Russian military airplanes approaching Canadian airspace is not a new story but you would never have known that with the press the latest incident created.
Credit the Tory spin doctors and timeliness with NORAD’s commander visiting Ottawa. The incident occurred on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa, which only adds more intrigue to the little Russian sortie by two of its TU – 95 Bear long range bombers. However, we did not hear about it until today with NORAD”s head honcho in town.
Reports indicate the two Russian bombers crossed into Canadian airspace about 190 kilometres northeast of Tuktoyaktuk. Was it a test of Canada’s defence system which had many of its resources and attention geared towards Ottawa and Obama? Four jets, both American and Canadian were scrambled to intercept, not that the Russians acknowledge any of it.
What is almost comical is the posturing by our Ottawa officials such as Peter MacKay, Canada’s defence minister and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. They delivered stern words about defending our airspace and sending clear messages etc. Just call it “big boys and their toys” talk, it says here. This type of chest-beating seems un-Canadian but with our Arctic sovereignty at stake as time passes, we should get used to it.
The Russians have been encroaching and pushing how far they can fly near North America for some time now. NORAD reports that it has scrambled jets over 20 times since early 2007 to identify and escort Russian military planes away from North American airspace.
The Cold War may be over but the Big Bear wants to show it still has claws, or at least show it can still come right up beside our cabin while we sleep. What the end game may be, no one really knows, but at least the Mighty Eagle and Industrious Beaver appear to be ready to charge out and scare him off…and all the while, politicians from each country will continue to make Asses of themselves.