On the heels of China and Russia conducting a joint naval operation off the coast of Alaska earlier this month, four Russian military aircraft were detected and tracked in the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) at the start of this week. Yet, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), "this Russian activity in the Alaska ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat."
Army Lt. Col. (Ret.) Darin Gaub, a former UH-60 Blackhawk pilot and co-founder of the nonprofit Restore Liberty, agrees that similar incidents have not been much of a concern in years past.
"[But] the world's changed," he tells AFN, "[and] this is looking a lot like provocation for a reason. [Russia and China] are looking for opportunities for America to make a mistake and react in such a way that causes our adversary to blame us for starting [a conflict]."
He contends that "the chances of that happening get exponentially higher every single time Russia or China does something like this."
Gaub admits being surprised the U.S. hasn't reacted in a fashion that causes "a flare-up" between the countries involved – and argues the two enemy nations are using "harassment" to elicit a response, "taking notes" if that happens. "They're watching our response times very closely, [including] what we respond with and how we do," he explains.
In addition, the retired Army officer says he wouldn't be surprised if radio communications are also being intercepted. "Based on their desires, they'll keep gathering info until they decide to move on whatever plans they might have," he continues. And those plans for China, arguably, include global dominance.
"… If you look at each of these events in itself, they don't look like a lot," he warns. "But when you put them all together, you start sensing the trend that foreign adversaries, specifically Russia and China, are testing us, looking at our strength and weaknesses all over the world," he explains.
Toward that end, both countries are watching America's response to the war in Ukraine and mounting tensions over Taiwan.
Unfortunately, Gaub laments, "the message from the Biden administration has been one of weakness, wokeness, a lack of readiness, and a lack of focus." For this reason, he warns: "These countries are more likely to make very dangerous moves in the next couple of years than at any time in the last 50 years or so."
The Associated Press reported today (Friday) that the U.S. has given its approval for the Netherlands to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine – although it isn't clear at this time when the first of those aircraft could be delivered. Netherlands if one of several countries in a Western coalition that last month pledged to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s. Washington must give its blessing because the planes are made in the United States.