Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Swing and a Miss

This isn't going to be on the highlight real sent back to Russian Television:

Russia's defence ministry said Monday that a fighter jet crashed while attempting to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean off Syria, but the pilot survived.

Yeah, maybe the Russians won't use their carrier to launch strikes on Aleppo to avoid more such "technical faults" that deplete the carrier air squadron.

Or maybe the Russians strike using the carrier but land their carrier planes on land bases after, and then send them to the carrier by barge.

At night.

Stuff happens. Even for the best. But stuff happening at the onset of a high profile mission is not going to reflect well on those involved.

UPDATE: The Russians are using the carrier for air strikes, according to their defense minister:

Shoigu said a frigate had fired cruise missiles, jets from the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia's sole aircraft carrier, had been involved in action, and missiles had been loosed from a mobile land-based missile system inside Syria.

But the Russians didn't hit Aleppo with their carrier aircraft, apparently.

So the Russians are confident enough in their carrier's ability to conduct at least some operations to showcase it (the this is for show because the Russians did not need the carrier, given their land-based aircraft); but the Russians did not strike Aleppo.

I wondered if the Russians might hold off on slamming Aleppo where the world is starting to show some outrage over the death and destruction (and hitting Ukraine harder) in order to see if they really can count on the future President Trump to work more cooperatively with Russia.

I guess that question is still open.

UPDATE: There is a battle within Russia (which takes place in any country, with varying degrees of violence), so I guess the question of whether Russia should expect change under Trump is possibly still under debate there.

UPDATE: Did Trump give Putin a green light on Syria?

That's an odd argument given the Russian and Syrian government's actions all along, in Aleppo and elsewhere. Did President Obama give Putin a green light, too, for the more than 400,000 dead so far in that civil war that has raged on the president's watch?

Yet the Washington Post editorial board says that Trump has given Russia a green light? 

I've also considered the transition period--regardless of who had won our election--to be a dangerous time when the Russians might do more on the theory that the outgoing president is unwilling to start a war a successor will fight; the the successor has no power yet.

UPDATE: More on the new operation:

Russia said its offensive, using long-range missiles and its carrier-borne jets in combat for the first time on opposition areas in Syria, focused on rebel-held northern Idlib province and parts of the central province of Homs. It didn't mention the besieged eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.

The new offensive was a sharp snub to the Obama administration and its policy toward Syria, and augurs a major escalation in the coming days that would put tens of thousands of civilians in serious danger.

Seriously, the fact that the Russians began after the phone call with Trump seems more designed to justify reactions like the Post editorial. If Putin really wanted Trump, would he really try to highlight alleged cooperation and provide opponents of Trump here opportunities to discredit Trump?

But the Russian planes seem to be avoiding Aleppo. Is there still a debate on whether Trump is good or bad for Russia?