Fox News reporter generously adds N. Korea and ‘maybe Russia’ as intended audience of Pentagon's B-52 'elephant walk' in Guam
On Monday, the US Air Force covered for some of the publicity slack coming from the coronavirus-ridden Navy and conducted a drill at the Andersen Air Force Base on the Western Pacific island. This included an ‘elephant walk’ – taxying in a tight formation right before takeoff – by a dozen aircraft. The procession included five nuclear-capable B-52 Stratofortress bombers, six KC-135 Stratotankers, an RQ-4 Global Hawk long-range surveillance drone and the Navy’s MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter.
#ICYMI A @USNavy MQ-4C Triton, @usairforce RQ-4 Global Hawk, B-52 Stratofortresses, and KC-135 Stratotankers at Andersen AFB, Guam, perform an Elephant Walk April 13, 2020. The Elephant Walk showcases their commitment to ensure regional stability throughout the Indo-Pacific. pic.twitter.com/LUDdzh6a1k— PACAF (@PACAF) April 14, 2020
The ‘elephant walk’ originates from large-scale WWII-era bombing operations and has long been used as a way to show a capability to inflict a massive amount of damage in war. Though the Pentagon, understandably, said the exercise had proved its “commitment to ensure regional stability throughout the Indo-Pacific.” The demonstration came just days after the Chinese aircraft carrier 'Liaoning' and its strike group sailed near Taiwan, so it was quite clear what the demonstration was intended to counterbalance.
But why say you’ve shown your destructive power to merely one strategic adversary when you can lump in a couple of others? According to Lucas Tomlinson, who covers defense matters for Fox News, the flexing of American military muscle had not only China in its crosshairs, but also “North Korea and maybe Russia.”
In a message to China, North Korea and maybe Russia, U.S. Air Force puts B-52 bombers, tankers and drones on runway in Guam pic.twitter.com/R2zsOZy2ur— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) April 14, 2020
Whatever signal to Russia may have been there, it has apparently been lost in translation. The Russian-language media have ignored this latest exercise and had been interested in Guam of late only because of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which had to dock there due to a coronavirus outbreak. Outside of military buffs, the Russian public missed the American display.
Now, to be fair, Vladivostok, a large Russian port city in the Far East, is just 3,500km - well within a B-52’s striking range - from Guam, provided Japan allows passage to American bombers through its airspace for a raid. But one assumes Russian generals don’t need a photo opportunity to remind them of this fact, bearing in mind the deployment of S-400 long-range anti-aircraft batteries and interceptor jets in the area.Also on rt.com ‘We have too many ships at sea’: Pentagon says more Theodore Roosevelt-level coronavirus outbreaks are possible
Or maybe there was no message at all. After all, Fox News’ own report on the Guam elephant walk, to which Tomlinson contributed, doesn't mention Russia (or North Korea) at all and focuses on confrontation with China. Perhaps it just didn’t occur to the journalist that not every single thing happening in the US has a Russia angle, contrary to popular misconceptions.
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