In addition to the increasing numbers of troops and aircraft ranged along Russia’s northern borders, the United States continues to deploy missile-equipped warships to the Black Sea, and on January 10 the UK’s Sun newspaper headlined that “US destroyer races to Russia-dominated Black Sea to ‘ensure security and stability’.” The US Navy Times joined in by announcing that “US Navy ruffles Russian feathers in the Black Sea” and Stars and Stripes reported the US 6th Fleet’s Captain Tate Westbrook as saying that “US ships will continue to enter the Black Sea and work with our allies and partners to ensure maritime security and stability,” but nobody gave an example of insecurity.
Indeed, nobody has ever provided evidence of any problems in the Black Sea that require the Pentagon or its NATO sub-office in Brussels to “protect waters of economic and military importance.” (And it is mildly amusing that the US refuses to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.)
It was reported on February 16 that “NATO defence ministers have decided to beef up the military alliance’s naval presence in the Black Sea in response to an increasingly aggressive Russia. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO will hold more war games and training in the strategically important sea.” But there has never been an instance of a merchant vessel having been inconvenienced by Russia — just as, in the South China Sea, where the US Navy also indulges in equally provocative antics, there has not been a single case of Chinese interference with any transiting commercial ship.
The propaganda doesn’t stop there. The US Navy Times reports breathlessly that “Russian subs are regularly known to lurk beneath the waves on the East Coast of the United States and regularly in the Mediterranean again, according to multiple sources who spoke to Navy Times on background. Sailors are regularly squaring off with Russian jets when they operate on Putin’s doorstep in the Baltic and Black Sea.”
Ignoring the sneering reference to President Putin, the Navy Times makes a good point : the Baltic and Black Sea are indeed doorsteps to Russia, and it is wise to defend your own doorsteps when they are being used as bases for hostile foreign military deployments.
The Navy Times argues that “While President Trump has expressed interest in repairing US relations with Russia, some analysts say the U.S. must step up its aerial and maritime patrols in response to Russia’s own increase of deployed naval forces in the Black Sea. The increasing prevalence of tension and danger in the area signal that it might be time to get tough.”…….more here