Gary Bauer / Apr. 15, 2016

Putin Flexes Muscles

Russian President Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles again. Two days this week Russian aircraft buzzed a U.S. destroyer conducting drills in the Baltic Sea. On Monday, two Russian SU-24 fighter jets made several “close-range and low altitude passes” over the USS Donald Cook as it was conducting deck landing helicopter drills. The Russian harassment continued the next day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles again. Two days this week Russian aircraft buzzed a U.S. destroyer conducting drills in the Baltic Sea.

On Monday, two Russian SU-24 fighter jets made several “close-range and low altitude passes” over the USS Donald Cook as it was conducting deck landing helicopter drills. The Russian harassment continued the next day.

On Tuesday, a KA-27 Helix helicopter circled the Cook seven times at low altitude. After the helicopter left the area, the SU-24s came back and made 11 passes over the Cook, while failing to respond to repeated safety warnings in both English and Russian. One official told CNN that the maneuvers amounted to “strafing runs without firing any weapons.”

A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman defended the aggressive actions, claiming the Cook was 45 miles from Russian military facilities in Kaliningrad. U.S. officials insist the ship was 75 miles away.

Putin has been pushing the envelope, especially in Eastern Europe. In October, Admiral Mark Ferguson, commander of the NATO Allied Joint Force Command, warned:

“The language coming from the Russian military reflects the mindset and actions characteristic of direct challenge and confrontation with NATO… This remilitarization of Russian security policy is evident by the construction of an arc of steel from the Arctic to the Mediterranean… This is a sea denial strategy focused on NATO.”

That same month, the U.S. Navy intercepted two Russian aircraft near the USS Ronald Reagan.

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described Vladimir Putin as a “risk taker.” Panetta said that Putin would continue pushing until someone calls his bluff. No doubt many pundits will insist that we can’t risk “provoking” the Russians. But it is Putin who is doing the provoking.

When Putin sent military forces into Syria, he provoked NATO by flying his jets into Turkish airspace. Turkey shot one of them down. And what did Putin do about it? Absolutely nothing. Had Turkey not shot that jet down, Putin would be regularly violating Turkish airspace.

Two Years Later

It’s been two years since the radical Islamists of Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 280 girls from the town of Chibok, in northeastern Nigeria. Some managed to escape, but more than 200 have never been heard from since.

How is that possible? After all, Michelle Obama and the Hollywood left quickly launched an aggressive campaign of hashtag diplomacy.

Unfortunately for the parents of the Chibok girls and the rest of us who want to see radical Islam defeated, jihadis don’t care about diplomacy and hashtags aren’t very effective against guns and bombs.

ISIS Threatens Muslim Democrats

The latest edition of Dabiq, the ISIS propaganda magazine, calls on jihadists in the West to “Kill the imams of kufr [disbelievers or apostates] in the West.” The magazine reportedly identifies nearly two dozen high pro-file Muslims in the West who, according to ISIS, reject true Islam and should be killed.

Among those on the ISIS hit list: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Clinton advisor Huma Abedin, Rashad Hussain, a former envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mohamed Elibiary, a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, Arif Alikhan, a former official at the Department of Homeland Security and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) national executive director Nihad Awad.

As long as the “JV team” stuck to killing Christians, the left never seemed terribly bothered by radical Islam. Now that it is issuing fatwas against American Muslims and Democrats — that has to be some sort of micro-aggression or something — perhaps the left will take the threat posed by the Islamic State more seriously. But I’m not holding my breath.

Political Update

  • 27,000 New Yorkers turned out for a Bernie Sanders rally in Manhattan [Wednesday] night. […]

  • Donald Trump continues to beef up his campaign, adding veteran GOP strategist Rick Wiley to his team. Wiley previously served as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign manager. Wiley is the latest in a string of big time consultants and lobbyists to join the Trump campaign, including Ed Brookover and Paul Manafort.

  • Florida Senator Marco Rubio insists he doesn’t want to be vice president. But Senator Ted Cruz said [Wednesday] that Rubio inspired him to run for the Senate, adding that Rubio “would be someone that you would be a fool not to look at seriously. He’s very, very talented.”

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