Swedish media is reporting that four Russian military aircraft armed with nuclear weapons flew into Swedish airspace last month. According to those reports, two Russian tactical bombers and two escort planes briefly crossed into Swedish airspace over the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. The intruders were quickly chased back into international waters by Swedish fighters.
Defense analyst Bob Maginnis tells AFN the world is entering another 1950s-style Cold War with Russia.
"Flying with nuclear weapons is something that we did routinely in the Cold War. They were always off the coast of Alaska and even not too far from California," he describes. "As well, there were nuclear submarines right off our East Coast right here in the United States."
But in the case of the Gotland flyover, Maginnis says Russian President Vladimir Putin was sending a message to the Nordic country that it should not join NATO, something politicians in Sweden are debating. That's the same excuse Putin used to justify his invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its sixth week.
Maginnis, senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, contends Putin is trying to return Russia to its glory days of the 19th century.
"If you don't agree with him, you're a Nazi or you're fascist," he says of Putin's demeanor. "He's been using the term 'new Russia' – there's a Russian term for that – which is something that used to be part of the Russian empire [and] which includes the entire area of Eastern Ukraine, to include Mariupol, to include Odesa, and of course the eastern part of Moldova."
And while Putin's mindset worries Maginnis, it's President Joe Biden's condition that alarms him.
"He can't seem to control his tongue, nor his memory," says the national security expert. "We've seen [him make] all sorts of terrible geo-political mistakes. He sets [U.S.] policy – and yet the man can't control his tongue."
Biden has been criticized recently for suggesting it was time for a regime change in Russia and that U.S. troops will be heading to Ukraine – something he has stated unequivocally isn't an option on the table. The White House and administration officials were forced to walk back and/or try to clarify those comments soon thereafter.