The Obama Administration signed the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) with Russia on April 8, 2010. After the treaty was ratified, it entered into force on February 5, 2011.
The New START agreement with Russia limited each country's long-range nuclear weapons stockpile to 1,500.But while both the U.S. and Russia agreed to these limits, only America promised to freeze its technology. As the late constitutional scholar Phyllis Schlafley wrote of the treaty: “It reads like it was written by the Russians and has nothing good in it for the United States.... The treaty allows Russia to build new and modern weapons to reach New START limits, whereas the United States is locked into reducing its current number. That means Russia will have new and tested weapons, but the U.S. will be stuck with its current, out-of-date, untested warheads.... This treaty gives Russia a veto over all U.S. defenses against incoming missiles.... Russia explained that ... it will stick with New START 'only if the (U.S.) refrains from developing its missile defense capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.'”
"In truth, New START is worse than a bad deal. It does nothing to reduce Russia’s huge advantage in tactical nuclear weapons. Instead, President Obama proposes to tie only America’s hands. The reductions and caps apply to strategic nukes, the category in which the United States holds an advantage that Russia, a declining power, cannot hope to dent absent our self-defeating complicity.
"But that’s not the half of it. The word 'deal' implies a contract, a meeting of the minds. On New START, we already know there is no such thing. Going in, before we ever get to ratification, the Russians have already proclaimed the treaty an ironclad lock against expanded American missile defense. They’ve got the treaty language to prove it, and they are insistent that future U.S. moves to promote our security would scotch the whole arrangement.
"The Obama administration claims that this interpretation is wrong. Yet, keeping with standard Obama operating procedure, the White House is refusing to disclose the negotiating record."
Obama Tells Medvedev He Will Have "More Flexibility" on Missile Defense after the Election
President Obama found his private moment of political candor caught by a live microphone on Monday as he told President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on the delicate issue of missile defense after the November election, which Mr. Obama apparently feels confident he will win.
Mr. Obama’s Republican adversaries seized on the comment, which followed a meeting between Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev in Seoul, South Korea, where both had struggled to find common ground amid strong objections in Russia to the American plans for a missile defense system based in Europe. As a pool of television journalists gathered for a news conference on the leaders’ meeting, Mr. Obama leaned in to deliver private assurances to Mr. Medvedev. But speaking inadvertently into an open microphone, he offered a frank assessment of the difficulty of reaching a deal — on this or any other subject — in an election year.
“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Mr. Obama could be heard saying to Mr. Medvedev, according a reporter from ABC News, who was traveling with the president. “Yeah, I understand,” the departing Russian president said. “I understand your message about space. Space for you ... .” Mr. Obama then elaborated in a portion of the exchange picked up by the cameras: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.” “I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Mr. Medvedev said, referring to Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who just won an election to succeed Mr. Medvedev.
Obama Rebuffs NATO's New Secretary General, As Russia Becomes Increasingly Provocative
On March 25, 2015, Fox News reported that according to a story in Bloomberg View: (a) President Obama did not respond to NATO's new secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, when the latter requested an opportunity to meet with Obama during his (Stoltenberg's) scheduled visit to Washington (for a strategic brainstorming session involving American and NATO military officials and experts) later that week; and (b) Stoltenberg had to settle instead for a last-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Added Fox News:
"The report of Obama's snub comes amid Russia's growing willingness to test NATO's military readiness. On Tuesday, NATO jets were scrambled after four Russian military planes were spotted flying over the Baltic Sea with their transponders turned off. Over the weekend, a Danish newspaper published remarks by the Russian ambassador to Denmark in which he hinted that Russian missiles could target Danish warships if Copenhagen joins NATO's missile defense system.
"But the most far-reaching example of Russian belligerence came Tuesday, when Britain's Daily Telegraph reported that Moscow was preparing to lease 12 long-range bombers to Argentina in exchange for shipments of beef and wheat. The report comes after a round of rhetoric from Russian officials questioning Britain's claim to the Falkland Islands.
