John Helmer: What The USS Donald Cook and Polish Navy Were Doing Off Kaliningrad When They Were Buzzed By the Russian Air Force

Lambert here: Nice to have some detail on this murky incident.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

The confrontation last week between Russian aircraft and a US-Polish naval operation in the Baltic Sea, within shooting distance of Kaliningrad, was a long anticipated and professionally executed exercise by the military commanders of all three countries. “Unprofessional”, as Admiral Mark Ferguson commanding US Naval Forces in Europe called it, was the very least thing it was. But who provoked, who feinted, who attacked first, and who defended are questions the publicity that has followed is meant to obscure.

One outcome that was not anticipated by either the attackers or defenders has begun to materialize in Warsaw. There, the rhetoric of military buildup along Poland’s eastern frontier has run into the cold calculation that Poland’s survival chances aren’t likely to be much better than those of the USS Donald Cook, if there had been a real firefight, Turkish style.

The US destroyer Donald Cook is armed with the Aegis combat system, a combination of missiles intended to attack Russian nuclear, as well as non-nuclear missile batteries on land, sea, and in the air. The ship is normally docked at the NATO base at Rota, Spain. Between April 8 and 11, it was at the Polish port of Gdynia. The US Navy press reported the port call as part of the vessel’s “fourth forward-deployed patrol in support of ballistic missile defense of Europe…Such port visits serve to enhance U.S.-Polish relations as the two nations work together for a stable, secure and prosperous region.”

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The Donald Cook departed from Gdynia on April 11 and sailed northeast to Klaipeda, Lithuania, where it made port on the morning of April 14. There isn’t a ferry between the two ports. Driving on land the long way around the Russian territory of Kaliningrad takes 8 hours. If there were a direct ferry, it would take no more than 6 hours. The US Navy destroyer took more than three days.

In the interval, steaming very slowly, the Donald Cook conducted exercises with SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopter units of the Polish Navy. At a distance of about 70 kilometres offshore from Kaliningrad and the Russian missile, naval and air base complex around Baltysk, the US-Polish operations were shadowed by units of the Russian Navy and Air Force. According to the US Navy version, in the mid-afternoon of April 11 the “Donald Cook was conducting deck landing drills with an Allied military helicopter when two Russian SU-24 jets made numerous, close-range and low altitude passes”.

After suspending the Polish helicopter landings for a time, the operation reportedly resumed. The next day, April 12, the US Navy says “a Russian KA-27 Helix helicopter conducted circles at low altitude around the ship, seven in total, at approximately 5 p.m. local. The helicopter passes were also deemed unsafe and unprofessional by the ship’s commanding officer. About 40 minutes following the interaction with the Russian helicopter, two Russian SU-24 jets made numerous close-range and low altitude passes, 11 in total. The Russian aircraft flew in a simulated attack profile and failed to respond to repeated safety advisories in both English and Russian.”

The last pass was videotaped on board, and the images published to the world by the Pentagon (lead image). By ignoring two days of more than 20 Russian aircraft sorties around the Donald Cook, it has been made to appear the two Su-24s were simulating a strafing attack. Subsequently, Secretary of State John Kerry announced: “It’s unprofessional and under the rules of engagement that could have been a shot down, so people need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated in high seas. We respect our freedom of navigation … and we are communicating to the Russians how dangerous this is.”

What actually had happened has been more precisely reported in the Polish press. There it has been revealed that the Russian aircraft were not armed with ordnance, but with electronic countermeasures pods designed for jamming hostile gunnery and missile targeting systems. If the commanders and their signals staff on board the Donald Cook were not themselves confused or jammed, they knew that the final two passes, after the nine earlier ones that afternoon, was anything but an attack simulation.

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Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36050689

The Polish state radio also reported the Ministry of Defence in Warsaw as claiming the joint US-Polish operation “will be practising take-offs and landings from the deck of the ship.” This, Polish defence reports say, was false. According to the Polish sources, the 20-year old helicopters have performed several thousand landings and takeoffs on Polish vessels at sea. The Polish state media have also reported that after the suspension of the April 11 operation, the buzzing the next day put a stop to the operation altogether. If true, the Su-24 “attack” achieved its purpose.

But what was the US and Polish purpose, and why were so many warnings issued by the Russian side, and ignored by the US and Polish commanders?

It was almost exactly two years ago that the USS Donald Cook was buzzed by a pair of Su-24s in the Black Sea. On that occasion the Russian aircraft made their passes at a slightly higher altitude. They too were equipped with electronic signal jammers. The operations were reported by the Russian side at the time as defensive of shore installations on Crimea and the mainland. In the Russian interpretation, each of the Donald Cook’s “forward deployed patrols” is an operation aimed at Russian naval and shore defences, and at Russia’s long-range nuclear missile deployments which are targeted at western Europe and the US. These include the mobile S-400s, nuclear armed, which have been reported to be moving in and out of Kaliningrad. As analysed here, “nothing an Aegis-armed missile battery does within range of Russia can be routine at any time.”

As a forward deployment of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system, the Donald Cook’s port-call in Poland, and its subsequent cruise across the Baltic to Lithuania, make, for the Russian side, a US violation of Article XIV of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 2010. For the treaty wording, click to open. For an early assessment by the US Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of how the two sides regard the US Navy’s Aegis deployments in the Black and Baltic Seas, read this. For a summary of Russian military interpretations of the Aegis deployments, before the start of the US campaigns on the Ukraine and Syrian fronts, read this.

The first three of the Donald Cook’s “patrols” were in the Black Sea. Last week, the Donald Cook was making its first foray against Russian targets under the Baltic Sea and onshore.

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Source: http://www.osw.waw.pl/sites/default/files/prace_41_en_0.pdf

By the time the Donald Cook docked at Klaipeda, its captain, Commander Charles Hampton, had cleared with the Pentagon this statement: “The objection of the United States is not about fear but about safe and professional behaviour between international militaries in international airspace and international waters. The US Navy will continue to operate forward with allies and in doing so we will not cede space. As you have seen in the media, the flybys were very low, very fast – and were inconsistent with the normal operations of international militaries in international waters and in international airspace.”

The press did not ask Hampton to clarify what his vessel and the Polish units had been doing “operating forward”, and how their operation was “consistent with the normal operations of international militaries.”

