The old Cold War games are still being played.
There is always something going on. I thought the Cold War was well and truly over; but in truth it’s probably just not as far up the agenda nowadays, so you don’t hear as much. But believe me when I say that everyone is still just as interested in everyone else’s affairs as they have ever been. There are more fronts to be held tight at present. But remember, in times of peace you are wise to prepare for war, so shut your eyes to what is going on around you at your own peril.
Just last week an incident confirming my suspicions took place right over our very own skies. Living on an island and not a huge one has meant that we monitor our skies pretty well when it comes to unwanted attention. Last week a pair of Russian Blackjack Bombers decided to stray towards a UK area of interest. Within milli-seconds the RAF had its Typhoon jets screaming off the runway and up towards the bombers. The Russian aircraft never got as far as they had intended before the jets from RAF Lossiemouth, backed by a pair from RAF Coningsby, were all over it like a rash.
An RAF spokesman said ” we can confirm that quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby scrambled to monitor two Blackjack bombers while they were in a UK area of interest. ” He was also quick to point out that “At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK territorial space.” The route they took was believed to have been between the Shetland and Faroe Islands and then down the west coast of Ireland.
It’s not the first time in the last year or so this has happened, RAF jets have had to monitor Russian military behaviour on a number of occasions. They are being pretty blatant about things, but that is in tune with Putin’s bullish give-a-fuck attitude. I actually find a bit to admire in him in as far as he does at least try to sort stuff out. It may not always be correct and we may not always agree with him or his ways, but I doubt if he is bothered by that. Certainly Putin’s rating amongst his own people couldn’t be better with stunts like riding horses bareback only get the housewives to vote in their droves. I think that the relationship he will have between himself and Trump will be fun to watch (couple of egos the size of planets there alright).
Should we be bothered? No not really, it certainly ain’t going to affect anything at street level for the average household in the UK. Last year he sent Russian warships through the English Channel on their way to Syria. They were tracked all the way by the RAF and the Navy. It’s almost like the kid at school who want to be seen and nobody is paying attention to him. “Look at me look at me” It just would have been nice if they tipped their hats as they sailed passed then nobody gives a fuck.
So there were reports of incursions in October and November of 2015, the ship incident and a few others, besides what is it achieving and what’s being done. In December last year British military officials held talks with their Russian counterparts in Moscow. The talks were aimed at “Finding ways of heading off any miscalculation or accident,” according to the defence secretary Michael Fallon. A polite way of saying ‘sort this out before some fool gets shot down.’ It was one of those meetings where they all agree to disagree and leave doing exactly the same as when they walked in, as demonstrated by the latest near flying exercise.
Earlier in the same year, a former senior Russian officer who now heads up a military think tank in Moscow, said that NATO planes had long been conducting reconnaissance along Russia’s borders. Lt General Evgeny Buzhinsky also said it was normal practice on both sides. He admitted that flights by long-range nuclear Russian bombers routinely flew around skirting UK airspace and did so with the intention of spying. This he said should not be seen as provocative. I suppose the mere fact that you don’t hide your intention and do it in broad daylight supports that statement. It would be interesting to see how close they would be willing to fly into US interests. Would it be seen as unprovocative? Or would Trump scramble the entire Air Force and boot off WWIII?
Certainly i accept that there is always going to be an element of us watching them watching us watching you. That is how it has always been, it is only natural to want to know what your neighbors are up to. I think in the advent of new technologies there are a million more ways in which we can keep an eye on each other as well. Spying is a part of life, while we have borders, and even if we don’t will still go on. The Cold War may be over, but there will always be an us and them thing going on. And now that we have chosen to leave Europe I am sure a few others will up their game as far as we are concerned too. That’s cool because as sure as eggs are eggs, we won’t be sleeping either. So if your see a fellow with a trench coat, Groucho stache’ and two holes in his newspaper at the train station, tap him on the shoulder and let him know he’s been rumbled.
Featured image courtesy of Getty