THE USS TAYLOR HAS ENTERED THE BLACK SEA
|USS TAYLOR , PHOTO No. 140108-N-MJ645-059, U.S. Navy
According to the Russian source ITAR TASS the frigate USS TAYLOR entered the Black Sea on or about April 22, 2014. The U.S. Navy did not make any big formal announcement of the ship's movement that attracted much national media notice, but one can't pass into the Black Sea without passing through the narrow isthmus at Istanbul so there just is no such thing as a secret movement into the region. With the addition of the USS TAYLOR, NATO's naval presence in the vicinity of the Ukraine has increased to three units including the USS DONALD COOK, an Aegis missile defense system equipped vessel, and the French intelligence ship DUPY de LOME. In the U.S. Navy's official statement the mission of the TAYLOR is to" reassure NATO allies of the U.S. Navy's commitment to strengthen and improve interoperability while working toward mutual goals in the region." This appears to be the USS TAYLOR's second time in the Black Sea , the last apparently was between February 5 to March 5. The Taylor obviously was ordered to linger because of the Russian invasion of the Crimea. Their presence didn't stop the Russians from invading but it ticked them off since the continued presence violated the Montreux Convention which limits the presence of any war ships not home ported in a Black Sea Port to a 21 day maximum stay. Since Russia has a Black Sea fleet they may transfer anything they want from their Atlantic fleet to the Black Sea Fleet by merely changing the vessel's home port. This leaves Russia as the only Black Sea power able to build up naval power, from outside the region. The Bear prefers that NATO and the US always adhere exactly to all conventions of International law while the Bear adheres only to his own interpretations . The other two ships have been in the Black Sea since April 10 so they don't have a very long stay left if the Montreux convention is observed. Displaying little regard for the convention signals Russia that NATO is willing to launch naval task forces into the Black Sea is needed, that there had better be limits to Russian expansion in the region. Unfortunately when it comes to blinking first the Obama administration and the French are not a combination that we'd care to wager money on.