The Polish state media and Polish political and military sources have answered some of these questions. In this report Polish Radio counted the number of Russian sorties flown over the Cook on April 11-12. The radio also reported that “because of the actions of the Russians” the Polish helicopter operation had been “cancelled”. In other Polish media, the Defence Ministry cover story for the operation was exposed. The four Polish Navy helicopters have so far practised a total of 3,600 landings and takeoffs on and from Polish Navy craft over the past decade.

Onboard US Navy photographs of the Polish Seasprite reveals it was operating a special piece of equipment. As the photographs below indicate, this is a device which can be dropped by the helicopter into the water and towed.

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Seasprite helicopter of Polish Navy lands on deck of USS Cook on April 11; right, close-up of anti-submarine detection device

Its technical name is a towed magnetic anomaly detector. Combined with onboard radars, sea buoys and other devices, this equipment is designed for tracking and attacking submarines. For more on the operations plans of the Polish aircraft, read this.

What this suggests is that the Polish operation was aimed at Russian submarines below the Baltic surface, while the Donald Cook was testing operations against the Russian shore systems which defend against the US Aegis missiles.

A bulletin from the British think-tank Chatham House in London confirms that the US-Polish operation appeared to the Russian side as an attack simulation against Kaliningrad — and for that reason triggered the Russian response. “The videos and statements released by the US Navy give only a partial picture. The close fly-bys seen on video do not seem consistent with the ‘simulated attack profile’ which the US described the Russian aircraft as flying – but it has to be remembered that much of the Russian bombers’ activities would have been observed while the Donald Cook was tracking them long before they came into visual range. Other crucial aspects of the incident which remain undisclosed include what was happening in the electronic environment; what indication the Russian aircraft’s emissions, or lack of them, may have given of their actual intent. In particular, a lack of information on what other activities were taking place in the area at the time makes it hard to judge the picture as seen from Moscow – whether some kind of US or NATO activity there, either on or below the surface of the Baltic, was seen as a particular challenge by Russia which required a strong warning signal to be sent. Some Russian statements have tied this act of dangerous non-verbal communication to the fact that the Donald Cook was conducting training with a Polish aircraft within reach of Russia’s Kaliningrad Region.”

unnamedPolish analysts have gone further, pointing out that if the joint drill was part of a plan of attack against Russian targets, then Poland itself, like Ukraine, has become a “front-line state”. Polish political analyst Stanislas Balcerac (right) has commented skeptically: “Let’s see how much these are worth in practice, our alliances [with the US and with Germany]. And let’s not be afraid to take care of our rights and for adequate compensation. The Polish Navy is practising for a US attack on Kaliningrad by guarding the destroyers like the Donald Cook from Russian submarine interception, so “we have been caught provoking the Russians right at our very border. And since we have officially taken part in the surprise NATO military manoeuvre at armed-to-the-teeth Kaliningrad, and that has visibly upset the Russians, we should demand from our American allies compensation for the status of a front-line state, just like Egypt and Israel, which collect $3 billion in aid every year.”

According to Balcerac, the April 11-12 events surrounding the Donald Cook at sea last week have sharpened the policy conflicts between factions in the Polish government, presidency and General Staff. Some favour more reticence with Moscow, less reliance on security promises from the US and NATO. Others favour more confrontation with the Russians in order to attract greater US and NATO funding for the Polish budget.

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Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski (above), one of the Polish confrontationists, claimed the deployment of NATO forces in the region should not be considered as a provocation against Moscow, but rather “a decisive military measure aimed at deterring potential aggressors. Showing weakness is often seen as an incentive for aggression.”

At the time of the incidents at sea, the Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz (below, left) was at NATO headquarters in Brussels meeting with the NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg (right), and US General Philip Breedlove, commander of NATO forces in Europe.

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According to the Warsaw communique, Macierewicz “thanked General Breedlove during talks for taking the Polish point of view into account when planning the deployment of armed forces on the eastern flank, indicating at the same time, that without the presence of international NATO troops, defense would not be effective. General Breedlove expressed his appreciation for Poland’s involvement in work on the development of a plan to strengthen the eastern flank.”

The minister and the ministry have remained silent on the Donald Cook operation. So the ministry spokesman in Warsaw was asked three questions:

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There has been no reply from Warsaw.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

80 comments

  1. Bill Smith

    The article has problems.

    “The US destroyer Donald Cook is armed with the Aegis combat system, a combination of missiles intended to attack Russian nuclear, as well as non-nuclear missile batteries on land, sea, and in the air.”
    The Aegis’s system Standard Missiles has very limited capability to attack missile batteries.

    “The four Polish Navy helicopters have so far practised a total of 3,600 landings and takeoffs on and from Polish Navy craft over the past decade.”

    Helicopter TOL’s that were practiced 10 years ago don’t help new pilots. But it is possible that it was ASW operations that were being practiced? However just because the helicopter was carrying such a device doesn’t mean it was doing that.

    How far from Poland or even Lithuania was the Cook while it was also 70 kilometers from Kaliningrad?

    1. par4

      Do you prefer being vaporized in the initial nuclear explosions or to linger and die from exposure, starvation and radiation poisoning?

    2. Cry Shop

      Interesting if baffling logic, Bill. Leaves me wondering:

      Nuclear tipped Tomahawk missiles have limited capability?
      Did the Polish Navy get rid of their navy’s craft capable of landing/launching helicopters? If so, then did they have the same past habit of running attack exercises without US participation in the same area off Kaliningrad?
      Since when did helicopter operators start wasting fuel and limiting their range when flying over water by loading heavy, wind resistance inducing yet unnecessary and unused equipment?
      How far from Cuban soil were the R-14 short range nuclear missiles based in Cuba in 1962?

      1. Bill Smith

        I see nothing about nuclear tipped Tomahawk missiles in the article. I think the first President Bush removed nuclear weapons from all Navy surface ships, leaving them only the subs.

        The Cook does carry conventionally armed Tomahawks but the author doesn’t mentioned that instead talking about Standard Missiles attacking land based missile batteries. Part of the reason I said the article has problems.

        Wiki says the last nuclear tipped Tomahawk where retired between 2010 and 2013.

        “Since when did helicopter operators start wasting fuel and limiting their range when flying over water by loading heavy, wind resistance inducing yet unnecessary and unused equipment.”

        All the time, as you want to practice TOL’s with heavy, wind resistance stuff if that’s what you would actually be carrying. (Assuming that is what they were really doing.)

        And if they were practicing ASW with the Poles, so?

        1. jsn

          I suspect this is about US Navy checking improvements in Aegis against Russian jamming tech. With all the BS on both sides it’s hard to guess on info provided who learned what. That “exercise” stopped abruptly suggests someone figured something out and the “tell” of stopping was a message, either real or BS.