"The Telegraph reports that Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, compared a 2013 referendum in which 99.8 percent of Falklands inhabitants voted to remain part of the U.K. to last year's vote which formalized Crimea's annexation by Russia.... Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Duma’s committee of international affairs, was even more blunt in a Twitter message that read, in part, 'Crimea has immeasurably more reason to be a part of Russia than the Falkland Islands to be part of the U.K.'
"The Russian position echoed remarks made last year by Argentina president Cristina de Kirchner, who said, 'The Malvinas [Argentina's name for the archipelago] has always belonged to Argentina, the same way that Crimea also belonged to the Soviet Union until it was given to Ukraine.'"
Russia Announces Shipment of Powerful Missile Air-Defense System to Iran
On April 13, 2015, the Kremlin announced that it would soon sell (for $800 million) and deliver to Iran a powerful S-300 surface-to-air missile system that would make it virtually impossible for Israel or the U.S. to carry out airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities if necessary in the future. A senior U.S. Marine Corps aviator said that the delivery of the S-300 system to Iran would be “a complete game changer for all fourth-gen aircraft [like the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18]. That thing is a beast and you don’t want to get near it.” A senior U.S. Air Force commander said: “[It] essentially makes Iran attack-proof by Israel and almost any country without fifth-gen [stealth fighter] capabilities. In other words, Iran, with the S-300, can continue to do what they want once those systems are in place without fear of attack from anyone save the U.S. Brilliant chess move…”
TheDailyBeast.com noted, “The Kremin’s decision now sends a signal to Tehran that the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table are done—even before a final nuclear agreement is signed.” And Heather Conley, a Russia expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: “Clearly, this is the sanctions regime already starting to crack and fall apart in anticipation there will be an agreement [on nuclear issues with Iran] on June 30. This is the first major signal that regime is coming to an end.”
On April 17, President Obama downplayed the significance of Russia's deal with Iran. Said Obama: “With respect to the Russian sales, I will tell you this is actually a sale that was slated to happen in 2009, when I first met with then-Prime Minister Putin. They actually stopped the sale, paused or suspended the sale, at our request. And, I’m frankly, surprised that it held this long, given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons. When I say I’m not surprised — given some of the deterioration in the relationship between Russia and the United States, and the fact that their economy’s under strain and this was a substantial sale.”
Netanyahu Furious Over Russian Sale of Anti-Aircraft System to Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily protested Russia's planned sale of the advanced anti-aircraft systems to Iran, and he phoned Vladimir Putin in an effort to persuade him to reconsider, but was rebuffed.
Iran Parades New Weapons Systems, Declares “Death to Israel”
On April 18, 2015, Iran celebrated Army Day with a military parade featuring the display of new weapons systems as well as a massive banner reading “Death to Israel.” Cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were repeated throughout the festivities. During Iran national television's airing of the parade, the announcer stated: “If Israel makes a mistake, those in Tel Aviv and Haifa will not sleep at night, not one person.”
Russian Nuclear-Capable Bombers Intrude on U.S. Airspace
On May 1, 2015, the Washington Free Beaconreported: “Two Russian nuclear-capable bombers intruded into the U.S. air defense zone near Alaska last week [April 22] in the latest saber rattling by Moscow, defense officials said.... But unlike most earlier incursions, no U.S. interceptor jets were dispatched to shadow them, said defense officials familiar with the latest U.S.-Russian aerial encounter.... The incident was the first Russian bomber incursion of a U.S. or Canadian air defense zone this year.” According to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), in 2014 U.S. and Canadian jets intercepted Russian bombers on at least six separate occasions. In addition, intruding Russian long-range aircraft were detected on ten other occasions. The six intercepts included the following encounters:
On April 2, 2014, two U.S. F-22 fighters intercepted two Bear bombers west of Alaska’s coast.
On June 9, 2014, two F-22s intercepted four Bears and one refueling tanker near Alaska. Two of the Bears later flew near the California coast and were intercepted by two F-15s.
Early August 2014: NORAD notes a “spike” Russian aircraft operating in and around the U.S. ADIZ.
