Do you remember when Mitt Romney and Barack Obama were going head-to-head in a heated debate about Russia? Romney claimed "Russia" as Americas biggest geopolitical foe which caused Obama to send quite the zinger: "The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years." (watch the exchange here)
Alot has changed since that debate including the Presidents approval rating, which is still hovering around 39%. Russia has annexed Crimea and has also been accused of creating unrest in eastern Ukraine. The United States and NATO have both authorized significant economic sanctions against Russia. Relations between Russia and the United States have gone from lukewarm to cold, to ice-cold.
Most recently, Ukraine and its allies have accused Russia of invading the country and providing weapons to the pro-Kremlin rebels. The rhetoric between Russia and the United States has become increasingly tense. Last month during a pro-Kremlin youth camp, Putin discussed Russia's position in the world and boasted about its nuclear capabilities.
Although Putin claimed Russia is not interested in a "large-scale conflict" he later stated he is interested in "strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces."
Putin also stated foreign states should understand, "It's best not to mess with us." Putin continued: "Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."
Those words do not sound like a leader filled with fear who is on the verge of backing down from The United States and NATO. Rather, the comments sound like an arrogant, cocky leader gearing for a major confrontation (read more here).
On Monday, major news outlets reported that Russia completed a practice of missile cruise strikes against the United States. The report indicates Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers flew near Canada, after crossing the northern Atlantic.
"Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined launch box—an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets," said defense officials familiar with intelligence reports.
This development comes after a Russian general asked Moscow to change its war doctrine to allow for "pre-emptive" nuclear strikes against the United States and NATO. Gen. Yuri Yakubov stated, "Russia's 2010 military doctrine should be revised to identify the United States and the NATO alliance as enemies, and clearly outline the conditions for a preemptive nuclear strike against them."
Both NATO and The United States have completed military exercises in Ukraine and other parts of eastern Europe. NATO has made it very clear they are willing to deploy over 10,000 troops to eastern Ukraine, if needed. Russia has promised retaliation against NATO and its allies if they deploy troops, if Ukraine joins NATO, and if NATO and the United States authorizes additional economic sanctions.
It is clear, at this point, that Russia is merely flexing its muscles in an attempt to show the United States is has no plans of backing down from what it perceives as "American aggression." How will the Obama Administration respond to the Russian provocation?
Maybe he should have listened to Romney back in 2012. Romney did state "I have clear eyes on this. I am not going to wear rose colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin." Obama either needs some Visine or he needs to take off those rose colored glasses he has been wearing.
I hate to say it, but it certainly appears as if the Cold War is back... Let's hope cool heads prevail and diplomacy helps resolves this issue before it escalates beyond control.
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