Top U.S. Commander Says It’s Time To Give Putin A Taste Of His Own Medicine
Less than a week after Russian fighter jets repeatedly buzzed a US Navy destroyer in the Baltic sea, Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti tells the Senate Armed Services Committee he’s not going to take it any more, “everything is on the table.”
“All Options, Including Military Force, Should Be Available”
The Commander of U.S. forces in Europe said all options, including military force, should be available as Washington considers its response to Russian aggression against American forces operating in eastern Europe.
For two days, Russian pilots “made numerous, close-range and low-altitude passes” by the US Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook, Navy officials said. A move condemned by NATO and the Pentagon as “unsafe and unprofessional.”
At his confirmation hearing Gen. Scaparrotti said he will “respond in kind” if U.S. interests are endangered in any way by Russia’s actions. He then suggested that Russia’s aggressive attitude may be President Vladimir Putin’s way of “deliberately trying to break up NATO.”
Concerns about Russia’s ongoing show of force prompted the committee’s questions regarding the use of military action should Russian’s behavior continue led John McCain to ask Scaparrotti:
“Should [the United States] make an announcement to the Russians that if they place the lives of our men and women on board Navy ships in danger, that we will take appropriate action?”
The four-star general replied, “Sir, I think that should be [made] known,”
The general also said that in light of increasing Russian military activity, he supported expanding the size of the Army’s permanent presence in Europe in order to enhance U.S. credibility.
Gen. Scaparrotti confirmed that U.S. military forces will not surrender their right to operate in international waters, saying that U.S. military leaders, “should keep everything on the table,” including military action, as a possible response.
Russian officials have claimed that the USS Donald Cook incident was not meant as a provocation, but Secretary of State John F. Kerry said the Navy destroyer would have been justified in firing on the offending Russian aircraft.
“We’re back to the great powers competition,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson told the New York Times Thursday. “I don’t think many people understand the visceral way Russia views NATO and the European Union as an existential threat.”
VIDEO: Russian Fighter Jets Buzz US Navy Destroyer
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sources: US Navy, Washington Post, Youtube