[…] Our event database illustrates both the offensive and defensive sides of the geopolitical equation. Show of force and freedom of navigation activities, especially by the United States and NATO, have pushed aircraft and naval operations into areas that hitherto had seen little, if any, probing by the opposing sides since the height of the Cold War.
Take, for example, the deployment of U.S. strategic air assets from bases in the United States to the European theater. Over the last three years, these bomber task force deployments have steadily increased the U.S. presence in northern Europe, especially in Norway and its adjoining seas, with B-1, B-2, and B-52 missions above the Arctic Circle and over the Barents Sea. U.S. and allied navies have also extended their show of force and freedom of navigation operations into the same area — including a carrier strike group — for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
These naval demonstrations are highly visible and demonstrate significant offensive capability. At least three allied multinational task forces have conducted patrols into the Barents Sea which, given the vast Russian military establishment there centered on the Northern Fleet, drew considerable attention from Moscow. NATO and Russia are engaged in an ongoing geopolitical drama, one in which the actors are willing and perhaps driven to increase the tempo and expand the arena in which it plays out. This makes dangerous military interactions, both at sea and in the air, much more commonplace and virtually guarantees more of the same all along the NATO-Russian frontier. Läs artikel