Russia sent a July 4th "greeting" on America's Independence Day when two Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers buzzed the fringes of U.S. airspace over the Pacific.
The intended message: "We're still here and we're still a relevant foe."
The unintended message: "Our military is largely decrepit and most of our strategic bombers still use propellers."
Yes, the Tu-95 has some advanced gizmos on it and can launch nuclear missiles. But it's a visual reminder of sorts (for me, anyway) that Putin still has not re-made the Russian military into a modern fighting force.
There has reportedly been a process underway in Russia to create a modern professional military free of the pervasive corruption and ineptitude and abuse of conscripts that has made evading military service an annual rite of survival for young Russian men.
But reports are that the military reform effort's not going so well. Maybe that's because when it comes to corruption in Russia and the Russian military, this fish rots from the Kremlin, Mr. Putin.
Thanks for the antique airshow on the Fourth.