Russia’s Desert Storm Moment in Syria by Cmdr. Daniel Dolan, USN (Retired), USNI News
Russia is having its Desert Storm moment in Syria. The near-daily release of Russian fighter cockpit videos and missiles being launched from Russian ships in the Caspian Sea is making millions of Russians feel proud and strong. For instance, on Oct. 21, Russian media reported that 53 strike sorties struck 72 “terrorist targets.” Oddly those same reports are even convincing some in the United States that Russia is somehow more effective in Syria than the United States and its allies.
Like many Americans in 1990–91, the autumn of 2001, and the spring of 2003, daily film clips fed to news outlets of guided bombs hitting targets on the front lines serves to boost the morale of the home audience. The public fascination with precision-guided weapons video, and videos of the first combat use of Tomahawk cruise missiles from Navy ships first took root in Desert Storm, and images of such precision and power left an impression that still lingers in the minds of many Americans. Twenty-six years later the use of combat footage to stir popular passions in Russia is an important secondary effect on which Vladimir Putin is capitalizing.
We — however — should not be so impressed. To the under-informed critics reacting to the Russian media onslaught with claims that the United States and Coalition allies are “doing nothing,” imagine if you will that the United States and Coalition released daily “best of” clips of airstrike footage from the battle against ISIS…