On Sept 17, 2014, two F-22s intercepted two Russian IL-78 refueling tankers, two Russian Mig-31 fighter jets and two Bear long-range bombers in the ADIZ west of Alaska. The Russian aircraft flew a loop south, then turned west toward Russia.
On Sept. 18, 2014, two Bears were intercepted and identified by two Canadian CF-18 fighters in the western reaches of the Canadian ADIZ, in the Beaufort Sea.
On Dec. 8, 2014, two CF-18s intercepted two Bears near the Beaufort Sea off Canada’s coast.
Gen. Phillip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. European Command, told a Senate hearing on April 30: “Russia is blatantly challenging the rules and principles that have been the bedrock of European security for decades.... This is global. It’s not regional, and it is enduring, not temporary. Russian aggression is clearly visible in its illegal occupation of Crimea and its continued operations in Eastern Ukraine.... What worries me is Russia as a nation now adopting an approach that says they can and will use military power to change international borders.... That’s what I truly worry about every day.”
Russia-China Alliance Grows
In early May 2015, Chinese President Jinping attended Russia’s World War II memorial in Moscow, where he and Vladimir Putin demonstrated that relations between their respective countries were very good. Moreover, China had pledged to: (a) lend some $25 billion to cash-strapped Russian companies, (b) support a major Russian rail-infrastructure project, and (c) increase its imports of Russian natural gas. Russia, in turn, said it would increase its exports of advanced military equipment to China. "And as a further sign of warmed relations," reportedNational Review, "the two nations will conduct joint exercises in the Mediterranean Sea this week.... The enmity that defined Sino–Russian relations during much of the Cold War has long faded. In its place, an evolving China–Russian alliance is rising against American and international security. This alliance has a profound security component. While only two Chinese warships are joining the Mediterranean exercises, their deployment reflects China’s desire to help Russia counter American power. This emboldened statement of power is very deliberate. After all, with EU states (including the U.K.) gutting their defense capabilities, the U.S. military alone has the capacity to deter Chinese and Russian military power."
Russia Hacks Pentagon Computers
In July 2015, Russia launched what Pentagon officials described as a "sophisticated cyberattack" against the Pentagon's Joint Staff unclassified email system, affecting approximately 4,000 military and civilian personnel employed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It was clearly the work of a state actor," said Pentagon officials. In response to the attack, the email system was shut down and taken offline for almost two weeks.
Russia Bombs Syria, in Defiance of Obama Administration
On September 30, 2015, the Russian parliament voted unanimously to give President Vladimir Putin war-fighting authority in Syria. That same day, Fox News reported that Russia had sent an official to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad to announce that his country would soon (within an hour) begin air strikes on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and to demand the removal of American planes from Syrian airspace. According to CNN, the Russians gave “no geographical information” about where they planned to strike. Breitbart.com characterized this as "a remarkable gesture of contempt, an incredibly reckless and dangerous approach, and possibly an indication that the Russians are planning to blow up some people they think the United States would have warned."
"Russian bombs are already falling on Syria according to some sources, and the first targets reported include a rebel group vetted and supplied by the United States"
"The inventory of aircraft and weapons Russia moved into Syria includes advanced air supremacy fighters and surface-to-air missiles, which would have no conceivable use against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, or any other Syrian rebel group, as none of them have an air force. The planes were slipped into Syria using clever subterfuge designed to defeat satellite surveillance, which is something else no element of the Syrian rebellion has."
Secretary of State John Kerry protested to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that the Russian bombing campaign was not in the spirit of Moscow's promise to agree a "de-confliction" mechanism to ensure that Russian planes would not interfere with American-led operations in Syria.
Though Russia’s Defense Ministry stated that its bombing campaign would target places occupied by ISIS, the initial attacks actually were directed against areas held by groups opposing Assad in Homs and Hama provinces -- not places where ISIS forces were housed.
Clearly, Russia's incursion into Syria was designed to establish a Russian foothold, and Russian dominance, in Syria. According to a report from the Breaking Defense website: "From where NATO’s top commander Gen. Philip Breedlove sits, the Russian forces flowing into Syria don’t look like counter-terrorists out to stop the Islamic State, which Vladimir Putin has said is his highest priority. They look like the first pieces of a layered 'anti-access/area denial' system that could complicate US and allied operations in Syria and well beyond."
