Monday, March 02, 2009

Russia Tries to Nuke Canada!!!

Not really. But two nuclear capable bombers brushed by Canada's airspace on the eve of President Obama's visit last month.  NORAD dispatched two Canadian fighter jets to escort the Russian's and let them know that Canada was miffed at their gesture.  The Russian bombers, of course, never had any intention of entering Canada and remained in international airspace without incident.  Canada has publicly reprimanded Russia for conducting these exercises (apparently they have been occurring quite regularly) without adequately informing Canada ahead of time.  Earlier last month two similar Russian bombers brushed up against Alaska and NORAD sent four F-15's to escort the Russians around US airspace.

Obviously, the Russians can't bomb the US or even Canada with only two unescorted bombers, so the point of these little adventures is symbolic.  Russian had suspended these fly-bys after the end of the Cold War but began them again in August of 2007.  Most likely Russia is feeling its power weakening and is trying to reassert itself as a major international actor, but to me at least these gestures seem like a symbol of growing insecurity... if Russia was really that powerful, it probably wouldn't feel the need to constantly remind people that it was powerful.

The Canadian Defense Minister stopped short of accusing the Russian's of plotting any kind of symbolism by the event, and a Russian air force spokesman went on record saying that Canada's statements are a "farce".  But considering that Mr. Medvedev timed his announcement of Russia's deployment of surface-to-surface missiles to the border of Poland and Lithuania on the same night that the US presidential elections were announced, I doubt that this latest round of saber rattling is a coincidence.  

The missile defense shield in Poland is still a point of contention and quite possibly the impetus for this event.  Russia perceives the potential missile installations as interference in its traditional sphere of influence.  Maybe its trying to remind the US what that feels like.

1 comment:

Patrick B said...

See, this is what happens when Canada has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on their other side, the land, um, boundary that they have with the USA. Their next door neighbor is a foreign country!

Man, those folks in the Yukon must have great foreign policy experience.