Russian “Innovation”

I read an article in RIA Novosti this week entitled Russia’s Future Fighter Conquers The Skies about Russia’s new fifth generation fighter. I had to smirk a bit at the hyperbole (at which the Russians are masters)…by “conquers the skies” they meant “the pilot managed to get the thing into the air and land before killing himself”.
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When I read the news this morning, I saw that President Obama had made the trip to Dover Air Force base to honor those who had fallen in the line of duty in Afghanistan. My initial reaction was this: Here is a noble gesture I can give the president credit for. But as I clicked around various sites and saw photos of the president saluting as caskets were being carried off an Air Force transport, I began to get irritated. The irritation grew into anger, which grew into disgust.
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Sounds Familiar

On Sunday, a motley group of Chinese flagged vessels intercepted and impeded the navigation of the USS Impeccable, a surveillance ship taking sonar readings near China, in international waters. When the Chinese vessels got too close for comfort, the crew of the Impeccable first tried communicating with sailors on the vessels then, failing that, opened up on the ships with fire hoses. The Chinese responded by stripping down to their underwear, throwing wood in the path of the ship and blocked its path when it tried to exit the area.

Perhaps the Chinese intent here was to somehow force a collision, causing the ship to have to limp into a Chinese port where the crew could be interrogated and the ship examined. This may have been one of the Obama administration’s tests of which Joe Biden spoke during the election.

The Chinese, of course, have done this before. Early in the presidency of George W. Bush, a US Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft was struck by an intercepting Chinese jet over international waters. The US aircraft was so badly damaged it had to land at a Chinese airbase on Hainan Island in China. The crew was held for 12 days and the plane was not returned until months later. The Chinese were, of course, indignant about the entire affair and blamed the Americans. How the lumbering propeller driven EP-3 managed to ram a nimble J-8 Chinese fighter jet is still a mystery. The pilot of the jet, Lt. Cdr. Wang Wei was rewarded for his clownish airmanship with a one way ticket to his maker and something called the Guardian of Territorial Airspace and Waters by the Chinese government. Heroism runs in the Wang family, apparently. His father was recipient of the Keeper of the Outhouse and Gardening Implements of the Peoples’ Collective Number 813 Award.

The pilot of the American aircraft, Lt. Shane Osborn, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and is now the State Treasurer of Nebraska.