Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Russians are coming?

Bloomberg reports on an Isvestiya story where a “highly placed source” says that if a U.S. missile defense system is deployed in Europe, Russia may send long-range bombers to Cuba. The Washington Post reports that a Russian defense ministry spokesman would not comment, but did not deny the report. Reuters reports that:

The Kremlin declined immediate comment. The Defence Ministry questioned the story, saying it was written under a false name and quoted a source at an organization that did not exist.

There seems to be no word, in these reports or elsewhere, on what Cuban authorities thought about the idea, if indeed it was ever proposed to Havana.

Meanwhile, Professor Jaime Suchlicki of the University of Miami doubts that Raul Castro would welcome Russian bombers. But in his essay speculating that a “more ominous and difficult crisis” than that of 1962 “may be brewing in the Caribbean,” he says Venezuela just might accept them.


Anonymous said...

These reports, speculations etc. coming from Russia, must have come as a not so nice surprise to the Cuban dictatorship. The thought that a distant power is planning this or that with Cuba in mind without even mentioning Cuban authorities is very strange. I also think Raúl Castro, or whoever is charge there, does not like the idea.

leftside said...

Cuba would have been informed if the plan was serious and had reached a certain stage. We don't know where the policy was in the bureaucracy, but it is probably one of many Russian counter-offensives into being planned to test US spheres, as we increasingly encroach theirs.

I do think the Venezuela idea, rather that Cuba, is very interesting. In Moscow today, Chavez said said that Venezuela would give any Russian forces a "warm welcome." This first public US comment - from a (usually cautious) high ranking General was that this would be a "red line." That is a bold challenge to Russia, who surely has the right to refuel bases wherever it can - as the US does.

BTW, Medvedev said today (in his first meeting with a foreign leader) that "Venezuela is now the most important partner of the Russian Federation." A stunning example of the failure of Bush's policy of sanctions and demonizations on Venezuela (which seemed intent to follow the failures in the early 60s with Cuba). There is a reason why history is repeating.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes. I think Venezuela would be more useful, from a Russian point of view, than Cuba, thank God. Poor,little Cuba has enough problems already. NO need to redo the "October Crisis".