Russia To Start Regular Bomber Patrols In The Gulf Of Mexico

Illustration for article titled Russia To Start Regular Bomber Patrols In The Gulf Of Mexico

Russia's military just announced that it's going to be expanding its regular long-range bomber patrols to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. As if the ones skirting Alaska, California, Canada and Europe weren't enough.

Sending Tu-95 "Bear" bombers to the southern flanks of the United States on regular patrols would be completely new – and I really do mean completely new. Tu-95s, like the one pictured above, have made transits of the Gulf to visit countries like Cuba and Venezuela before, but regular bomber patrols have never been conducted, not even during the Cold War, according to the AP.


But the American military is apparently trying to keep its cool about the whole thing:

Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, declined to call this a Russian provocation. He said the Russians have a right, like any other nation, to operate in international airspace and in international waters. The important thing, Warren said, is for such exercises to be carried out safely and in accordance with international standards.

Colonel Warren is pretty much correct here. As long as everything's all kosher, everything's all kosher. And it's not like the US military would have much of a leg to stand on, either, if it did complain. NATO's Baltic Air Policing patrols regularly bring US, Canadian, and European fighters near the edges of Russian airspace, especially around the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

So if you live in New Orleans, and hear the impossibly loud drone of a Russian nuclear bomber overhead, don't fret.


(NOTE: that last bit was a joke. If there's a Russian bomber directly over New Orleans, we'll all probably have a lot more to worry about than the noise. We'll also probably have to worry about the heat, the blinding light, the overpressure shockwave, and the generally explosive qualities of the entire world at that point.)

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J to the G

Q: what is the point of, or endgame to, all of this dick-wagging? I mean, Putin may be a lot of things, but I don't think he's irrational or that he really wants actual war with the west. Is this force-projection directed at an international audience to display Russian might abroad, or is this primarily directed at a domestic Russian audience (patriotism, pride and all that)? Or both?