          1. susan the other

            makes sense; remember too that Russian ships in the Caspian supposedly had jamming capabilities… do we also jam Russia’s electronics?

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            LOL I am just imagining the reaction if the Russians were doing similar blatant provocations immediately offshore Boston or San Diego.
            Let’s not lose sight of who the aggressor is here. There is one country that is spoiling for WW III and it ain’t Russia.

            1. Z54

              That’s right, the US is a couple thousand miles away, this is right in Russia’s backyard! So who would you declare the aggressor?

        2. Will

          “the eastern flank”
          So this phrase sounds German-WWII era…don’t you think.
          And also…like Turkey, the Pol’s make money by keeping things on the brink.
          And also…the history of the Polish “middle-man” is rife with keeping things on the brink.
          And also…screw the small things-the bigger picture is ‘Who Gains From an Ability To Take out Russian ” Mutual assured destruction” safety mechanism. We have been under the doctrine of “Pre-emptive Strike” for years now…I do believe the Russians know this. If you don’t think this is a real possibility then pardon me kind sir but you are not thinking about it at all.
          I could go on with a historical list BUT I would hope that all readers would, as you should look at history…not TV. The Cultural Marxist here in the U.S. have spent BILLIONS dumbing down the population for another ‘Pearl-H’ event to happen. WOW this is crazy explaining something that is IN YOUR FACE happening. Screw the choppers/aircraft ships etc…its the making of WWIII period point end. All things are connected to this endever…social unrest…poverty…theft from the “rich” [actually middle class by the filthy rich]…and on and on.
          Please Read everything and get back with me.

    3. timbers

      Bill,

      The many actions of US aggression towards Russia is distressing and going unreported and/or twisted by Western media as Russian aggression.

      Look at the big picture – Why are we even positioning offensive weapons at Russia so close to them in the Baltic? What’s the point except totally unproved aggression?

      And it seems the US can’t get along with anyone on the Planet – look at our confrontations with China in the South China Sea.

      ICH has a disturbing article by John Pilger here (welcome back ICH):

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44496.htm

      Why is Obama reportedly spending 1 trillion to build nuclear arms “we can actually use” if not total aggression directed at Russia?

      How many schools roads bridges un-replaced lead pipes and lack of medical access pensions retirement resources will Americans have to endure to finance this war of aggression at Russia?

      The Saker recently said Russia is re-building it’s “large” land based army/command structure as it has sadly concluded the US/NATO does indeed pose a military threat. Russia is rebuilding the vast army it had in times of Hitler, to repel a large scale US/NATO attack. Currently Russia has small divisions designed for quick local operations such as in the South.

      This benefits no one except those who profit from war and US war spending – like some who support Hillary and GOP candidates.

      Very sad this is happening and most in the US have not idea what is going on.

      1. JTMcPhee

        But it feeds the feedback loop that has all of us chained to a Juggernaut driven by idiots with idiotic Dogmas tattooed on their foreheads, has us handing up platters of the juiciest sweetmeats for their delectation and gluttony as they direct us toward that K-T-quality moment that the Doomsday Clock Setters sense, very reasonably to my mind, is only moments away now.

        “US presses on with ‘tactical nukes’ despite outcry,” http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/221064-us-presses-on-with-tactical-nukes-despite-outcry

        Any more, as all this goes on out of control of ordinary people and either out of sight or with applause as a result of the idiotic substance and content of the Narrative that grows out of manufactured consent and what sure looks to me like a sub silentio death wish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_the_Planet_of_the_Apes

        Sure does not seem to me that there are any elements in the mix that are in any position, or in any way inclined, to rein in the stupidity before “something happens…” Because there is Money to be made here! and career opportunities! and promotions! and a better office, further out maybe even in E Ring! And maybe even VICTORY finally over those Godless Commies who are polluting our precious bodily fluids! All of which stimulates and catalyzes and empowers the analogous a$$holes with all the medals, over there on The Enemy’s Side! It’s like “The Butter Battle Book,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Butter_Battle_Book, is suddenly the Single Integrated Operational Plan, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Integrated_Operational_Plan, by some infantile eructation or nocturnal emission…

        Fokking stupid humans.

    4. Praedor

      The Aegis Missile system is both anti-aircraft and ABM. They are modified to be able to (or at least intended to) act as a mobile, maritime ABM system. They cannot attack ground targets but they CAN go after missiles in flight. Minor technical goof in the writing, not a complete error.

    5. Carolinian

      From the story’s linked Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article.

      Gerasimov and Ilyin’s briefings showed that shooters in Poland and off the Baltic coast could catch Russian missiles headed toward the US.

      Your nitpick assumes that the Cook only carries missiles that can intercept anti-ship missiles while ignoring the main point that the US is deploying an anti-missile ship a few miles off the Russian coast. Needless to say should the Russians start conducting surface maneuvers off of Cape Cod Obama would be declaring a new Cuban missile crisis. The “nothing to see here” defense of Pentagon and NATO provocations only works if you are willing to assume a good guys/bad guys frame where anything we do is automatically innocent. History provides little support for such a weak assertion.

      1. Hespeler1

        Well said. The insidious meme that any military deployment by US/NATO forces is “normal”, routine, in the best interests of everyone everywhere, etc. etc., seems to be accepted in the West unthinkingly. The reversal you described would freak out Americans. I’d love to see it, maybe not as much as CNN would…..

      2. Jason

        Bill Smith isn’t “nitpicking” when he points out that John Helmer’s post exaggerates or misunderstands the capabilities of Aegis and its associated weaponry. (Chiefly Standard missiles.) When reporting is inaccurate on a topic I do know something about, it makes me wonder if the rest of it, on topics where I’m not as well informed, is equally questionable.

        Just because what the US government does is usually questionable, idiotic, or corrupt doesn’t mean that all criticism of it is automatically valid. And the comparison of Cape Cod to the Baltic is rather lacking. The Baltic is an international waterway, bordered by by Russia and by nations that (right or wrong) are more than a little nervous about Russia’s intentions, and with whom the US has existing military treaties. A better comparison might be the Russian Navy holding exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean.

        Rejecting reasoned criticism out of hand doesn’t really help.

        1. nowhere

          It’s a ratcheting up of tensions. Last time I checked, Poland has plenty of Baltic sea coast that isn’t outside a major port of the Russian Navy’s Baltic Fleet.

          Maybe a more apt scenario would be the Russian’s running anti-submarine exercises off the shores of Bangor and Kings Bay.