Just a week earlier, Kerry had told reporters that Russia's deployment of war planes was consistent with their understandable desire to defend their own existing military base in Syria. And just hours before the Russian strikes began, Kerry told a CNN interviewer that Russia's involvement might provide an "opportunity" to persuade Moscow to pressure Syrian President Assad to moderate his behavior. Then, following the Russian airstrikes, Kerry said that the United States would welcome the Russian action if it reflected a "genuine commitment" to destroy the Islamic State rather than the purportedly moderate, U.S.-backed opposition rebels who were fighting Assad.
On October 1, 2015, the Reuters News Agency reported:
"Russia's decision to join the war with air strikes on behalf of Assad is a major turning point in international involvement in the conflict.
"The United States is leading a separate alliance waging an air war against Islamic State fighters, which means the Cold War superpower foes are now engaged in air combat over the same country for the first time since World War Two.
"They say they have the same Islamic State enemies. But they also have very different friends, and opposing views of how to resolve a 4-year-old civil war that has killed more than 250,000 people and driven more than 10 million from their homes.
"Washington and its allies oppose both Islamic State and Assad, believing he must leave power in any peace settlement. Moscow supports the Syrian president and believes his government should be the centerpiece of international efforts to fight extremist groups."
Russia Builds Long-Range Air Defenses in Syria
On September 30, 2015, the Jerusalem Post reported that "Russia is building advanced, long-range air defenses in its new air base on the Syrian coast, which could disrupt the military activities of the U.S. and its allies in the sector." NATO's top commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, warned that Russia was creating in the eastern Mediterranean a bubble of anti-access/area denial -- or A2/Ad, in Pentagon parlance -- which could be used to keep Western militaries out of the airspace over and near Syria.
In a speech to the German Marshall Fund on September 28, Breedlove warned that anti-access/area denial was "a growing problem." Noting that "we see these very capable air defense [systems] beginning to show up" in Syria, he acknowledged: "We’re a little worried about another A2/AD bubble being created in the Eastern Mediterranean. We see some very sophisticated air defenses going into these airfields. We see some very sophisticated air-to-air [fighter] aircraft going into these airfields.” Breedlove further pointed out that two other such Russian "bubbles" already existed: in Kaliningrad, between Poland and Lithuania, where Russian missiles could reach "well into Polish airspace and could shut down NATO reinforcements," and in the Black Sea, where Russia's occupation of Crimea had resulted in the creation of a "very strong A2/AD capability."
Putin Drafts 150,000 into Russian Army On October 1, 2015, the Daily Mail reported that Vladimir Putin had signed a decree drafting nearly 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military. Said the report: "The timing of the move – on the very day Russia entered the Syrian conflict yesterday – will raise suspicions the Russian President is planning a wider offensive to prop up his Syrian counterpart. It also comes after one of Putin's staunchest allies called on him to send in Muslim ground troops to defeat the Islamic State and other Islamist extremist groups in the war-torn country."
Russian Jets Buzz American Destroyer in Simulated Attack
Two Russian warplanes buzzed a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea in what a defense official called a "simulated attack profile," one of several close encounters between the destroyer and the aircraft this week. The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) was conducting flight operations with a Polish helicopter Monday when two Russian Su-24 attack aircraft approached at an “unsafe” speed and altitude and buzzed the Navy destroyer as the helicopter was taking off from the destroyer’s flight deck, the defense official told Fox News. The Russian jets came within 1,000 yards of the destroyer, flying just 100 feet off the ground, a defense official said. The next day, a Russian jet came within just 30 feet of the destroyer, the defense official said.
The United States and Russia have an agreement that dates back to 1972 that is supposed to prevent this type of behavior, according to the defense official. Turkey shot down a Russian jet of the same type in late-2015 after the aircraft entered Turkish airspace. The defense official tells Fox News the Russian jets conducted 20 passes in the Baltic Sea incident Monday, ignoring repeated radio calls from the Navy destroyer. The U.S. Navy was able to take photographs and video of the incident and plans on releasing the footage soon.
