It would seem that the Russian military has decided that overflying our aircraft carriers is the new cool. From the Washington Post:
A long-range Russian bomber buzzed the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean last weekend, while a second bomber circled about 50 miles away, U.S. officials said. The Nimitz scrambled fighter jets to intercept the Russian warplanes.
In a statement carried Tuesday by Russian news wires, Russian air force spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said the Tu-95 bombers conducted their Saturday flight "in strict compliance with the international rules of using airspace over neutral waters and without any violation of other countries' borders."
In case you had a little trouble reading between the lines, that's Soviet-speak for, "Ya, we flew over your carrier; what you gonna do 'bout it?" We can probably expect more of this sort of thing in the months and years to come:
Last August, Russian President Vladimir Putin [affectionately known to this blog as Pooty-Poot] revived the Soviet-era practice of long-range patrols by strategic bombers over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans....
Asked what message he thought the Russians were sending, [Adm. Gary] Roughead, [Chief of Naval Operations,] said, "I think what we are seeing is a Russian military... particularly in the case of the navy, desiring to emerge as a global navy."
Although "it's not prudent to fly over an aircraft carrier," he said, "we knew they were coming. We saw them coming. We detected them at the appropriate time. We launched our alert aircraft, who escorted the Russian aircraft." He said the United States has not asked for an explanation, nor have the Russians offered one.
*(We'd also like to thank them for the headline, which we ganked.)