Close Call With Armed Russian Jet

A Russian jet allegedly acted aggressively toward a U.S. military aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

Why did a Russian jet play brinksmanship with the U.S.? From headlines and news summaries you would think that the Russian government is on a suicide quest, doing dangerous maneuvers because they are so irrational and aggressive.

But Russia, though a dangerous nuclear power, could not hope to survive a direct conflict with the United States. So, we would be wise to look deeper into the story.

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Fox News reported under the headline, “Armed Russian jet comes within 5 feet of US recon jet.

The Russian Su-27 jet had air-to-air missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet “rapidly,” coming within five feet of the American aircraft, the officials said.

Once alongside, the Russian jet was “provocative” in its flight maneuvers and flying “erratically,” according to another official.

But if you read to the end of the article, several actions are mentioned that Russia might see as provocations on the part of the U.S. For example:

For the past few weeks, the U.S. military has participated in a large military training exercise in the Baltic region, including the use of B-52 nuclear-capable bombers and the long-range B-1 bomber.


It was not immediately clear how close the US military recon jet was flying near Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between NATO allies Poland and Lithuania.

If you read the entire story, there’s a case to be made that both sides have been aggressive, though Fox News tries to make the U.S. look as good as possible. But foreign policy requires bureaucrats to consider how people in the other nation are likely to perceive their actions. If Russia thinks it is being encircled and squeezed, their desperate actions make more sense.

How would we respond to Russia doing a military training exercise in the Caribbean with nuclear bombers?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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