CNN quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow Jorge Benitez on NATO’s strategy regarding Russian defense threats:
NATO announced late last year that it intercepted more than 400 Russian military planes in 2014 alone — a 50 percent increase from the previous year.
Then there was the Russian jet that in May came within 10 feet of an American military plane in international airspace above the Black Sea.
“You don’t have to fly 500 feet above a ship to do intelligence-gathering,” Jorge Benitez, a NATO expert at the Atlantic Council, said. “(Putin) is trying to use these threats to push back on the West and say, ‘I’m willing to do these things to get you out of my sphere of influence.'”
“I think we’re going to be seeing more and more of this,” said Benitez, who is not alone in arguing that the Obama administration is not doing enough to beat back Russian aggression. Republicans in Congress and others in Washington are calling for Obama to green light lethal aid to the Ukrainians.