The Corner

National Security & Defense

It’s Clear Who Enjoyed the ‘Flexibility’ to ‘Reset’ the U.S.-Russian Relationship

Vladimir Putin, of course:

The number of long-range Russian strategic bomber flights that buzzed U.S. airspace doubled last year from their norm, forcing American jets to frequently scramble and capturing the attention of hawks in Congress who believe the Kremlin is sending a veiled warning to President Obama to keep out of its affairs in Ukraine.

Russian bombers intruded into the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone — a transition area around U.S. airspace where the U.S. does not claim sovereignty but keeps close watch — at least 10 times in 2014, double the average of five incursions a year dating to 2006, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD.

While Putin would be difficult to deal with under the best of circumstances (Russia invaded Georgia on George W. Bush’s watch), it’s clear that the “flexibility” exercised in the America/Russia relationship is Russia’s flexibility in its dealings with its near-neighbors and its geopolitical rivals. Putin is consistently testing the limits of his power and influence – using brute force and intimidation to get his way – facilitated of course by the Obama administration’s ongoing ”reset” of America’s military might and its strategic will. 

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