BYOB? — US and UK F-35s operate from UK Carrier against ISIS | Charles Duelfer

BYOB? — US and UK F-35s operate from UK Carrier against ISIS

UK and US F-35s have conducted strike missions against ISIS targets from the new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. ( ) This is good news.  It points to the potency of close allies working together.  We draw strength in many ways from allies.  As difficult as it is to manage coalitions and allied relationships, the joint benefits are substantial.*  Common operating procedures, communications, intelligence and equipment provide great strength.  The absence of this is weakness. 

Hence, the problem posed by the decision of Turkish President Erdogan to purchase Russian S-400 air defense system–a big win for Putin.  First deliveries occurred in 2019 and in response, the US cut Turkey off from the F-35 program.  First test launches came in 2020 and the Trump administration levied sanctions. However, neither Trump nor Biden have been able to convince Erdogan to reconsider this move.  Turkey’s interests and NATO’s interests are complicated to say the least. But having a Putin ally as part of the NATO integrated military can not work.

So, its good to see US aircraft operate from a UK carrier.  No doubt there are complications of coordination, e.g. is it a BYOB (bombs) invitation? But better to have more options than less.

* As Churchill is quoted in 1945, “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.”

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