georgia; forcibly annexed Crimea; sent its troops into Ukraine; and staged multiple no-notice exercises with the ground and air power it would use to invade its Baltic neighbors.

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Putin is brilliant, period. Evil as well. It isn't just the USA that he antagonizes and wins.

In December 2015, a Turkish F-16 jet shot down a Russian SU-24 fighter on the Turkish-Syrian border. The Russian fighter plummeted in flames and its co-pilot was killed by ground fire. The surviving pilot, said he’d been attacked without warning; Turkey insisted that the Russian plane had violated its airspace. Within days Putin had deftly turned the incident to his advantage. Instead of seeking to punish Turkey, he accused the U.S. of having a hand in the incident, without any evidence. Then he coaxed Turkey, a NATO member, into participating in joint combat operations over Syria. He also engineered Syrian peace talks in which the United States was pointedly not invited to participate. Russia is playing three-dimensional chess while we are playing checkers.

Putin’s favored tactic is known as escalation dominance. The idea is to push the other side until you win, to escalate to the point where the adversary stops, won’t go farther. It’s a very destabilizing strategy. Probe with a bayonet; when you hit steel withdraw, when you hit mush, proceed. Right now, the Russians keep pushing out and hitting mush.

This mindset is basically the opposite of how both American and Soviet leaders approached each other during the Cold War, even during periods of exceptional stress such as the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Having endured the devastation of World War II, they understood the horror that lurked on the far side of a crisis. When things started to get too close, they would back off. Now it's the other way around.
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Last edited by Run Silent; 06-12-2019 at 08:54 AM..