Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Crimea Crisis

Russia escalated the Crimea crisis today by scuttling an old Kara-class cruiser in a chokepoint outside Novoozerne as the Crimean parliament scheduled a plebiscite to decide if the region would stay in the Ukraine or join Russia. The Ukrainian MoD published a picture of the ex-RFS Ochakov:

Popular Mechanics has an interesting article on the history of scuttling one's own ships to blockade an opposing Navy.

While I'm glad to see the 6th Fleet isn't cancelling the planned Black Sea operations of USS Truxtun (DDG 103), I was disappointed President Obama's statement just a few minutes ago didn't mention any military options NATO could take to protect the alliance's relatively new members in Eastern Europe from further Russian adventurism. (The Crimean seizure seems to be pretty much a fait accompli at this point.) Personally, I'd like to see the President announce the abandonment of the announced defense cuts from his newest budget, resumption on discussions of deployment of an ABM system in Eastern Europe, and specific reminders that the Baltic countries are an integral part of NATO. Don't be afraid to rub the Russians' noses in their failures during the 1990s.

One of the reasons I voted for President Obama's opponents in the last two elections was his lack of foreign policy credentials and his seeming naïveté about the presence of bad guys in the world who, it turns out, will not be nice to their neighbors if only their neighbors are nice to them. His selection of John F'n Kerry as his 2nd term SecState only heightened my concern that he didn't really understand that major power politics still exist in the world. I'm hopeful, though, that he's learning a valuable lesson now and can show a little more gumption in future crises.

Of note, it's interesting that Birther Central seems to be taking Russia's side. Is the anti-Obama crowd really so far gone that they're willing to support anyone who is opposing "Obummer"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "enemy of my enemy is my friend" have historically had many pitfalls. It's more like "birds of a feather flock together". The stupid shall be punished. ;)

3/06/2014 12:42 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

[Obama] "His selection of John F'n Kerry as his 2nd term SecState only heightened my concern that he didn't really understand that major power politics still exist in the world."

John Kerry said recently that Russia is behaving “in a 19th century fashion".

Mr. "smart people don't go into military service" even confuses his centuries.

In September 1985 (clearly the 20th century), for example, that pro-Iranian Shiites kidnapped four attaches from the Russia.s Beirut Embassy. The hostages would be executed, one by one, they said, unless the Soviets persuaded pro-Syrian militiamen to stop shelling Hezbollah strongholds in the Lebanese port city of Tripoli

Only two days after the kidnappings, the body of one of the four hostages was found, shot through the head, in a Beirut trash dump.

The KGB quickly learned the name and address prominent Hezbollah leader and identified one of his closest blood relatives.


"[They]... kidnapped the kinsman, castrated him, and sent his severed organs to the Hezbollah honcho.

The package was accompanied by a terse cover note indicating that the KGB had the names of other close relatives and that Hezbollah could expect more such deliveries unless the three remaining hostages were freed forthwith.

It didn't take much time for Hezbollah to realize it was dealing with a different breed of "Great Satan." The three surviving hostages were dropped off only 150 yards from the Soviet Embassy from a late-model BMW that couldn't drive away fast enough.

Gorbachev didn't call a press conference to brag about what bad-asses his boys were, but Hezbollah obviously concluded that challenging the Russians could lead to more painful consequences than simply losing face."

3/06/2014 2:04 PM

Anonymous MentalJim said...

The WND piece seems to be true on the surface of things in that Russia did not deploy any troops to invede Crimea. The troops have been there since the 90's.

Remember the "F**k the EU" phone call from back in December, where the US Assistant Secretary of State made it clear that the US was hard at work trying to do what it could to overthrow the elected Ukrainian government? We spent millions over there through USAID and other NGOs to make it happen and now it looks like the very folks that are now in charge may have been behind the sniper killings in the square that was used as the excuse to run the old guy out of town. Somehow it just didn't occur to the so called 'brains' on our side that they were playing versus Putin.

Our response to date has been comical and nothing but empty threats which keep getting ignored. We have no leg to stand on when we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan and bombed Libya for lesser reasons. We are the ones who conduct drone strike murders in 7 countries.

We are playing this game like a bunch of amateurs and Putin is eating our lunch. We will not do anything to jeopardize the flow of oil from the world's largest oil producer. Even if we don't import Russian oil directly, they certainly have it in their power to decrease output and thus send prices much higher which would cripple our already teetering economy.

3/06/2014 2:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Leading from behind" is only safe for leaders.

3/06/2014 3:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we had a base in Japan, the Philippines, or Puerto Rico (oh wait we do) and the government wanted to join Cuba, China, or other not-too-likable country, would we not send more troops in and stabilize the infrastructure, fellow Americans, and our assets? I see nothing wrong with what Russia has done so long as it is peaceful. These are their people and their assets. There is more to this story than what the American media is regurgitating. I am not saying that what Putin did was totally right, but I invite you to look at it from a different perspective. What would we have done if.....

3/06/2014 4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we were serious about a show of force a carrier task group would sail through the Dardanelles. A friend asked me what i thought would happen and what we would do about this situation. I told her that we would say a bunch of meaningless nonsense but we would say it very sternly.

Did anyone else notice the excuses given for the takeover are very similar to the ones used in 1938 to justify the takeover of the Sudetenland?

