With two U.S. aircraft carriers operating in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since 2016, it would be hard for Russia to miss the intended message.
But to hammer the point home, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman visited the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday, according to a 6th Fleet news release.
"Each of the carriers operating in the Mediterranean at this time represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy," Huntsman said in the news release. "Diplomatic communication and dialogue coupled with the strong defense these ships provide demonstrate to Russia that if it truly seeks better relations with the United States, it must cease its destabilizing activities around the world."
Ships from the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and other cruiser-destroyer units based at Naval Station Norfolk sailed into the Atlantic earlier this month for the East Coast's first Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training, or SWATT, exercise with a carrier group.
The United States Navy is conducting operational testing of the new Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter onboard USS Abraham Lincoln together with Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and other aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 7.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is objectively not the most nimble vehicle in the Pentagon’s arsenal. At 1,092 feet long, 252 feet wide and nearly 1,000 tons of naval engineering expertise, the nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft carrier wasn’t designed to chase Russian submarines or blow up Somali pirates, but to serve as a floating hub for American airpower across the planet. Its motto of “shall not perish,” culled from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, is no wishful thinking: the Lincoln wasn’t just built to fight, but endure.