USS Destroyer Donald Cook Incident

20th April 2016 / United States

By Stephen Lendman – US ground, air and naval forces operating near Russia’s borders are willful provocations risking direct confrontation.

Imagine if Russia or China operated the same way – in America’s gulf, off its east or west coasts, on its Canadian or Mexican borders, or aerial patrols provocatively close to its airspace, perhaps at times penetrating it.

WW III might follow. Yet America practically claims a divine right to operate provocatively anywhere worldwide, blaming other nations for actions bordering on lawlessness, and too often crossing the line.

US warships routinely deploy close to Russian waters, including for provocative military exercises.

Russia’s Defense Ministry calls it US-led NATO “creating a naval battle group outside Russian borders” – including Crimea, home to its Black Sea Fleet.

The Aegis missile equipped USS Donald Cook was deployed provocatively close to Kaliningrad, Russia in the Baltic Sea (its exclave bordering Poland and Lithuania, its Baltic Fleet HQ).

Russian air, naval and ground forces monitor all US incursions close to its borders. The Pentagon accused Moscow of conducting “aggressive flight maneuvers…within close proximity of” its warship, despite knowing the aircraft were unarmed at the time.

Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov explained all military flights strictly follow international rules when overflying neutral waters.

Maneuvers performed near America’s warship complied “with all the necessary safety rules” – posing no threat to the vessel.

The Pentagon lied, claiming it was a “simulated attack,” even though Russian aircraft approached “wings clean,” without armaments, indicating no aggressive intent.

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John Kerry called the incident “reckless” and “provocative,” irresponsibly claiming “rules of engagement” could have authorized Russian aircraft to be shot down, adding “the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas.”

What’s going on? Moscow-based foreign correspondent John Helmer called the incident “long anticipated.” The Donald Cook conducted provocative naval exercises with Polish vessels about 70km offshore Kaliningrad and Russia’s military complex based there.

Two previous days of Russian sorties monitoring the Donald Cook were ignored. So why were two nonthreatening ones called a simulated attack?

The two Su-24s were armed with “electronic countermeasures, pods designed for jamming hostile gunnery and missile targeting systems,” Helmer explained.

“Commanders and their signals staff on board the Donald Cook” knew they weren’t threatened. They were being watched and warned.”

Deploying an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system aboard the Donald Cook violates the 2010 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, said Helmer.

The ship simulated an attack on Russian subsurface and shore-based systems, installed to defend against potential US Aegis missile attacks.

Russian aircraft were deployed as a self-defense measure – to monitor close up what the Donald Cook and other US warships are up to, along with vessels from other countries like Poland.

At the time of the latest incident, Helmer said Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz was at NATO headquarters in Brussels, meeting with US-installed Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Alliance commander General Philip Breedlove – both men notorious Russian haters.

Draw your own conclusions.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” Visit his blog site at

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