The Cold War, Part II

Looks like the Russians want to turn back the clock:

Two RAF jets have intercepted a Russian bomber over the north Atlantic.
Typhoon interceptors shadowed a Russian Tupolev-95 “Bear” reconnaissance aircraft last Friday.

It is the first time the £60m Eurofighter has been scrambled on a genuine alert since it took over defence of Britain’s airspace in June.

The MoD said in a statement: “RAF Typhoons from Numbers 3(F) and XI Squadrons launched to shadow a Russian Bear-H aircraft over the North Atlantic Ocean on Friday 17 August 2007.”

The £67m fighter jets were officially put on active standby last month, ready to protect the UK from hijacked airliners and other threats from the skies.

A dozen Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft of 3 (Fighter) Squadron are now on round-the-clock active duty at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.

Link: http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1280809,00.html

Russia to revive bomber patrols
Move a show of Moscow’s military power amid chilled U.S. relations

Associated Press
Updated: 9:47 a.m. ET Aug 17, 2007
MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he had ordered the military to resume regular long-range flights of strategic bombers, a show of Russia’s resurgent military power which comes amid a chill in relations with the United States.
Speaking after Russian and Chinese forces completed major war games exercises for the first time on Russian turf, Putin said a halt in long-range bombers’ flights after the Soviet collapse had affected Russia’s security as other nations had continued such missions — an oblique reference to the United States.
“I have made a decision to resume regular flights of Russian strategic aviation,” Putin said in televised remarks. “We proceed from the assumption that our partners will view the resumption of flights of Russia’s strategic aviation with understanding.”

Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20318458/

Oh, we understand, alright. Feeling a bit impotent since The Wall came down Vladimir? This is just Russia’s way of saying they miss being the Evil Empire.  Added to the recent events is their renewed support of traditional Middle Eastern accessories, usually on the opposite side of the U.S., which might be ‘payback’ for our support of the Mujahidin:

AFX News Limited
Russia begins delivery of air defence system to Syria – report
08.17.07, 8:05 AM
MOSCOW (Thomson Financial) – Russia has begun delivery of modern air defence units to Syria while rejecting speculation that some of the weapons could be forwarded secretly to Iran, a newspaper reported on Friday.
‘The first part of the delivery to Syria has started,’ the centrist daily Nezavissimaya Gazeta reported, quoting information from a domestic military information agency.
A spokesman for Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboronexport, contacted by Agence France-Presse, declined to comment on the newspaper report.
The report acknowledged that the delivery of the weapons, the Pantsyr-S1E self-propelled short-range missile air defence system, was particularly sensitive in light of Israeli claims last year that Russian arms sold to Syria had ended up in the hands of militant group Hezbollah.
Nezavissimaya Gazeta quoted an official involved in Russian arms export policy as describing concerns that Russian air defense weapons could be re-exported to Iran as ‘silly rumours’.
‘This is not possible,’ Vitaly Shlykov, a member of the state committee on foreign and defence policy, was quoted as saying. ‘One of the conditions for every deal is the prohibition on transfer of the weaponry to a third country.’
Officially, the contract was for the sale of 50 Pantsyr units for about 900 mln usd. Media reports have put the number of units sold to Syria at around 36.
In May, the London-based arms specialist magazine Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that Syria had agreed to send Iran at least 10 of the Pantsyr units.
That report was categorically denied by a range of top Russian officials including First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.
tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomson.com
Link: http://www.forbes.com/business/feeds/afx/2007/08/17/afx4029892.html

For awhile, it looked as if there might be real glasnost and perestroika the former USSR.  Instead, the economy and government are still rife with corruption, the Russian Mafia is thriving, Putin has cracked down on free speech and the media, and nationalized corporate entities and oil companies. Funds and technology from the West have yet to be used for real advancement into the 21st Century.

Putin is an old KGB operative and Communist Party apparatchik. Old habits die hard. He wants to revert back to a system he’s more comfortable with, but I don’t think the Russian masses will comply. The tragic thing about Russia is that even though it’s been given the opportunity to change from a totalitarian gulag, it still retains the same attitudes and sluggish traits.

If he really wants to put his military hardware and troops to good use, he’ll take a lesson from what happened in Chechnya and join the GWOT. But instead, he’s teamed up with China for joint military excercises.  For over 50 years, a war-by-proxy was fought between NATO and the Warsaw Pact; whether in the Middle East, Central and South America, or Southeast Asia.  Contrary to popular belief, the Cold War was never over, it simply went underground.

If Putin keeps this up, we’ll have to pick up where we left off.

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