Su-24 with Putin
© Facebook
In the latest in a long series of similar fleeting engagements between the US and Russian militaries, the USS Donald Cook was "aggressively buzzed" last week by two Russian Su-24 jets in the Baltic sea. Reports in the Western press echoed the response of US officials who called the maneuvers of the Russia jets "reckless" and "provocative". John Kerry went as far as to suggest that the Russian jets could have been shot down: "under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down", the US Secretary of State said. For its part, the Pentagon flat-out lied, claiming it was a "simulated attack," even though the Russian aircraft approached "wings clean," without armaments, indicating no aggressive intent.

Readers will remember that the USS Donald Cook was previously buzzed by a Russian Su-24 in the Black Sea exactly two years before this latest incident, on April 12, 2014. At the time, several websites claimed that the Aegis Combat System of the American missile destroyer was completely neutralized by the 'Khibiny' electronic warfare complex on the Russian jet. Since then, the manufacturer of the system, Kret, has denied that the Su-24 was carrying their equipment:
"Nowadays Khibiny is being installed on Su-30, Su-34 and Su-35, so the famous April attack in the Black sea on USS Donald Cook by a Su-24 bomber jet allegedly using Khibiny complex is nothing but a newspaper hoax. The destroyer's buzzing did take place. This EW system can completely neutralise enemy radar, but Khibiny are not installed on Su-24s."
But while last week's 'incident' was very much par for the course in terms of the faltering Russia/NATO relationship in recent years, the response of US officials was very instructive in highlighting what US officials really think about the resurgence of Russia over the past 10 years, and the state of the East/West 'balance of power'.

Russia, it seems, is very confident that it can taunt US military ships and other aircraft with impunity, the bluff and bluster of US officials notwithstanding. In fact, it seems that what is being deliberately provoked by Russia with these maneuvers is that same bluff and bluster.

On January 25 of this year, the US whined that a Russian fighter jet had intercepted a US Air Force spy plane over the Black Sea in "an unsafe and unprofessional manner". The exact same scenario then played out on April 14, this time over the Baltic Sea: US spy plane, Russian fighter jet, "unsafe and unprofessional manner" and "posing a threat" to the US military crew. Yet it is patently obvious that a US reconnaissance plane coming close to the Russian border is a deliberately threatening move by the US military against Russia, and the intercept by the Russian jet is, therefore, entirely justified.

With each new encounter like the Baltic Sea 'fracas', Russia exposes the fact that the US military is impotent when confronted by anything other than a second rate military. And it's so much fun to watch John Kerry and Co. try to pretend the opposite is true. In addition, by deliberately provoking such encounters (and the predictable response from US politicians), the Russian government seeks to expose to the global public the long-term, nauseating arrogance of the 'exceptional' USA. And it seems to be working.

Consider the fact that the USS Donald Cook was in the Baltic Sea, 40 miles from Russian territory. Several internet memes have arisen as a result of this story, most of them aiming to give the US government a lesson in geography and what is, and is not, commonly understood as justifiable action.

Donald Cook
© Cody Gladz - Facebook
One internaut produced this instructional map for the Pentagon
Officially, the Donald Cook was "engaged in maneuvers with Polish aircraft", and what could be more benevolent than helping out the poor Polish military!? But the US-based military affairs publication Defense One quoted a US official as saying something rather more sinister, and therefore more probable, was going on:
"The US military has witnessed an increase in Russian submarine activity in the region over the last 18 months - the most US officials have seen since the end of the Cold War... As a result, the US has increased its surveillance of those subs. The rise in sub-hunting operations could explain why the Russian military responded so aggressively to the [USS Donald] Cook."
Now stop for a moment, and turn that around and imagine a Russian military official saying that the Russian government had "witnessed an increase in US submarine activity 40 miles off the coast of the USA", and therefore Russian war ships had "increased their surveillance of those subs". And that any close passes of US fighter jets to Russian war ships (40 miles off the US coast) was "aggressive and provocative". Would that sound a little outrageous?

You're damn right it would. Because it is outrageous, and arrogant, and obnoxious, and psychopathic for the US government to claim the entirely unjustified right to sail, fly, bomb and overthrow wherever and whomever it wants. And Vladimir Putin is only too aware of it. And if the Russian government and military can continue with the masterful display of self-control, discipline, forbearance and timing in dealing with puffed-up American oligarchs that it has shown to date, much of the rest of the world may soon also wake up to those facts.

As a editor commented recently:
"The US government and Western press have been waging an information war for a very long time. Considering the power of information and that we live in the information age, it may be the most significant battle currently being waged; and it is being waged through us, no less.

Since the entire legitimacy of the US/Western empire, along with its ability to function, is based on people believing the lies and propaganda that it produces, then the information war is very, very real. Because of this, learning and spreading the truth wherever possible may be the greatest option we have to change how this world operates, if we want to see a different reality than the bizarro world that we currently live in."
For your viewing pleasure, here's a video of the Baltic Sea incident: