Sounds like an awful lot of saber-rattling for retaliatory deeds that aren't rising above the minor economic level so far. Besides which is that the "threat" from Turkey amounts to shooting down Russian combat aircraft that have been invading Turkish airspace continually for the past two-plus months. It seems like that's more of a Russian threat, intended to provoke just such incidents as have now occurred in order to provide Czar Vlad with a pretext for a full-scale attack on Turkey. To which the Turkish retort is simple: Stop invading our airspace and we'll stop shooting down your warplanes.
I also get the feeling that the Turks aren't taking Vlad's bait, and that's causing him and his minions to up the rhetorical ante in the war of words:
President Vladimir Putin is "fully mobilized" to tackle what the Kremlin regards as an unprecedented threat from Turkey following the shooting down of one of its warplanes by a Turkish F-16 Falcon, the Russian leader's spokesman said on Saturday.
Putin is "fully mobilized"? Sounds like a sexual double entendre, doesn't it?
In comments which underscore how angry the Kremlin still is over the incident, Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, called the behavior of the Turkish air force "absolute madness" and said Ankara's subsequent handling of the crisis had reminded him of the "theatre of the absurd."
"Madness," perhaps; "theater of the absurd"? Hardly. Otherwise how would the Turks have managed to shoot down the Flanker and Fencer? You'd think, under that circumstance, that they'd have missed, or perhaps fired silly string instead.
"Nobody has the right to traitorously shoot down a Russian plane from behind," Peskov told Russia's News on Saturday TV program, calling Turkish evidence purporting to show the Russian Su-24 Fencer jet had violated Turkish air space "cartoons".
"Traitorously"? Wouldn't that have required another Russian plane to have done the shooting? I know Peskov is trying to talk tough here, but it's still important to talk coherently as well.
Peskov said the crisis had prompted Putin, whose ministers are preparing retaliatory economic measures against Turkey, to "mobilize" in the way an army does in tense times.
"The president is mobilized, fully mobilized, mobilized to the extent that circumstances demand," said Peskov.
He said "mobilized" three times in four words. I hope he doesn't stay that way for longer than four hours, or he'll have to go to the hospital.
"The circumstances are unprecedented. The gauntlet thrown down to Russia is unprecedented. So naturally the reaction is in line with this threat."
He only said "unprecedented" twice, which I guess means that the circumstances are less "unprecedented" than Vladimir Putin is "fully mobilized". When, of course, the circumstances are nowhere near "unprecedented," and I can tell you all that without having the faintest idea what context he's using for that hyperventilating phrase.
Whether Vladimir Putin is "fully mobilized" at this particular moment in time I have no way of directly determining, and I am totally okay with that.
But all this blustering tells me that the Russians are not militarily mobilizing against the Turks, but at most attempting to goad them into further provocations in order to have sufficient PR cover for genuinely retaliating.
Turkey is, bottom line, a distraction for Putin, but one he's willing to exploit if doing so can hasten the disintegration of NATO. Otherwise, as Loki said to the Chitauri leader, he "is but words".
Hard not to notice that Russian planes were conducting airstrikes right on the Turkish-Syrian border yesterday without a peep coming from the Turks. Looks like those words might just be sufficing - for now.