13:35 GMT +322 November 2019
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    This picture taken by the Republic of Korea Air Force on January 10, 2016 and released via Yonhap news agency shows a US B-52 Stratofortress (bottom R) flying with South Korean F-15K fighter jets (top) and US F-16 fighter jets (bottom L) over South Korea

    60-Year-Old B-52 Bomber 'Can’t Scare the Boots Off' America's Adversaries

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    Any hopes that a rash of B-52 flights near threatening regimes lately will "scare the boots off" Washington's foes have not proved to be true; a B-52 fly-by is not going to change the trajectory of the Obama administration’s foreign policy fecklessness, according to military correspondent L. Todd Wood.

    “There have been a rash of B-52 flights near threatening regimes lately, as obviously someone on the Obama administration national security staff has decided that the sight of a 60-year-old bomber will scare the boots off our adversaries,” L. Todd Wood writes in his article for The Washington Times.

    The author refers to the recent B-62 low level flight near Osan Air Base in South Korea, which is approximately 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the North Korean border.

    According to the Sunday statement of the US Armed Forces, it came amid an alleged recent nuclear test carried out by Pyongyang and was a demonstration of commitment to its allies in South Korea.

    "This was a demonstration of the ironclad US commitment to our allies in South Korea, in Japan, and to the defense of the American homeland," Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the US Pacific Command said, as quoted by the US media.

    The author also refers to another incident, when on December 10 two B-52s flew over Chinese man-made islands in the South China Sea.

    The Pentagon then said the flight was “unintentional” and the pilots had gotten lost due to bad weather.

    L. Todd Wood however argues that “in the age of GPS, nothing is accidental”.

    Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan
    © AFP 2019 / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO
    The military correspondent then referred to the bomber itself, recalling the history of its development.

    “The B-52 is so named because the first iteration of the aircraft’s design took its maiden flight in 1952. There are grandfathers around who flew the B-52 whose grandsons are now flying the same tail numbers.”

    “Yes, the Stratofortress is a formidable nuclear and conventional weapons platform. However, it is now, in the age of sophisticated air defense, a stand-off weapon system. It can launch nuclear tipped cruise missiles but that is about it as far as threatening North Korea or China goes. It cannot penetrate enemy airspace until air superiority has been obtained,” he notes.

    “I’m sure Adm. Harris believes what he says about the B-52 flight over Osan. However, I’m sure he also knows that real deterrence comes from having a strong, unmatchable military that can, if used, devastate any enemy. Real deterrence comes from a president saying what he means and meaning what he says.”

    “Evaporating red lines simply invite aggression,” he states.

    The military correspondent is convinced that the United States has let its military power atrophy. And the US  adversaries know this.

    “Our fiscal weakness is inviting military weakness. Machiavelli had it right, “It is better to be feared than loved.”

    L. Todd Wood fears the US is neither under this administration’s leadership.

    "A B-52 fly-by is not going to change the trajectory of the Obama administration’s foreign policy fecklessness," he says.

    In fact, it puts US Air Force aircrews in danger, he therefore states.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), atrophy, US foreign policy, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Obama Administration, US Air Force, South China Sea, United States
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