Monday, June 16, 2014

Preparing For the Black Sea Turkey Shoot

Stratfor sees an American response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine (and Georgia, for that matter) on the Black Sea:

For these reasons, we see the United States beginning to adopt a Black Sea strategy centered on Romania. The Russians held on to Sevastopol because naval capability in the Black Sea is critical. A strategy that enhances Romania's naval capability and places U.S. aircraft in the region would pose a threat to the Russian fleet. It would also extend defensive capabilities to Georgia and protect the indispensible route for any pipelines running from Azerbaijan. Put simply, a competent rival Black Sea fleet would create problems for Russia, particularly if the Ukrainian regime survives and Crimea is isolated. The visit by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to Romania indicates the importance U.S. strategic thinkers place on that country.

This makes sense. I noted the opportunity for deploying B-52s to threaten Sevastopol (and called for the option of deploying air power in Romania as a response early in the crisis).

And Turkey is a NATO country, don't forget, along the entire southern rim of the sea.

The Montreux Convention constrains our ability to deploy naval forces to the Black Sea.

But how might we get around those restrictions?

Does Ukraine still want surplus Perry class frigates from us?

And for really redlining Moscow's pucker factor, if Turkey builds a new canal from the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, are all restrictions on our fleet movements off as long as we don't use the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits?