18 August 2007

Flying Bears

Just in case it has been missed in the mix of the Fed dropping interest rates, hurricanes in the Gulf and Atlantic and pre-season football, what might have been thought a relic of the Cold War is back again. Russian President Putin announced yesterday that his country would resume flying long-range bomber routes. Putin is quoted as saying, “We proceed from the assumption that our partners will view the resumption of flights of Russia's strategic aviation with understanding.” Understanding of what, exactly, he doesn’t say.

The article reports that the Russians will start flying these routes with Tu-160 and Tu-95MC bombers. The Tu-95MC is a version of the Bear that just about anyone who has read a Tom Clancy novel (the older ones, like Hunt for Red October) will recognize. The Tu-160 looks suspiciously like the B-1. I wonder where the Russians got the idea for that design…

Regardless, it seems to me that there are countries in the world who wish to flex their national muscle to protect their corner of the globe, which is all fine and good. National defense is a primary responsibility of any government. The military trajectories of nations around the globe, though, should cause us to think about our military and where the US should be in five to ten years. As other countries expand and strengthen their militaries, we must decide if the US military will expand and strengthen as well or if it can only be extended and stretched to meet the demands of an ever-changing world.

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