The USS Donald Cook came no closer than 70 nautical miles of Kaliningrad, Russia. The defense official suspects the Russian aircraft flew from Kaliningrad.
This is not the first time this U.S. Navy destroyer has seen Russian planes up close. In April 2014, Russian jets buzzed the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea in a similar provocative fashion.... This latest provocation from the Russian military comes over two months after a similar dangerous incident took place in the Black Sea in late January, when a Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. Air Force spy plane.
The U.S. Air Force has seen more flights of Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers in the past year off the coast of Alaska in recent months. Air Force F-22s remain on alert in Alaska to scramble when these Russian nuclear-capable bombers appear on radar heading near the U.S. coast. Fox News recently showed one such F-22 intercept drill in Alaska during a one-hour special “Fox News Reporting: Rising Threats --Shrinking Military” hosted by Bret Baier. On July 4th, as Americans were celebrating Independence Day, a flight of two Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers was intercepted by U.S. Air Force F-15s 39 miles off the coast of Mendocino, Calif.
Russian Jet Threatens American Aircraft
An April 16, 2016 report by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon said:
A Russian fighter jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft on [April 14] in the latest military provocation by Moscow over the Baltic Sea, the U.S. European Command said Saturday. “On April 14, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez. “This intercept comes shortly after the unsafe Russian encounters with USS Donald Cook,” he added. “There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior.” Hernandez said the U.S. aircraft, a militarized Boeing 707 jet, was operating in international airspace “and at no time crossed into Russian territory.”
“This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved,” he said. “More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries.” According to Hernandez, the Su-27 carried out “erratic and aggressive maneuvers” by approaching the RC-135 at a high rate of speed from the side. The Russian jet “then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135U,” the spokesman said. “More specifically, the SU-27 closed within 50 feet of the wing-tip of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll starting from the left side of the aircraft, going over the top of the aircraft and ended up to the right of the aircraft,” he said. The U.S. government is protesting all the incidents this week to the Russian government through diplomatic channels, he said.
The RC-135U, an electronic intelligence-gathering aircraft, is normally operated by five air crew and up to 16 electronic warfare officers and six or more regional specialists. The dangerous aerial incident came two days after a simulated Russian aerial assault against the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. Washington called the simulated assault a military provocation, and said it nearly caused an international shootout. Two Russian fighter-bombers, identified as Su-24s, made close passes over the Cook, including one jet that came within 30 feet of the warship. A Navy officer said the buzzing was the most reckless flyover of a U.S. warship by either a Russian or Chinese warplane since the Cold War. “I’ve been in a lot of those situations and I’ve never seen any plane come that close,” the officer said. The aerial harassment appears to be part of a Russian military campaign of intimidation against the United States and NATO.
Moscow has adopted hostile military policies toward the United States over U.S. deployment of missile defenses in Europe, which Moscow says threaten its missile forces. The Russians also have been upset by Western sanctions against its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. Strategically, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been seeking to regain control and influence over what Moscow calls the “near abroad”—former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc nations along the periphery of Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe. The policy has led to military aggression against the Republic of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, where Russian troops took over the Crimean peninsula and are continuing to fuel separatist activity in eastern Ukraine. In response, the United States and NATO are bolstering U.S. and allied military forces in Eastern Europe, with a specific emphasis of increasing military forces and troops near the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as in Poland.
The recent Russian military provocations coincide with military activities by Moscow in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which remains a major subject of U.S. monitoring. Russia in the past has threatened to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander short-range missiles in the enclave on the Baltic Coast between Poland and Latvia.... Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic forces analyst who specializes in Russian affairs, said the recent incidents over the Baltic Sea, including the simulated attack of a U.S. warship, are fundamentally different from past Russian provocations. “It is a major escalation of Russian aggressiveness although it fits into a pattern of Russian activity that goes back years,” Schneider said. “The Russian Defense Ministry reaction was blatantly dishonest.” Schneider said the likely U.S. response to these provocations are what former Pentagon official Richard Perle once dubbed “demarche-mellows,” or very weak, pro forma protests. “If so, incidents like this will probably continue to escalate,” Schneider said.