3/06/2014 5:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't heard any discussion of our supply routes to Afghanistan,which must pass through Russia. We make too much trouble and suddenly we're resupplying via C17/141/5's and civilian aircraft.
The Khyber pass route is often cut by our enemies and friends.
Only thing left is saber rattling!

3/06/2014 6:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...Or else we will be very, very angry with you... And we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are."

3/06/2014 7:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will sanction you! Don't make me do this! you keep doing that and you are grounded mister......hey, I'm telling you again...don"t do that! Hey young man...I am warning you...don't do that....hey...I said stop! Stop that right now mister! Hey, you get one more warning and I swear to God....hey....I said stop that. Well you just wait until your United Nations Mommy comes home....then she will tell you a thing or two! She will impose the help me God.....

3/06/2014 7:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My worst concern is that they will do something stupid like Carter did. Halting all grain sales was a serious move that helped cause the farm crisis of the 80's. I can see Obama doing something similar that would hurt our economy without any real thought of what else it might cause.

3/06/2014 9:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stern letter to follow....

3/07/2014 6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently the Russians sank a 2nd ship in the entranceway to the lake.

3/07/2014 9:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@3/06/2014 5:02 PM

By international agreement, carriers can't sail through the Dardanelles and there is a strict limit on the tonnage allowed through.

3/07/2014 10:57 AM

Anonymous geologist said...

Re. Dardenelles and Montreux Convention:

Non Black Sea State warships must be <15,000 tons.
No more than nine non-Black Sea state warships, with a total aggregate tonnage of <30,000 tons, may pass at any one time.

No rules that aircraft carriers can't enter, but the tonnage limits prevent them.

Truxton is 9,200 tons
CVN-77 is 100,000+ tons

3/07/2014 12:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mental Jim is spot on. This was a failure of foreign policy before it ever came to this. Obama got outplayed when he decided to play in Russia's backyard.

A CSG would do nothing even if we could send one to the black sea. No one believes that the US is going to strike Russia on her homeland over a bunch of Ukrainians in Crimea, half of whom want to be part of Russia anyway, when Russia has 1,499 deployed nuclear warheads pointed in our general direction.

The best that Obama could have done is speak as if he were interested in Ukrainian people's interest. Propose a UN security force oversee fair elections in Kiev of a new government instead of backing a fascist. Propose UN security forces ensure the Crimean people are not unfairly treated. And then if Russia refuses to play then we've established the moral high ground and will more readily receive international support.

3/07/2014 1:50 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/07/2014 4:59 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

And you think this thing is about Russia? That is why you idiots are still in the Navy or retired.

'The Ukraine Crisis Is An American “False Flag Operation”?'

3/07/2014 5:01 PM

Anonymous tmarks11 said...

Obama said yesterday "Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine.... In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders"

I am kind of losing track here, but IIRC, the "legitimate democratically elected government of Ukraine" has been ousted by the revolutionary forces we are supporting, while Russia is trying to prop up the remnants of said "democratically" elected government.

Seems like Prez Obama is losing track to... or he needs to fire his speech writers.

We need to get the hell out and stay out. Putin is loving our involvement, because it is making him look more and more like a hero at home every day.

3/07/2014 5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly another thing that makes this an unclear situation. Obama is trying to pretend like certain inconvenient facts don't exist, such as the actual elected leader of Ukraine requesting Russian support.

3/07/2014 8:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WRT the tonnage limits, if we really wanted to send a "strong message" putting a few attack boats into the Black Sea would be enough. Realistically, the Russian Black Sea fleet is bullshit. They can't leave unless NATO says "ok", even if they somehow managed to get to the MED, we OWN it. It's NATO's pond.

I don't think it'll get to that, but sending some fast boats to the Black Sea would probably be enough. You know... for "exercises".

3/08/2014 2:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This situation reminds me of the Cuban missile crisis. It's not about missiles this time. (Yet).
It's more about economic control of a stragegic region. And it appears to me the roles are now reversed. Putin's response is much like our own in '62.
I think I'm safe in saying no one likes it much when someone tries to put a knife to their throat. Whether in the form of missiles or a grab for economic/political control. That's politics for you.
Putting a couple fast boats in the pond would be irrelevant - a pointless provocation. (A little too early to commit the cavalry, my liege).
Pass the pretzels.

3/09/2014 7:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could there still be a Birther Central after that totally cool LF birth certificate was released?

3/10/2014 5:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After NATO decreed Kosovo to be free to secede from Serbia and backed it up with force, how could Russia miss the message?

3/16/2014 1:54 PM

Blogger daver852 said...

Still wondering why Obama spent $2 million in legal fees to prevent his birth certificate from being released, and all we have seen is a dubious transcript. That being said, most of us at Birther Central would have liked to have seen some kind of military response. The situation in Crimea is so close to that of Hitler and the Sudetenland that it's scary. I'm surprised Obama hasn't held a press conference to declare his "sanctions" have brought us "peace for our time."

3/23/2014 10:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to either up the dosage or just grip up if Putin repatriating Russian people and Russian territory scares you. It's not like he expanded Kaliningrad.

3/25/2014 3:00 PM

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4/01/2014 1:50 PM


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