        2. optimader

          By virtue of coastline, Russia hardly has propriety over the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Finland). IIRC theirs is the second smallest

          1. Sokratis

            I think the matter is proximity. Territorial waters are just 12 miles away from coast. What would have happened if a russian warship plaid games 12 miles of US coast?

    6. Pespi

      Aegis near missile battery could be interpreted as positioning the ship to shoot down the missiles. If what we’re alluding to is some initial nuclear exchange, then it’s aggressive. A phrase of clarification would have been fine, but the meaning of the post doesn’t change. This is a not very substantive derail.

  2. EricT

    I’ve seen quite a few articles over the past year in regards to NATO movements and exercises around Russia. I recall an article within the last few months talking about storing NATO tanks in caves in Finland. Not to mention all the activity surrounding the Ukraine. My guess is that the US is preparing for a proxy war when Hillary becomes president. In the lead up to the Iraq war as early as 1998, there were articles discussing the threat a WMD armed Sadam Hussein would be for the US. Or that funding for the Guantanamo Bay prison was signed into law by Bill Clinton prior to its use by W. They are always preparing us for the next scam.

    1. Jason

      You’ve got to admit that in the event of another financial crisis or other government meltdown, a “real” big war could provide an admirable distraction for the public.

      “Spend trillions and invade countries or the terrorists will get you!” is sort-of running out of steam. Everyone is annoyed by the TSA, and no one (except those getting funding) actually likes Domestic Security Theater. Worse, the government can’t actually stop terrorism, and the foreign interventions are pretty clearly creating even more terrorists.

      So it’s back to “spend trillions or the Russians will nuke us all!”

    2. abynormal

      gotta luv the money trails Poland’s GDP has been growing. http://countryeconomy.com/gdp/poland …grew 3.6% in 2015 compared to last year . This rate is 3-tenths of one percent higher than the figure of 3.3% published in 2014.

      April 12, 2016 http://www.focus-economics.com/countries/poland
      Poland’s economy picked up pace in the fourth quarter of 2015, supported by a healthy labor market and solid investment growth. Despite ongoing political uncertainties, economic data remains solid at the outset of the year: industrial production accelerated in February and the manufacturing PMI picked up in March. Meanwhile, the government remains embroiled in a conflict with the constitutional court which is undermining its democratic credibility. The conflict is centered on a piece of legislation passed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party that would consolidate power and boost the government’s influence over court rulings. The overhaul was ruled unconstitutional by the country’s top court, however, the government has refused to honor the ruling. In April, the EU commission responsible for rule of law sided with the court and urged a speedy resolution to the conflict.

      http://www.nytimes.com/1981/07/29/world/us-gives-poland-a-50-million-loan-to-buy-corn.html

  3. DJG

    Whatever weapons systems were in use, this maneuver is strategically inept, if not worse. Do the Poles expect to win in a confrontation with Russia? They haven’t in, ohhhh, 250 years. Most of Poland is one big flat invasion route. Likewise, the Lithuanians, who haven’t won a war against anyone in 700 years.

    Slouching toward a shooting war. Because the U.S. isn’t involved in enough wars in Asia and North Africa right now.

    1. Bill Smith

      The Poles hope, that in the unlikely event of an attack by the Russians they can hold them off long enough for NATO to come to their help.

      Same for Lithuania, but less likely that they would last long enough.

      Don’t know if that would work or not but that is their hope.

    2. craazyboy

      These places are all too broke to have a war. Maybe Poland will in increase defense spending on their Calvary and the rest of eastern Europe will scrap together enough to buy one F-35 a piece so they can have a NATO air force. (and airshows) . But Russia is gonna be totally destitute as well with $40 oil. Besides, does eastern Europe really think Russia wants them back? They are bigger basket cases than Greece.

      None of these places can afford much more than soccer matches!

      1. Gio Bruno

        These places are all too broke to have a war

        So is North America; they just won’t admit it.

      2. optimader

        But Russia is gonna be totally destitute as well with $40 oil.

        This is the ultimate absurdity of it all. The Russian economy remains almost entirely based on resource extraction.
        The Cold War was a preposterous miscalculation. The notion was sold that the Soviet Union was a sustainable force to be reckoned with when in reality, beyond the lopsided economic investment in a military façade that sucked them dry, they were challenged produce and distribute basic consumer goods and agricultural products in their own Empire, let alone administering the rest of the World and Soviet colonies! It was a bif scam that served the Soviet elite and the MIC in this country.

      3. clinical wasteman

        Please consider no nits picked, Craazyboy, as we applaud the perfection of:

        “…increase defense spending on their Calvary”.

        Full-spectrum summation whether intentional or not.

  4. ambrit

    Kaliningrad is a major Russian, (almost typed Soviet,) asset on the Baltic. Not only does it contain a large Russian naval port facility, but also, as mentioned, lots of s-400 potentially nuclear tipped missles, all within very close range of former East Bloc satellite nations. We promised the Russians as part of the breaking up of the old Soviet Union that we would not expand NATO into the Warsaw Pact countries. Teaming up with Poland, one of those old Warsaw Pact nations, is a direct insult to all of the ‘Hard Line’ Russian patriots. (This lesson is clear; America will treat all of its’ treaties as we did those we made with the American Indians; i.e. use said treaties as toilet paper.) One problem with that being that the American Indians did not possess atomic weapons. The Russians do posses atomic weapons.
    Running ‘suspicious’ naval exercises so close to another nations forward asset is a sign of incipient ‘adventurism.’ This sort of ‘exercise looks like the beginning of a ‘regime change’ program, similar to Ukraine and Syria, eh? (Do we see the Sixth Fleet running ASW exercises just off of Tartus [on the Syrian coast,] for example, now that the Russians have demonstrated their resolve re Syria?)
    Finally, the Russian response can be read as a non verbal way of saying; “Do not tease the Bears.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Ambrit may have been thinking about this other Soviet Russian missile system, the RS-26:

        The RS-26 Rubezh Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is currently under development in Russia. It is being developed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. It is believed that development commenced in 2008. Flight tests began in 2012 and missile demonstrated a range of 5 800 km. Development was planned to be completed in 2014. It was planned that the first RS-26 regiment will become operational in 2015.

        This missile is intended to suppress missile defense systems in Europe. It is also intended to supplement the Russian ballistic missile fleet as a more mobile weapon system with shorter range.

