Seems what’s old is new again. A Russian Sierra II SSN was detected operating off the US Eastern Seaboard recently. Doubtless coincidentally, a Russian intelligence ship (AGI) was allowed into the Port of Jacksonville FL to ride out Hurricane Sandy over last weekend. As the article in the Beacon intimates, the Russians are likely keeping as close an eye on this leg of America’s Nuclear Triad as they can. Which should give pause to those who would denude our deterrent capabilities of the other two legs.
While the incident may not be as provocative of the actions of the Soviet Navy at the height of their Cold War power, it is sufficiently Cold War-ish to raise eyebrows regarding Russian future intentions toward the United States. (The encroachment on July 4th of this year by a TU-95MS Bear-H of the US West Coast perhaps should have raised those eyebrows already.) Maybe that re-set button was on the Way-Back Machine after all. If it was, we should consider what the implications of the “Pacific Pivot” might be with bare-bones forces in the Atlantic, and whether or not Russia senses an opportunity or advantage. We might also want to re-think just how harmless a significant Russian naval presence in Cuba might be if tensions rise. Last I checked, that island remains exactly where it was in 1962.