A Russian Su-24 fighter jet buzzes the USS Donald Cook, a guided-missile destroyer, on April 12 in the Baltic Sea. (Photo: U.S. Navy/Sipa USA/Newscom)
CNN: Experts: Putin flexes muscles with Russian-US military close calls
Washington (CNN)The repeated close encounters between Russian and U.S. warships and planes may not be an accident.
That's the view of analysts who are coming to believe that the risky Russian maneuvers -- there have been at least six close calls this year -- are part of Vladimir Putin's strategy aimed at challenging the U.S.'s global position and intimidating its European allies.
"The Russians believe that if they do a show of force, that they achieve results that promote their interests. In this case, it is a certain degree of intimidation," retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark told CNN.
Clark, who was NATO's supreme allied commander until 2000, added that it "shows that they (the Russians) are willing to stand up to the United States."
The Kremlin has been angered lately by NATO's effort to bolster its eastern flank amid increased Russian military activity in the region.
The Russian-U.S. military episodes have taken place all over the world, from the Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean to the Baltic and Black Seas.
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WNU Editor: Being one who grew up during the Cold War .... these encounters pale in comparison. But for today's generation .... I guess this is big. But my worry is what happens in the skies over Syria .... these fighter jets are operating very close to each other, and it will take only one misunderstanding and/or mistake that could change a "close encounter" into something more deadly.