Re: BBC on SU-27 crash
- From: darsiaubas@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: 23 Sep 2005 19:47:40 -0700
Eugene Holman wrote:
> > The Lithuanian press is completely justified in asking - what exactly
> > is NATO doing for us ? I think that question deserves an answer.
> You ask an important question and it deserves a serious answer. Indeed,
> this entire affair is the first major test of what it means and doesn't
> mean for the Baltic countries to be NATO members.
> First the bad news. Nobody is going to risk a thermonuclear war with
> Russia over a minor airspace violation in Lithuania. Neither is there any
> great desire in the West to risk a repeat of the KAL-007 tragedy, when a
> Korean airliner with 269 people aboard was shot down deep in Soviet
> territory after having violated Soviet airspace twice
The Lithuanian event wasnt a surprise. NATO forces knew they were
coming. What I dont understand is why NATO forces werent also in the
air observing a military excersize being held very very near its
> NATO jet interceptors and fighters going to be flying over the Baltics
> patrolling their airspace twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It
> is always going to take some time for the pilots to get to their airplanes
> and have them in the air.
Again, this wasnt an event that wasnt known to NATO previously. You
dont have to fly 24x7 when Russia had notified NATO in advance that
this flight was going to occur.
> Unfortunately, the Baltic countries are so
> small, and modern jet aircraft can fly so fast, that in the case of a
> hostile violation of Baltic airspace the damage would be done before NATO
> could mount a robust response.
I know. I know. Having 2 or 3 jets at Zuokniai is hardly a hardened
forward force built to respond. They are there basically as scouts.
Theyre there to watch whats going on along NATO's frontier with Russia.
Logic would then suggest that NATO fighters should have been in the air
observing the passing of armed military aircraft that was flying as
part of an excersize meant to simulate a NATO attack on Kaliningrad.
Why werent they observing ?
> It is to defend itself against this type of flagrant aggression and
> land-grabbing, the type threatened against Lithuania a few days ago in the
> State Duma by LDPR (Zhirinovsky and his crowd) representative Viktor
> Alksnis, that NATO exists. If Lithuania were a Moldova or Armenia, the
> Russians would long ago have emulated former American president Jimmy
> Carter and mounted an operation to save the "hostage".
The Russian fringe political response was purely for domestic
consumption. The response was meant to cover:
A) Their airplanes are falling apart literally in mid air
B) The pilot was captured and the black box seized
No one should be concerned for the piot. He has an entire hotel to
himself and his wife - a very nice hotel. Should Russia respond with a
small force to free him from superior food and accomodation ?
And, as I wrote in another post - I think Russias response to this
incident has alot to do with Lithuania being a former unwilling member
of the failed soviet experiment. If this crash had occured in Sweden or
Denmark the Russian response would have been completely different.
> as Uno Hu[i] and
> Henry Alminas seem to be suggesting, is, as the facts stand now, too
> diabolical to be taken seriously, even if it cannot be categorically
> dismissed. As Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has stated, only an
> "idiot" would do reconnaissance missions by crashing a $35,000,000
> airplane. There are easier and less expensive ways available to do such
It was clearly an accident and the pilot did circle for a while to burn
up fuel before he ejected above rural farm area. He certainly took as
much care as he could to avoid damage and/or injury.
Again, I'm not so concerned with the crash. I'm concerned that the
aircraft was well inside Lithuanian territory before any response was
> So, Lithunia is not getting absolute impermeability of its airspace by
> NATO membership, nor should it expect that, given its geography and the
> nature of its neighbor.
No, I dont expect that. What I expect is that the NATO forces at
Zuokniai respond to the mission they were posted in Zuokniai for and do
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