On April 23, the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS John C. Stennis strike groups of the US Navy started dual operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The two strike groups include more than 10 ships, 130 aircraft and 9,000 Sailors and Marines.
“The CSGs will complete high-end warfighting training as they work multiple scenarios integrating the two air wings and surface ships with key allies and partners in the European theater,” the official US Navy release says.
This deployment is the first time two U.S. carriers have operated in the Mediterranean Sea at the same time since the Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman carrier strike groups were deployed to the region in 2016.
US Ambassador to Russia, Jon M. Huntsman Jr. met Naval Forces Europe and Africa commander Adm. James Foggo at the U.S. Navy base in Naples and make several remarks regarding the current state of the US-Russian relations.
“Each of the carriers operating in the Mediterranean at this time represent 100,000 tons of international diplomacy,” Huntsman said. “Diplomatic communication and dialogue coupled with the strong defense these ships provide demonstrate to Russia that if it truly seeks better relations with the United States, it must cease its destabilizing activities around the world.”
The simultaneous deployment of the two carrier strike groups is the demonstration of the US military power and an attempt to pressure Russia over its support to the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. According to circulating reports and even statement on high diplomatic level, the US is openly considering a military action in Venezuela after its attempt to overthrow the Maduro government with ‘soft measures’ failed.
Another goal is to demonstrate the US influence to “key allies and partners in the European theater”. Ukraine issues became especially important for the Washington establishment after comedian Volodymyr Zelensky achieved a decisive victory over Petro Poroshenko in the second round of the presidential election last weekend. While there are reasonable doubts that the real policy of the recent elected President Zelensky would differ significantly from those of Poroshenko, the high level of support gained by Zelensky apparently concerns Ukraine’s “Western partners”. In this situation, Washinton and its allies from the current government moved to make oneself safe from possible “unexpected changes” in the Ukraine policy.
Right now, Poroshenko-linked factions in the Ukrainian Parliament are garnering support for a parliamentary bill to weaken the presidency. In the event of success, the presidential power will be reduced significantly and Zelensky would less tools to influence the Ukrainian foreign and even internal politics without support from the Parliament, which is in a de-facto opposition to him.
One more goal of the large-scale drill is to secure the US interests in Libya. Washington seeks to prevent posible expansion of China or Russia in the region even if the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar gains control of Tripoli.
While the situation in Syria remains relatively calm with almost no signs of possible escalation, the pressure on Iran is among the key priorities of the US foreign policy in the Middle East. In some scenarios, the US public rhetorics towards Russia may appear just a cover operation for agressive actions against Iran. In this scenario, the US forces are concentrated in the region to be ready if the White House decides to order an attack on Iranian objects and Iran-affilated organizations in the Middle East.