American’s of all stripes are all worked up over a hack-attack on a movie company and the canceled premiere of one of its films. And while it is important in the larger picture, it’s the smaller, less glamorous events that demand more attention.
On December 4, the House of Representatives passed legislation saying the U.S. “strongly condemn[s] the actions of the Russian Federation, under President Vladimir Putin, which has carried out a policy of aggression against neighboring countries aimed at political and economic domination.”
Nine days later, the Russian flew around the island of Guam, home to U.S. Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base, while others flew close to Alaska and Europe. The two Tu-95 Bear H bombers made the flight on December 13; however no U.S. fighters scrambled to intercept the bombers.
A few days earlier, on December 8, two Canadian F-18s intercepted two Bear bombers that intruded into the Alaska air defense identification zone. A day earlier in Europe, NATO jets intercepted Russian Tu-95 and Tu-22 Backfire bombers also conducting provocative flights.
In April 2014, President Obama declared “the United States and Japan are also making sustained progress towards realizing a geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific, including the development of Guam as a strategic hub.”
This makes a December 6 incident — this time involving Chinese aircraft flying through Japan’s air space – all the more alarming. Officials say the Chinese Y9 intelligence-gathering plane, the two Y8 early warning planes and two H6 bombers are capable of posing a threat to U.S. personnel on Guam.
The jets were heading to the Western Pacific to take part in a big naval and air combat exercise, where Chinese naval ships also participated. In November both Russia and China announced plans for large-scale joint naval drills in the Pacific during 2015.
These incursions are the run-up to something bigger. As for the hacking incident, news reports show China may have helped North Korea and that Russia continues to build ties with the hermit nation.