        It is claimed that the RS-26 is based on the Yars. Officially the RS-26 is an intercontinental ballistic missiles. However it has a different weight class and is smaller than current Russian Topol-M and Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles. In terms of dimensions it is similar to the new Russian submarine-launched Bulava.

        Although the RS-26 is legally an ICBM, it may be that the demonstrated range of 5 800 km is close to the maximum range of the missile. It is worth noting that missile demonstrated this range with a single warhead. It is possible that it may not demonstrate ICBM range with multiple warheads. In this case this missile falls into the class of Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs). It is worth noting that medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles with a range of up to 5 500 km are banned by INF Treaty. So the Russians found a way to field an intermediate-range ballistic missile and to fill the gap that was once covered by the RSD-10 Pioner (SS-20 Saber) IRBMs. Also since 2007 Russia declares that the INF Treaty no longer serves its interests. In 2012 United States accused Russia of violating the treaty by covertly developing new ballistic missiles.

        As of 2014 the RS-26 missile has not been seen in public yet. It is estimated that the missile is about 12 m long and has a launch weight of 36 t. It is propelled by solid fuel. Currently it is unknown if this missile carries a single warhead or Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs). Both configurations were tested in 2013. It is claimed that Rubezh is more accurate than current ballistic missiles. Also it is claimed that this missile is capable of penetrating even the most sophisticated missile defenses.

        It is likely that the new missile will be carried and launched from a TEL, based on the Belarusian MZKT-27291 special wheeled chassis. This vehicle has 6 axles. It has some degree of cross-country mobility. It is broadly similar in design to the MAZ-547 which was used as a TEL for the RSD-10 Pioner missile.

        Road-mobile missiles are more survivable. These are harder to detect and hit. Once on high alert vehicles with RS-26 missiles can leave their bases and operate in remote forest area. The mobile launcher has autonomy on roads in excess of 500 km. It allows the vehicle to operate undetected in an area equivalent to a small European country. So these missiles are more likely to survive the first strike. http://www.military-today.com/missiles/rs26_rubezh.htm

        Russians, unencumbered by the Pecksniffian idiots that churn away generating all that paper and Great Thoughts and Grand Strategies and Doctrines and Dogmas in the US Imperial system, and its post-trans-supranational, patently without-national-loyalty, market-force “contractors.” Even ordinary GIs know that Russians make sh!t that WORKS, is durable, easily repairable in the field, everything that the “exemplary exotic” Imperial military stuff tends not to be so very much at all…

        Good thing that it appears that Russian rulers are not invested in Dominion over the whole planet… Despite what our local square-jawed squinty-eyed thin-lipped Great Gamers would have the rest of us believe, we who generate the wealth and welfare that makes ordinary life even as fadingly tolerable as it is…

        1. Gio Bruno

          Even ordinary GIs know that Russians make sh!t that WORKS, is durable, easily repairable in the field, everything that the “exemplary exotic” Imperial military stuff tends not to be so very much at all…

          That is what the SU 24 “fly-by” meant to the USS Cook.

    1. Olaf Lukk

      Who “promised the Russians as part of the breaking up of the old Soviet Union that we would not expand NATO into the Warsaw Pact countries”?
      NATO was formed in 1948 as a response to the Soviet refusal to withdraw from Eastern Europe after WW2. The Soviets responded by forming the Warsaw Pact- cynically including those occupied nations: Hungary, Czechoslavakia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and (East) Germany.
      When the Soviet “union” collapsed in 1991, all of these nations, plus the illegally occupied and annexed Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, reclaimed their sovereignty. In subsequent years, they all made a point of becoming members of the European Union and NATO- to make sure that the next Russian leader who considered Eastern Europe Russia’s “sphere of influence” would be disabused of that notion. In classic “blame the victim” logic, Russia now calls NATO the aggressor.
      As for that “promise” to not expand NATO- did the former members of the Warsaw Pact give the US government the right to deal away their future diplomatic options? Did someone dig up Molotov and Ribbentrop? In reality, there was never any such “agreement”. In any case, how do you make an agreement with a political entity- the USSR- which no longer exists?
      American neocons are certainly guilty of over-reach; the Middle East being the latest example. Even so, maybe Mr. Helmer should consider that fifty years of Russian occupation lead Eastern Europe to regard Russia as the bigger threat.
      Just ask the Ukrainians.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Yeah,ask the Ukranians all right, about Victoria Nuland and thatBiden kid and whodunit in the destabilization market. And was it only the Narrative that for a time led most of us to understand that our pols and generals told the Russian pols and generals that we were done taking bites out of the Russian flanks and not presently interested in dismembering and neoliberalizing that whole former Soviet landmass? This arrangement, which you and others would give the Kissinger “no longer operative” treatment to? http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/09/how-america-double-crossed-russia-and-shamed-the-west.html

      2. Jan

        Most of your spiel is either totally wrong or distorted.

        You should go back to learn historical facts before you pollute this space with your garbage.
        Romania, Bulgaria was never occupied by USSR, etc., etc. ……….I will not waste any more time and space on specifics.

        You must spend a lot of time on educating yourself if you do not want to stay as ignorant as you currently are. you can start with this excellent article: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/09/how-america-double-crossed-russia-and-shamed-the-west.html

  5. Cry Shop

    USN has never confirmed removal of weapons from stock. Even the memo claiming they would be (not have been) removed from stock was “leaked” then promptly with drawn from the relevant DOD website. This would not be the first bit of slight of hand/fiction to reduced domestic political pressure on allies generated by port calls by “potentially” nuclear armed vessels in Europe and Japan.
    Further, the USN as policy still will not declare if any ships or attack submarines are nuclear weapons free, hence it has not even reached the stage of allowing inspections for compliance. Only an incompetent leader would assume that nuclear weapons are not present without confirmation. BTW, Reagan swiped the Russian proverb Trust but Verify, without even stopping to think that first one has to earn trust, a concept completely beyond the man, and it seems beyond many of my fellow nationals. Should you be trusted, Bill? I don’t want your trust, Bill.
    Nuclear Cruise Missiles are tactical weapons,and US/NATO strategy is still based on first strike use of nuclear tactical weapons. As the strategy is still active, there is no reason to doubt the weapons developed to make it so are also still present.(as you like low quality Wiki references, here’s one for you, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_first_use See if you can find the better ones yourself first)

    Naturally the article isn’t perfect, but thanks to your efforts it keeps looks better and better in comparison. Again, your logic has some problems, Bill. You seem to grasp at one seeming weak point, but without doing your homework and fail. Now then I’m still curious. How’s that thinking coming around on Cuba? Planning to go flying any helicopters over water with unnecessary payloads? Been bearding the Russian bear in his den while flying in the Polish Navy?

