Friday, July 10, 2009

Not the Actions of a Friendly Nation

Picture: MOD
The picture is a recent one and shows an RAF Typhoon intercepting a Russian Tu-95 Bomber, NATO designation "BEAR". This is skirting British air space after having overflown Norway. It is a deliberate military incursion by the Russian Air Force: it is an entirely hostile act.
It is also far from unique. According to the House of Commons Defence select committee there have been at least 18 such unauthorised military incursions into British air space in the past two years.
The point of the RAF releasing this photograph is, however a pointed one. The Tupolev 95 may not be as primitive as it looks, it has turbo prop- not piston- engines and a very long range. However the weapons systems on the Typhoon could have shot down the Russian craft well before the Russians were even aware that a Typhoon was in the area- after all the Typhoon only came into service less than two years ago and carries highly advanced systems. Comparing the 1960s era Bomber and the latest fighter underlines that Russia's challenge to the West lacks a certainly level of credibility.
However it also underlines the fact that Russia- through its own choice- has returned to being a hostile power. As the Defence committee points out these are "not the actions of a friendly power".
As even IKEA chooses to abandon its plans to invest in Russia and the level of corruption under Vladimir Putin reaches utterly incredible levels, Russia is retreating into poverty and isolation- and deep hostility. The criminally corrupt cabal that controls the Kremlin is using pride in its military as a rallying cry to turn the growing unrest in the country outwards.
The poor, isolated and paranoid bear still has the capacity to create murder and mayhem on its borders: as the people of Georgia know only too well. As the defence committee says: the time has come to be much more robust in dealing with Putin. Holding the line now may prove a good deal safer than when Russia has decided to make a direct military threat to NATO.

1 comment:

Peter Mc said...

The Russians got one of their Tupolevs very close to the East Coast a couple of years ago and the RAF missed it until it was well with nuclear mayhem range. Those Bears are old airframes and my worry would be that one just falls out of the sky an causes an incident: a colleague bought a former Warsaw Pact shipyard and inherited a load of Naval maintenance records. Eyewateringly bad.