Thursday’s aerial encounter involving the RC-135 was at least the second time this year that Russian jets have conducted a dangerous intercept of a reconnaissance aircraft. On Jan. 25, a Russian Su-27 came within 20 feet of an RC-135 over the Black Sea in what Navy Capt. Daniel Hernandez said was an “unsafe and unprofessional” action. Unlike Thursday’s encounter, the Russian jet in January did not do a barrel roll, but instead made an aggressive, high-speed banking turn away from the intelligence aircraft. The maneuver disturbed the pilot’s control of the RC-135.
The dangerous Su-24 overflight of the Cook on April 12 came a day after two other Russian Su-24s flew over the ship 20 times, including a dangerous pass as an allied helicopter was being refueled, causing a delay in flight operations until the Su-24s left the area. The same day, a Russian Ka-27 Helix helicopter flew around the Cook, which had finished a port visit to Poland and had a Polish helicopter on board.... Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday criticized the Russian military provocation, though he declined to say what steps the United States would take in response. The State Department lodged formal protests with Russia. “We condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down,” Kerry told CNN and the Miami Herald. “People need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas. … We are communicating to the Russians how dangerous this is and our hope is that this will never be repeated,” Kerry said. The Cook is equipped with anti-aircraft defenses including the Close-In Weapons System, an automated air defense gun that can destroy aircraft with 25-millimeter rounds. The weapon was not readied because the ship was operating under the U.S.-Russian agreement not to illuminate each other’s aircraft....
Moscow sought to play down the incident involving the Cook. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the state-run Interfax news agency that the Russian pilots acted within safety guidelines. The incidents violated the bilateral U.S.-Russian agreement designed to prevent incidents at sea. The accord prohibits conducting simulated attacks and also limits the use of automated anti-aircraft guns. Other incidents in recent months included a near collision between a Russian fighter and an RC-135 over the Black Sea on May 30, and on April 7, 2015, a Su-27 flew within 20 feet of an RC-135 over the Baltic Sea. Additionally, last October, two Russian Tu-142 bombers made low passes near the aircraft carrier USS Reagan as it sailed in the Sea of Japan near the Korean peninsula. And on July 4, 2015, two Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers approached within 40 miles of the California coast and radioed a “happy birthday” message to intercepting U.S. pilots. The July 4 provocation occurred the same day President Obama held a telephone call with Putin. Russia also has sent Tu-95 bombers to circle the Pacific island of Guam several times. The island is a major military hub and central to the U.S. military’s pivot to Asia.
Russian Jet Threatens American Air Force Plane
On April 29, 2016, a Russian SU-27 conducted a "barrel roll" over the top of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 which was flying a reconnaissance mission in international airspace above the Baltic Sea. CNN reported: "The Russian SU-27 approached alongside within 25 feet of the U.S. aircraft and then flew inverted over the top of the plane to the other side, Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, a U.S. Army spokesperson, said in a statement. 'The SU-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135,' Baldanza said."
Russia Ignores Warnings, & Bombs U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group
"On [June 17], Defense Secretary Ash Carter called out Russia for bombing a Syrian rebel group that's backed by the U.S. Since last year, American and Russian warplanes have shared the skies over Syria while supporting different sides in the civil war. Moscow backs the Assad dictatorship; the U.S. is arming rebels who've been trying to overthrow it.
"The attack by Russian fighter bombers on American-backed opposition forces appeared to be deliberate and to ignore repeated U.S. warnings. It happened in southern Syria where two Su-34s bombed opposition forces, some of them trained and equipped by the Pentagon as part of the war against ISIS. When the American-run command center which tracks Russian flights realized what had happened, it called the Russian command center in Syria -- on a hotline set up specifically to avoid incidents like this -- demanding the planes cease fire.