    1. Cry Shop

      Seems Bill deleted his reply comment while I was drafting my rebuttal. I guess that’s the nature of the beast with semi-dynamic webz.

  6. JTMcPhee

    Do a search on “Aegis system offensive,” Bill, and all kinds of interesting stuff turns up, a little peek into the idiot mind of the Imperial Military Establishment. Little articles like this one, ” Navy Finding Offensive Uses For Defensive Systems to Support Distributed Lethality,” https://news.usni.org/2015/12/01/navy-finding-offensive-uses-for-defensive-systems-to-support-distributed-lethality

    Oh, each little increment of “distributed lethality” has a precise and demanding chain of psuedo-logic behind it, based on premises that a sane person, examining them with some notion of survival of the species, would add to the list of other terminal and still operational insanities, 20,000 nukes still targeted with billions more for new and “easier to consider using because TACTICAL label attached” nuclear devices of all shapes and sizes. Not counting Terminator-class weaponry, targeted bio weapons based on the DNA signature of specific individuals, on and on and on…

    Show how “tough” they are, our war-gamer battle space managers and in-place new-cons, by pushing and threatening and encircling and funding Color Revolutions and all that — yeah, that’s the way to do it! Like picking fights with asymmetric enemies that keep defeating the Biggest Baddest Military Madhine In The World…

    The Great Gamer mind set mentality idiocy that is all Spy-v-Spy is going to get all us mopes who fund and man and now “woman” this enormous suicide pact, thinking they are heading toward permanent hegemony whatever that is “worth,” going to get us all killed and under the notion of collective guilt, I guess we deserve it. Too bad we, via our ruling idiots, will be taking so many “antidotes” with us…

  7. LarryB

    What would the US response be to a similar exercise conducted by the Russians in the Gulf of Mexico?

    1. Alex morfesis

      The usa should invite the russian navy and air force to do an annual good will tour…bring vessels into ports and do air shows over usa…

      No one has the forward capacity (nor political support) on either side to even handle goat shagging camel jockeys so this pedestrian notion either side is much of a real time military threat today is sad…

      Not that I dont like the article…it’s great…

      The only thing one side can do to the other is blindside them…but for what purpose??

      No side could find enough money to create a credible threat so most expenditures are just pork barrel bux that need to be explained by beer muscle events like kalini…

      1. Cry Shop

        Exactly, this is about money even if is a difference in the size of the purses.

        However we must never forget we have idiots, particularly in officer corp. of the USN, who are gun happy, full of themselves with zero empathy, and often enough negligent in the extreme.

        The USN had several loose cannons nearly start a nuclear war, possibly the stupidest one that leaked out (there are probably worse they dare not divulge) was the attempt by several captains of a 14 vessel US Navy flotilla to violently force to the surface (without attempting any direct communications) a USSR submarine equipped with nuclear torpedo. The submarine had been isolated running underwater and had no idea if WWIII had already started when attacked (during the Cuban Missile Crisis). Sagan’s The Limits of Safety is enough to scare anyone sane into seeing how serious this all can be. At these ranges and time frames, there is no chance to second guess. There won’t be a chance for another Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov to save humanity from it’s best and brightest.

        1. Knute Rife

          However we must never forget we have idiots, particularly in officer corp. of the USN, who are gun happy, full of themselves with zero empathy, and often enough negligent in the extreme.

          These are the successors to the geniuses who built a 300-ship navy with no logistical support capacity. Troop and cargo ships aren’t sexy.

      2. Cry Shop

        Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. — Isoroku Yamamoto

        I appreciate your comment, and I want to add this further reply. Even if we had a man of Yamamoto’s quality, his advise apparently had zero luck stopping a system heading for disaster. Too many officer promotions to be made from even a badly fought war. There are 21 US generals engaged in Iraq now. The boys in Nato won’t see war with Russia as a potential nuclear holocaust, but as if the sky were raining stars and bars.

        1. polecat

          Everyone who hasn’t read Pat Frank’s ‘Alas, Babylon’….should !!

          I know it’s dated, but the story is relevant just the same…..

          nobody ‘wins’ with this kind of hubristic nuclear shield thumping……

  8. Cry Shop

    And if they were practicing ASW with the Poles, so?

    It’s now apparent, Bill is a fundamentalist believer in the US State Religion, American Exceptionalism. If we see a William doing a rape, he sees it as an act of tender love making. When we see a William murder nuns in Nicaragua, he sees it as saving their souls. Religious fever of this depth is inhuman, he can’t be reasoned with because the basic requirement, empathy, is completely lacking.

    1. OIFVet

      We have to destroy this village in order to save it. That’s my favorite expression of American Exceptionalism…

      1. polecat

        Why destroy the village…when we essentially have village idiots for world leaders, all wanting to press….the….big….red….button !

        1. OIFVet

          Respectfully, I think the comparison is insulting…to village idiots everywhere LOL. Kidding aside, you are not far off the mark. Particularly when it comes to the leaders of the coalition forces of freedumb, democracy, and shirtfronting performance theater.

  9. steelhead23

    If we assume that the U.S. military is not stupid, we must conclude that this provocation was purposeful. What was the purpose? I assume the purpose was military – how would Russia respond – and in particular, what countermeasures might they employ. The U.S. military is highly dependent on electronic gadgetry and the apparent spoofing of a sophisticated drone to the point that it was successfully landed in Iran shows that those systems are susceptible to being spoofed. I strongly suspect this provocation was intended to see what countermeasure tools the Russians may have that would affect U.S. systems. We will likely never know if it achieved its goal.

    1. oho

      “What was the purpose? I assume the purpose was military – how would Russia respond ”

      likely just because—to boastfully swing the US’s big stick around the Baltics—as the US already has a good sense of what kind of radar/electronics, tactics the Russians use.

      knock on plywood, this incident is standard cold war brinksmanship/idiocy* that’ll be forgotten in a few months.

      as in the insane scenario of an actual shooting war on Russia’ front door, any US Navy in the Baltic or Black Sea will turn into the world’ most expensive coral reef in the first 24 hours.

      *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_aerial_reconnaissance_of_the_Soviet_Union

      1. polecat

        This stuff scares the hell out of me!
        I live not but maybe 50 miles( as the crow, or eagle fly) from the Banger Naval Sub base. If things should get real hinky, I and my immediate loved ones have a front row seat in the black horseman’s theater of the absurd…..

