Russian strategic bombers penetrated US airspace 16 times in the last 10 days, according to US defense officials. The bombers penetrated 16 times into northwestern US air defense identification zones. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned about the heightened possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
US jets scrambled in response to the Russian bombers several times.
Major Beth Smith, spokeswoman for NORAD, commented about the incursions, saying, ” Over the past week, NORAD has visually identified Russian aircraft operating in and around the U.S. air defense identification zones.”
Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon, who broke the story, wrote that the bomber flights are the “latest case of nuclear saber rattling by the Russians.”
Russia also violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 signed by Reagan and Gorbachev by testing a nuclear cruise missile.
President Barack Obama ridiculed Mitt Romney for saying that Russia was America’s biggest strategic threat in the 2012 election:
A few months ago, when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. Not al Qaeda; you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.
Admiral Cecil Haney, head of US Strategic Command, has spoken about the Russian nuclear threat, saying that Russia conducted several large nuclear war games in May.
He said this recently at a defense industry breakfast:
Additionally, we have seen significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea, and even our West Coast.
He went on to say:
Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad, and open source [reporting] has recently cited the sea trials of its latest [missile submarine], testing of its newest air-launched cruise missile and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area.
How concerned should the world be about Russia? Is Russia now a significant threat to American interests? Or was Hillary Clinton’s Russian “reset” successful?
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