It's been awhile. It takes awhile. It's been five years. Four star Marine General Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went to Moscow. He was invited there by four star Russian GRU General Baluyevskiy. George Bush Jr. was president. General Pace was invited to attend a ceremony, placing a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. General Pace was allowed to wear his uniform on Russian soil. The mission was to help further "cooperation" with the Russian military. That was the mission.
Did anything happen? No. Did the army go on maneuvers with the Russian army? No. Did the Navy go on a joint naval exercise with the Russian Navy? No. Did the Air Force land any F-18A's on the tarmac in Moscow, so the Russians could look at our jets and we could look at their MIGs 29's. No. It is not that George Bush Jr. didn't try. It is not that General Pace didn't try. Vladimir Putin was president. He was in the Soviet KGB for 15 years. He also headed up the FSB before he became president. At the time there were problems abounding in the Russian media. Putin was also working on a system of taxation to pay for their "New Democracy," their "Sovereign Democracy." So, nothing happened. Keep in mind, that Russia's movement toward democracy is 19 years old. Our democracy is 235 years old. The big bad Cold War Soviet Russian Bear, is now the "baby bear at democracy." Maybe it was too soon.
Now here is the problem. You can't deny that the following is "part" of the Legacy of the Cold War between our military and the Russian military. Late in the 1980's a Soviet nuclear submarine was on patrol in the North Atlantic. An American nuclear submarine was on patrol in the same area. Once the submarines detected each other, they vectored around each other. Then both submarines set a course straight toward each other! Then, both submarines "rammed" each other-in the middle of nowhere, in the North Atlantic! The Russians were so stubborn--they wouldn't get out of the way. Our Navy was so stubborn--they wouldn't get out of the way. So two nuclear submarines hit head on. The small cryptic article in the paper said, "One of the submarines received a dent." Didn't say which one.
Hard headed people back then.
Now these were "nuclear" submarines, with a complement of armaments, which you don't even want to mention around the kids these days.
Is this "the last" thing that we did with the Russian Navy during the cold war? Thank fully not. It was the "next to the last" thing.
Sometime later, about 18 months, an American Naval Surface vessel, tied up to a Russian Naval Surface vessel, in the North Atlantic. The American captain had been in the military his whole life and was a WWII veteran. He got on board the Russian ship. He had lunch with the Captain of the Russian ship. There just so happened to be a video camera on board the American ship. So they video taped this "meeting at sea." The Russians insisted that we toast. I believe they drank some Vodka. We can blame it on the Russians. But, the American Navy captain was so happy; he was so pleased, that he was finally meeting his counterpart in the Russian Navy during the Cold War. The Department of Defense was so happy, that finally our military was "getting to know our enemy." You could tell by watching the video. It is in the library. You can order a copy from the Department of Defense, or get an Inter--library loan. As far as I know it was never on TV.
Maybe one day, our Navy will go on a joint naval exercise with the Russian Navy. We haven't yet. No submarines, no aircraft carriers, just surface vessels in order to practice air-sea rescue operations. They have ship radios. Our radio operators could play a game of chess with the Russians. They like chess. That's communication. We have cell phones, military walkie-talkies, GPS, Morse code, semaphore-all to practice "communications" and cooperation with the Russian military. We even have the capability to bounce a signal off of a Russian Military satellite. They have the capability to bounce a signal off of one of our Military satellites-if anybody would let them. We could land an American helicopter on a Russian ship. We never have. They never have.
But why? There is over 4 billion dollars in the Pentagon's budget for disasters. After the last major earthquake in Pakistan, our Navy went to help. At the end of the Gulf War, George Bush Sr. had the troops stop off in Bangladesh to help after a tidal wave hit there. We might need to. Besides we would get to "know our enemy," if Russia is still our enemy. At the moment they are the "baby bear at democracy." Also, if we had a naval exercise with part of the Russian navy, it would be all over the internet. Our Navy has a submarine with two wheels on it that was used recently to do a geological survey of the ocean floor off the coast of Texas. It was on the internet. Kids wrote book reports for school. If we were on operations with the Russians, maybe somebody would write a book report. It would help alleviate the latent fear in the American public, including some of the kids, which are now teenagers, and the adults-fear of the Russians, which still persists in the media and public. People could see, that we "are" working together, and will in the future. General Pace would say, "That would be cooperation."
We cannot leave as our "legacy," that two nuclear submarines collided with each other between the American Navy and the Russian Navy.
Interestingly enough, Vladimir Putin was not even in Moscow when this video was made of the "meeting at sea." He was with the KGB in East Berlin. He has probably never seen this video. He could go down to Lubyanka Square to the old headquarters of the Soviet KGB. Maybe there is a copy there? Our Department of Defense gave a couple of copies to the Russian Admiralty as a courtesy. Maybe the video is down at the headquarters of the Russian Admiralty. Maybe someday somebody will put it on Mr. Putin's desk. If would be nice if someone saw how happy the Navy was. It was one of the few bright spots during the cold war. It is down at the Admiralty, sir.
At any rate, George Bush Jr. is still around. Gen. Pace is retired recently. Maybe one day their combined efforts will come to fruition, and we will move on to a better legacy between our two militaries, and our Navy and the Russian Navy.