That’s a question buzzing around Washington these days. My friend Eliot Cohen, a former State Department counselor who is now a professor of strategy at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, tells me he is “convinced that the Russians will try to get even."
Indeed, the Russians have a reputation of tit-for-tatting especially in the Middle East, when they have been offended by local groups. But obviously hitting back at the U.S. is a different question.
I would think this issue right now is on the desks of the defense secretary, the director of national intelligence, and the national security advisor. What could Putin do? Well, he could respond with a massive hacking effort against U.S. forces in Syria. (Headline: “Russian Bots on the Ground”) Someone else I know suggests that they might attempt to knock down a U.S. aircraft, particularly an AC-130.
A major puzzler for Putin: How to do it without unnecessarily humiliating Donald Trump? I think to cast it as an attack on the American “deep state.” I don’t think many people will buy that. At least I hope not. But then, I thought they’d see through Trump, so what do I know?
My own guess is that the people who should be most worried are American mercenaries (AKA “private military contractors”) working for the CIA in the Middle East. They would be the prime targets in a response intended to send such a message. Might be in Syria, but also could be in Iraq or Yemen.
Dashcam footage from a freeway commuter shows the moment a pilot ejected from an F-16 military jet last week, releasing a parachute before the aircraft slammed into a Riverside County, California warehouse.
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.