“Donald Cook” is back in the Black Sea. It would seem that this does not bode well: a US Navy destroyer has come, “will support allies and partners in the region”, will enter a couple of ports, shake his arms, the crew commander will say a few words about the “Russian threat”, and after 21 days, or even earlier, will leave the Black Sea region. The big picture is clear, but the interest is, as usual, in the details.
Upon arrival in the Black Sea, “Donald Cook” headed to the Georgian port of Poti. A military exercise was being held in the country, in which US instructors took part. Thus, “Cook” signified the presence of the American armed forces at sea, while US specialists participated in the maneuvers of the Georgian army.
A few days later, “Donald Cook” left Poti and headed to Varna, Bulgaria. There he continued to carry out the tasks of “supporting the allies in the region”, in other words, to be present in the territorial waters of Bulgaria. On the pier next to the destroyer, the ship’s crew celebrated Thanksgiving Day, a national American holiday. About three hundred people gathered in tents and arranged a buffet table, not caring about masks or social distance. Another significant case in the “achievements” of the US Navy.
Nevertheless, the question remains: what else will Cook do before it leaves its home port? And here there are two options. First, the destroyer will again try to provoke Russia so that in the future it can be presented in a negative light. Most often, provocations are carried out by entering the territorial waters of the state without the permission of the latter. True, for “Cook” this is fraught with the fact that patrol ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet can easily go to a ram, having significantly worn out the expensive equipment of the destroyer.
The second option is Turkey. The country’s relations with NATO have been very tense lately. The pan-Turkic sentiments of the country’s president, Recep T. Erdogan, and his aggressive actions in Nagorno-Karabakh, Cyprus, Iraq and Greece are displeasing both Russia and the United States. Therefore, it would be useful for the leadership of the Sixth Fleet to demonstrate their influence in the Black Sea as it often does with Russia.
Now that the Donald Cook has left the Black Sea area, it is safe to say that the command of the Sixth Fleet has chosen the second option. The Turkish direction became the main one in the Cook mission in the Black Sea. Be that as it may, one destroyer is not capable of drastically influencing either Russia or Turkey. “Donald Cook”, as usual, will shake her arms, stay in ports and leave. And only small countries like Bulgaria, Georgia and Ukraine are happy to receive such attention.