Russian Bombers Buzz North American Coast: Cold War Redux Or Is Putin Just In A Snit?


Not this again:

Two Russian strategic bombers conducted practice cruise missile attacks on the United States during a training mission last week that defense officials say appeared timed to the NATO summit in Wales.


The Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were tracked flying a route across the northern Atlantic near Iceland, Greenland, and Canada’s northeast.


Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined “launch box”—an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets, said defense officials familiar with intelligence reports.

It’s bad enough that Russia is “saber-rattling” (more likely flashing not so polite sign language our way), but to add insult to injury, they’re not even being sneaky about buzzing U.S. airspace. Our frenemy Vladimir Putin is sending Tu-95 Bears, a Korean War era turbo prop airplane so loud that submarines can hear them underwater.  In American slang, that’s called “in your face” to the “leadership”  in the drained swamp was call a nation’s capitol.

The prevailing theory at the Free Beacon piece quoted above is that Vladmir Putin and his band of merry KGB retirees strategically timed these rehearsals to coincide with NATO meetings.  It seems that there is a Cold War hangover mentality still hovering in Moscow driving these practice drills:

Disclosure of the nuclear bombing practice comes as a Russian general last week called for Moscow to change its doctrine to include preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States and NATO.


Gen. Yuri Yakubov, a senior Defense Ministry official, was quoted by the state-run Interfax news agency as saying that Russia’s 2010 military doctrine should be revised to identify the United States and the NATO alliance as enemies, and clearly outline the conditions for a preemptive nuclear strike against them.

Here we go again.  There is a very definite possibility of being dragged into yet another conflict we did not exactly provoke and squaring off with an enemy determined to kill us all if they have to.

We’ve done this before.  From 1946-ish until 1989.  For over forty years, the United States and Russia, I mean the Union of Soviet and Socialist Republics (socialist republic is an oxymoron if there ever was one), squared off in a war that had no formal battles, but plenty of proxy conflicts and casualties and cost us a lot of money.  When the Soviets parked nuclear cruise missiles off the coast of Florida in the 60’s, rather than firing them and finishing us off at the time, they blinked.  Does all this mean they are itching for a do-over?

Not that there is much chance of being able to strike against the entire country from the Labrador Sea, but considerable damage could be done from there:

The Tu-95 is a nuclear-capable bomber that is outfitted with six AS-15 nuclear-armed cruise missiles. The missiles have a range of over 1,800 miles.


Google Earth analysis reveals that a Tu-95 launch box located in the Labrador Sea and firing AS-15 missiles would be in range of Ottawa, New York, Washington, and Chicago, and could reach as far south as the Norfolk Naval base.

There’s a lot more that could be targeted on the east coast, but any of those targets alone being in the cross-hairs is a cause for sleep loss.

What makes this more hair raising is that this bullying behavior started seven years ago:

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic policymaker and currently senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy, said Russian leaders frequently issue public nuclear threats because they regard their nuclear arsenal as the main element of their great power status.


“Putin began what he called bomber ‘combat patrols’ in 2007 and they continue,” Schneider said. “They are designed to intimidate as well as practice nuclear bomber attacks.”…


He said the threats have included nuclear exercises, bomber flights, and public statements, including Putin’s suggestion that NATO ‘not mess with us’ because Moscow remains a nuclear power.


Northern Command has confirmed that Russian strategic bomber flights increased sharply over the past six months….


Last month, at least 16 bomber incursions by the Russians took place within the northwestern U.S. and Canadian air defense zones over a period 10 days. It was the largest number of incursions since the end of the Cold War. U.S. fighter jets intercepted the Russian aircraft and followed them until they excited the defense zone.


In June, Russian bombers flew over the arctic prompting intercepts by Canadian fighters on two occasions. The Canadian government called the stepped up bomber flights a “strategic message” from Moscow amid heightened tensions.


And on June 20, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the test launch of six AS-15 missiles from a Bear bomber during military exercises.


That same month, on June 9, two Russian Bear bombers flew within 50 miles of the California coast in the closest strategic bomber flights near a U.S. coast since the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

This latest incident is all about NATO and reminding the rest of the world that Russia is still a nuclear power?  That’s quite a laundry list of fly-bys for a simple saber-rattling episode.

And what is the United States doing to counter these threatening moves?  Barack Obama pledged a military presence in the Baltic countries last week and pledged the protection of NATO to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, all of which split from the old Soviet Union as fast as they could when the opportunity arose.  Some sources claim that the three teeny tiny nations are American puppet countries and this is no more than an offensive defense move.  Could be. No military action in Ukraine, though, so the sincerity of the Obama Regime is definitely in question.  No indication if we are buzzing the Polijarny Inlet where the famed Russian Navy Northern Fleet base lies, either.

Ask people in the military about the end of the Cold War and you will hear that it didn’t really end, it was just put on the back burner.  After twenty-five years, it looks to be heating up again.  At the height of Cold War I, cooler heads prevailed rather than trying to annihilate the enemy.  Let’s hope this version of the USSR/Russia displays that sort of patience.

Really, though, sixty year old bombers?  Doesn’t Putin have anything higher tech?

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.