        Oh……and did i mention that i reside bout a mile from a deep water port……..Double Plus Good !!

        1. Knute Rife

          Yes, I remember that feeling as well. Thing is, I grew up near Offutt, so I was “used” to it. At least we got to go to the Navy Band concerts.

  10. Brian

    Please be aware that there are numerous reports of anomalous electric signal degredation when the SU-24’s, (with or without the additional pod) have, in the Black Sea, caused the Cook to lose Aegis capability, communication and command functions. One report said the ship went to port immediately after the incident in Romania.
    There have been 2 or 3 reports of the aftermath of the “buzzing” by an SU when the US ships appear to be in the wrong place, and where they lost control.
    this time a “training” mission ceased as a result.
    I find it odd that no mention of the apparently functional electronic jamming of the state of the art US attack/defense system by Russian fighters, apparently carrying this “jammer” on a platform as small as a pursuit jet, has not made the news. I can imagine how the folks in the Pentagon feel about it. A defensive weapon that causes enemies electronics to cease function.

    1. JTMcPhee

      All that becomes is an excuse for the MIC bit that peddles all that electronic crap and software and hardware to the thing “we” call the Pentagram to go gin up yet another “threat assessment” and run, screaming DANGER DANGER, passing GO and collecting a lot more than $200, to the nearest Congressional Committee for a Top Double Secret Probation Briefing on how “we” have to have a New, Improved Full Set Of MilStuff to Be Prepared To Allow Our Warfighters To Do Anything And Everything Anywhere Any Time Their Doctrines And Personal Precious Bodily Fluid Preferences Command That They Do Violence To The World, “all in the national interest.” The latter being that inchoate thing that like that other inchoate but Everybody Knows In Their Bellies What It Means, “THE ENEMY,” gets referenced ad nauseam as cover for every kind of corruption and idiocy and opportunity for the Neo types, -con and -liberal, to loot and destroy some more…

      But it’s all in the name of “no more Pearl Harbors,” right? And “defense?” Because who could possibly be against “defense,’ that other perverted bit from the lexicon?

      (Really, given how “procurement” works these days, there’s really no need to go brief the legislators — just build it into all the other “programs” that are running along merrily and incompetently and Brobdingnagianly on their own self-generating momentums…)

      1. polecat

        ….well……..there’s always the f-35 lard bucket (as the Archdruid makes reference to)……does that count?…..

    2. Ranger Rick

      “Numerous reports” but not a single source to back up your claims that an aircraft can disable a ship completely.

      1. optimader

        One may like the USN,USG policy, one may hate the USN USG policy but propagating BS is… well… BS.., and discredits the propagator. It’s Oninesque. the full form version from 2014 is the USS D Cook Rushed into a Romanian(?) port and resigned!

        So..
        It is interesting to note that USN personnel can elect to resign! I wonder how many know that? Back in the olden days before the internetz wasn’t that called Mutiny?

        To put a more existential point on it , how would the Russian propagandists even know that they jammed an Aegis system? Did the commander call and say: “Hey you guys , cut it out!”?

        So.. any credible links?

        ….And Russian Radio stated that after the alleged jamming, Donald Cook “rushed into a port in Romania.”

        “There, all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation,” the Website claimed. “It seems that all 27 people have written that they are not going to risk their lives.”

    3. susan the other

      Theoretically then, doesn’t jamming make ballistic missiles more valuable than guided missiles?

  11. Barbarossholes

    There are only two possibilities for bringing the US regime into compliance with rule of law: Soviet-type collapse or war. Looks like war will happen first. Whatever it takes; this rogue state is a grave threat to peace.

  12. Anonymous

    Concerning the “device” on the SH2G, it is a magnetic abnormality detector. While serving in the U.S. Navy I was an aviation anti-submarine warfare technician in an helicopter squadron of SH2Fs.

    The MAD bird, as it was called, is nothing more than a big metal detector. During anti-submarine operations, it is released and dragged through the air on a long cable so the metal the helicopter is made of doesn’t affect the MAD bird. The towed MAD birds on helicopters are more accurate than the MAD probes on the tail end of Navy patrol aircraft because they are much farther from their respective aircraft.

    Aviation anti-submarine tactics consist of locating and tracking enemy submarines via sonar buoys dropped in patterns by aircraft. Once the submarine is located, MAD equipment is used to deturmine the specific location. MAD has a very short range. During wartime, an positive indication on the MAD equipment is the signal to drop a homing torpedo.

    So no, the MAD bird is not dragged through the water.

  13. susan the other

    I apologize for this: my favorite soaps. Nightly mhz network crime stories from the EU. One called The Eagle (Danish) c. 2010 had a villain with Russian connections who bought a jammer via the black market and performed great escapes for himself and his pals by jamming the cops’ cars and phones. This technology is common-enough knowledge for a cameo performance. So and if so, why is the Pentagon so flat-footed? Something is amiss here. This stuff is not top secret.

  14. J Cazador

    If you are curious to know the background of confrontation between USS Donald Cook and Russian air force, please read Helmer’s article from 2014.
    http://johnhelmer.net/?p=10595&print=1
    This article describes how Russia perceives USA actions in a broader context:

    “For the first time Putin is talking in public, in detail, and at length in the language of military defence and geostrategic security. He is also talking directly at the US. “Look at what they did with Yugoslavia: they cut it into small pieces and are now manipulating everything that can be manipulated there, which is almost anything. Apparently, someone would like to do the same with us, and if you look at what’s happening, you’ll be able to answer your own question about who is doing what.”

    I find Helmer to be the best informed reporter on Russia in english language.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    I’m also questioning underlying motivations for all this, and not seeing a lot of clarity in terms of substantive reasons Another incident Thursday involving a Russian SU-27 and US reconnaissance plane that reads like a scene from the film “Top Gun” with the roles reversed. Seems like an escalating series of encounters that could result in a grave mistake and tragic conflict if a mutual decision is not made soon to dial it back.

    Looks to me like this is being engineered by entrenched interests in both capitols who perceive a need for an enemy for domestic political and economic reasons, coupled with a generous helping of testosterone. And action begets reaction in a seemingly endless series of incidents.

    Cui bono?

    1. optimader

      There was briefly one of two civilian SU-27 that was operating at a local municipal airport after having been overhauled into airworthy status in Rockford, IL Saw one a couple times at DuPage Airport, then it disappeared. Funny, to see at a municipal airport, barely 10 second to rotation. Loud as all fk.
      Word was it was sold to a civilian contractor that leases it w/ pilots as an aggressor aircraft for redflag type pilot training.