"Two American F-18 jet fighters were dispatched to provide air cover for the troops on the ground as they tried to evacuate their casualties. By the time the F-18s arrived, the Russian planes were headed away, but were still close enough to see. But when the F-18s broke away to refuel, the Russians returned for a second bombing run. Another call went out to the Russian command center in Syria, demanding that the planes wave off. The crew of an airborne command post tried to contact the Russian pilots directly but got no response. The Su-34s conducted another bombing run, leaving a small number of opposition fighters dead on the ground."
While NBC and CNN joined the rest of the media in rushing to condemn the Trump White House over an unconfirmed Washington Post report that the President inadvertently shared classified information with Russian officials, guests on both networks provided important context that the Obama administration intentionally shared classified intelligence with Russia less than a year ago.
Appearing on Friday’s NBC Today, security analyst Juan Zarate warned: “The problem is the Russians aren’t trustworthy. The Russians have proven that when we’ve provided information in the past, they’ve used it against us.” He then proceeded to explain how former President Obama gave the Russians classified information just months ago: "Back in the summer of 2016, the Obama administration provided some information to the Russians about some of the things happening on the ground. Guess what happened? The Russians then attacked some of those sites of our allies, our proxies that we were working with. And that’s a problem."
Meanwhile, over on CNN’s New Day, political analyst Jeffrey Lord provided some “perspective” to anchor Chris Cuomo:
Incidentally, notice that the 2014 story was from the same Post reporter, Greg Miller, who wrote Monday's article.
In sharp contrast to the wall-to-wall media coverage of the Trump story, Obama offering to share intel with Russia was greeted with yawns from the press.
Here are excerpts of the May 16 exchanges on NBC and CNN:
MATT LAUER: Can you just clarify something? This concerns an ISIS plot. The Russians are supposed to be our partners in fighting ISIS. So explain why sharing of information with them is so dangerous.
UAN ZARATE: Well, two reasons. First of all, I think the President may think that he’s trying to create some degree of trust, maybe trying to create some cooperation on the ground. That may be in the back of his mind. The problem is the Russians aren’t trustworthy. The Russians have proven that when we’ve provided information in the past, they’ve used it against us.
Back in the summer of 2016, the Obama administration provided some information to the Russians about some of the things happening on the ground. Guess what happened? The Russians then attacked some of those sites of our allies, our proxies that we were working with. And that’s a problem.
And I think part of the challenge here is, how much can we trust the Russians? What you’re seeing here is a deficit of trust, a deficit of discipline, I think, on the part of the President.
New Day 6:34 AM ET
CHRIS CUOMO: All right. This latest self-imposed and perhaps most egregious error by the president is sparking all kinds of questions about competence, was his inability to protect highly classified information with Russian diplomats a sign that he's not up to the job. There's a New York Times op-ed you should read for your self from David Brooks. The headline is this, when the world is led by a child. It says, quote, “From all we know so far, Trump didn't do it,” talking about the classified information, “because he's a Russian agent or from any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires.” Let’s discuss Jeffrey Lord, former commentator and White House official and David from senior editor at the Atlantic. Jeffrey, I'm sure you have a robust defense for why this is a nor his criticism of the president is unwarranted so give it to us.
JEFFERY LORD: Okay. The only thing I would say here, Chris is perspective. Perspective is all. I'm holding two headlines from the Washington Post, one of May 25th, 2014, “White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan.” The Obama administration put the name of the CIA on the press release, exposed him and endangered his life. The second one, June 30, 2016, "U.S. Offers to share Syrian intelligence on terrorist with Russia," which is to say the Obama administration wanted to give their intelligence to the Russians. All I'm saying here is there's perspective. We need to find out the facts and let's have perspective. With all respect to David Brooks he's a never-Trumper. That's fine. But from that perspective, Donald Trump isn't going to do anything David Brooks likes. As I remember famously with David Brooks, he was certain Senator Obama would be a great president because of the crease in his slacks. I mean, with all due respect --
CUOMO: That was a rhetorical flourish from Brooks but let's put that to the side, you've made your point.