So much for the “reset.” It’s business as usual for the freedom-hating Russians, and that means trying to undermine the United States by any means possible — up to and including nuclear weapons.
No sooner had Barack Obama returned from his first visit to Moscow, at which he attempted to reset relations with Russia by holding out the hand of friendship (and practically begging for nuclear arms reductions) in a manner eerily similar to the kiss Jimmy Carter bestowed on Leonid Brezhnev, than for the first time since the collapse of the USSR two nuclear-powered attack submarines were found patrolling international waters off the American coastline.
It’s unknown whether these subs carried missiles that could strike the U.S., but it’s clear that if they didn’t, the only reason would be that Russia’s creaking, rust-bucket sub strike force can’t currently be mobilized for that purpose. Yet another SLBM recently misfired on launch after a test (now more failures have occurred than successful launches), so the Kremlin sacked its top nuclear missile official and went back to the drawing board. In other words, following a meeting with Obama, Russia immediately returned to its disturbing pattern of harassing the United States with direct strategic provocation, something the U.S. hasn’t done to Russia since the Cold War “ended” years ago.
So much for the naïve president’s effort to make friends with the KGB thugs who prowl the Kremlin.
Last December, for the first time since World War II, Russia sent a warship through the Panama Canal. A month before that, Russian navy ships participated in war games with the forces of psychotic Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, publicly sworn to the destruction of the U.S. Russia has long been providing huge quantities of military hardware to Chavez and it has been aggressively seeking to reestablish military support for Cuba as well. Five months ago, Russia announced it was exploring the basing of nuclear bombers in either Cuba or Venezuela. In September 2008, Russia had actually landed two nuclear bombers at a Venezuelan airbase.
In February 2008, two Russian strategic bombers buzzed the U.S. carrier Nimitz, and the carrier group had to scramble fighter jets to ward them off. One flew directly above the carrier at an altitude of just 2,000 feet, clearly displaying an open intent to terrify and provoke.
In August 2007, two Russian bombers harassed the U.S. military base in Guam, again forcing the emergency scrambling of attack aircraft to ward off the threat — the first time such a challenge had been mounted since the end of the Cold War.
In September 2007, fighters were scrambled against six Russian bombers that were flying perilously close to Alaska. Since then, buzzing Alaska has become a ritualistic practice. So far this year, Russia has done it thirteen separate times, including three times while Obama was in Moscow, a direct slap at the new American president.