Thursday, July 24, 2008

On Memory Lane: the Cold War Continues

News is breaking of a US-Russian spat, reminiscent of a rather romantic episode in the good, old bipolar days of the Cold War - the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Russia's Izvestia newspaper this week quoted a "highly placed source" as saying Russia could land Tu-160 supersonic bombers nicknamed "White Swans" in Cuba in response to a planned U.S. missile defense shield in Europe that Moscow opposes.

Reuters in "Cuba silent on Russian bomber report: Fidel Castro" reports that former Cuban leader Fidel Castro on Wednesday said Cuba does not have to explain or "ask forgiveness" that Russia might use its Cold War ally Cuba as a refueling base for nuclear-capable bombers. He did not address whether the report was true or false, and Cuban officials have made no comment.

- Caption: August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph showing no construction at San Cristobal -

In marked contrast U.S. Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, that if the Russians did refuel the bombers in Cuba "we should stand strong and indicate that that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America."

According to Reuters, Russian officials have denied the Izvestia report. The Russophobe begs to disagree:

"The possible deployment of Russian strategic bombers in Cuba may be an effective response to the placement of NATO bases near Russia's borders," a former Air Force commander said on Monday.

Russian daily Izvestia earlier on Monday cited a senior Russian military source as saying that Russian strategic bombers could be stationed again in Cuba, only 90 miles from the U.S. coast, in response to the U.S. missile shield in Europe.

"If these plans are being considered, it would be a good response to the attempts to place NATO bases near the Russian borders," Gen. of the Army Pyotr Deinekin told RIA Novosti. "I do not see anything wrong with it because nobody listens to our objections when they place airbases and electronic monitoring and surveillance stations near our borders," the general said.

However, Deinekin said the possibility of Russian bombers being stationed in Cuba is largely hypothetical, because Russia's Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers are both capable of reaching the U.S. coast, patrolling the area for about 1.5 hours, and returning to airbases in Russia with mid-air refueling.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by former president Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out over 80 strategic patrol flights and have often been escorted by NATO planes.

Robert Kagan it would appear, has a point regarding history retaking its normal course after Europe's strong Kantian/Hegelian push for a global Utopia.

- Filed on Articles in "Freedom isn't Free" -


Lord James Bigglesworth said...

There is a definite US phobia, to go along with the Sinophobia and now the Britophobia.

The attitude of the government and people differ in certain respects. Any government will tap into fears deeply held by the people of an American invasion. All the evidence [to the Russian]is that the US is preparing in Poland, North Ossetia and so on for just such a thing.

The government can tap into that.

The fear of China has always been the reason for the Siberian development - to have Russians on hand when the yellows sweep across the borders. This is an old one.

Britain is a new one and has a lot to do with it going along with the US and hiding what the Russians see as state criminals in London. Hence Litvinenko and the tit for tat reprisals, in which I came a cropper.

BP is the latest [although they're global and part of that struggle]and yet the Russians are now desiring a thawing out of relations with Britain after they've done this.

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