Forever provoking others, Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen to take advantage of the formalities of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to force a public reaction from Obama by being overly friendly toward the US President at a time when the two global powers are at odds over the Ukraine Crisis.
Although the 5 foot, 7 inch Putin is someone who seems to thoroughly enjoy making others feel awkward and intimated, 6 foot, 1inch Obama with his cool and controlled demeanor is not someone who is going to be easily intimated. Consequently, Obama is a challenge for Putin that he is more than willing to take on.
The only way of subduing someone like Putin on a mission to instigate is to intimidate him. Where awkwardly avoiding Putin would have given him what he wants and false bravado would have outright failed, Obama’s control over when he engaged Putin and when he chose not to do so put the US President in control.
With that in mind, Putin’s ongoing campaign to provoke reactions from Western powers with Russian military intrusions into our airspace and waters needs the same kind of response. As Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced plans to extend patrols of long-range bombers into the Gulf of Mexico, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren properly responded by stating Russia has a right to operate in international airspace and in international water as all countries do.
Given Russia can only be expected to escalate this form of provocation, however, something also needs to be done. Russia may or may not be preparing for WWIII, yet the more pressing goal of provocative Russian military actions is likely offer a show of force and defiance. Just as the US and its allies use war games to respond to aggressions by countries like North Korea, Russia is doing the same to the entire world.
Because Russia is playing war games on a global scale, the US and its allies should respond in kind. If a third world war does break out, the US and its global allies need to be prepared, especially when it comes to dealing with operating near Russian waters and airspace. Considering Russia occupies quite a significant portion of the world and the US military has partners around the globe, world-wide war games would send a powerful message of unity.
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