      When in the O’Hare control area, must be fun for commercial pilots to hear clearances granted to a SU-27.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9By6bPn3DM

  16. dani

    it`s amazing and not so usual story , love to read it and enjoy it`s one of the sweet and strange litle story . peace an love

      1. JTMcPhee

        About the second link — the absurdity of the current grand strategic military neoliberal situation just got the better of me, I guess. Maybe you have better sources that demolish the reportage laid out there? The test for so many military-excess absurdities that lead to development and procurement and deployment of Fokked up war toys seems to be based on “Well, it MIGHT work, and that threat that we have have imagined up COULD have some substance, so just in case, another trillion or three if you please and even if you don’t because the mission after all is to PROTECT THE NATION, isn’t it? So we have to be prepared to fight in every clime and place where we can deliver the guns at the end of the logistical and supply chain?” I guess that might qualify me as naive, to think about stuff like that when the Serious People are all on board with the ‘narrative.’

        Maybe I should have just put up the link to that Millenium Challenge 2002 massive war game exercise where the Wogs on the Red team demolished the best and brightest and most massive and lethal of the US Imperial floating war toys and their battle space managers… http://warontherocks.com/2015/11/millennium-challenge-the-real-story-of-a-corrupted-military-exercise-and-its-legacy/

        What is/are the goals of the Game again? And what are the outcomes we mopes want and are unlikely to get from the political economy that our labor and lives and stripped wealth goes to fuel?

        1. optimader

          JTM you’re disappointing me

          ….Pavel Zolotarev, Deputy Director, Institute of USA and Canada, shares details ,,,,
          …..There all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation. It seems that all 27 people have written that they are not going to risk their lives. This is indirectly confirmed by the Pentagon statement according to which the action demoralized the crew of the American ship

          Ok, start here
          1. Approximately how many crew members on the D Cole?
          2. Can the resign!?

  17. JTMcPhee

    Ok, play the game: USS Donald Cook, Arleigh Burke class destroyer, named for a Vietnam War POW who died in captivity. Guess they are running out of more important namesakes? And I am a Vietnam War vet living on VA disability thanks to the Empire’s idiocy there. Complement of the Cook is about 280, including officers, senior NCOs and enlisted mopes. As to whether the supposed 27 swabbies can “resign,” there are a lot of ways out of the services, like AWOL and desertion and medical discharge and simply not re-enlisting (the Army used to require that you sign a letter giving up affirmatively your right to re-enlist, I still have a copy in my files) or in the case of the sort of (mutiny) disobedience I was a tiny part of in 1968, just saying “SIR NO SIR!” To being told to gear up, go to Chicago, and shoot up the “hippies” protesting the warshit and other Elite iniquities at the ’68 Dem convention. As part of “Operation Garden Plot,” look that one up.

    As to the reporting that a Russian ECM system could “jam” and de-functionalize the Cook, that is a hard one to figure out. The Imperial Cruisers are sort of hardened and their sensors and detectors and all their circuitry and software and stuff presumable were developed by “our” techies (using chips and other components “made in China,” I hear, or by Israeli MIC corps that spy in the US left, right and center) to be resistant to Enemy ECM attack. But “our” Great War machine sure thinks OUR ECM and related toys are “mission capable” of “degrading” the Rooskies’ best. Ours has been so good that another US fighting ship’s crew shot down an Iranian civil airliner full of “Wogs” and “we” had to end up paying blood money for the 274 passengers killed. Oops, that cost $213,103.45 per corpse. That episode gets spun in many different directions…

    Now, what do you have in the way of support for the notion that Russian electronic jamming equipment is incapable of jamming up the complex circuitry that our wonderful warships operate themselves with? Or maybe asking to prove a negative, not fair I know, that this did not happen, or anything like it, to the Cook? We just accept that all this gamesmanship, that has repeatedly “oopsie,, my bad, sorry” brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, is all under control and managed in the Global Networkcentric Interoperable Battlespace by our Battle Managers who have proven, time and again, their mighty competence at something or other that surprisingly does not ever work out to look like “VICTORY!”

    I don’t have to hang credibility on an overblown and under-sourced story from a kind of military tabloid. You ought to know that the system, in all its many corrupt parts, is incompetent and corrupt and (Pat Tillman, e.g.) dishonest to the core. Yet enough of the nuclear weapons are likely to go off in the event of some macho beer-muscles dopery or “Star Wars Missile Shield” 50 million lines of code mis-feed to pretty much Fokk up the whole planet, and the kind of sh@t that the Empire is pulling, all comfy behind the walls of bureaucracy and unauditability, is way too likely to get us all killed. Might be wise to focus on the big picture, rather than piddling arguments over distracting if fascinating details.

    Tell me if you won this round, by your rules… Or if we are really on the same side of the problem, with just an Internet-punch-up between us? “The only way to win the game is not to play…”

  18. Russell

    IHS Janes reported that Poland bought 250 Leopard tanks from Germany, and it is tanks that take and keep territory.
    Tactical nukes are intended to kill tank crews, which is what the neutron bomb was and is what the reports say the dialed down thermonuclear bomb is now.
    Poland did shiver at the sight of Ukraine being invaded, with “separatists” & tanks. Hybrid war is winning, and it looks a lot as if the US is behind at it.
    We have all been already warned that due to the sucking sound that was the Wall St. threat & subsequent blackmail money used to buy real estate and again replicate the pattern of pre bubble flight profitable to the rentiers would result in a distraction in the form of a big war to be like a good war to bring America? & allies back together again. Seems too incredibly simplistic for the intellectuals, or interior intellectual that assumes criminals are smart, and “They wouldn’t do that.” Till you find out that criminals are stupid.
    The wobbling of the Petrodollar, and the lack of trust in US Financial operations that undercut the prospect of limping along with a Fiat currency, mind you the Reserve Currency of the world is no joke.
    We, meaning the US not particularly I, nor you, another I, are at war with Russia as we have been for the past 3 years. That it is Economic Warfare that is not being diplomatically addressed in any meaningful way, means hot war is inevitable.
    War By Threat has limits.
    P.S. Hence it is that Banning the Bomb is the only meaningful anti war position. As an aside, the trading with the enemy in the case of ISS astronaut delivery was kept going, especially when three US based rockets exploded over two weeks. Motive? Opportunity. It will be interesting when the US space program in public manner of private can put itself as human into orbit again.

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