Saturday, August 23, 2008

Building That Bridge from the 21st Century

If you have any doubts that Russia is pining for the glory days of the Soviet Union when Western leaders trembled when Russians pounded their shoes on the table, look no further than this:

Russia, once the island's top economic benefactor and military ally, has hinted at re-establishing a military presence in Cuba in a tit-for-tat for U.S. activities in Eastern Europe, including plans for a missile defense system, they said.

"Russia is clearly irritated at what it perceives as U.S. meddling in its neighborhood," said Cuba expert Phil Peters at the Lexington Institute in Virginia. "It seems to be sending a message that if you play on our periphery, we'll play in yours."

At the risk of "humiliating" the Russians with my disdain, I say they're welcome to come back.

I welcome Russian investment of their scarce resources in a government that is so weak that Russian aid will merely make Cuba a slightly smaller basket case.

Russian aid to Cuba made sense in the context of the Cold War when a Russian outpost on our sea lines of communication from Gulf of Mexixo ports to NATO Europe ran right by Cuba. A Cuba that could try to interdict our shipping should the Soviets have invaded NATO would have been very valuable to the Soviets even if all that interdiction did was tie down our naval and air power in our backyard. Had the interdiction slowed our reinforcements to Europe or sank some of the ships, all the better.

But today? Give me a break. Besides, as the article notes, I doubt the Cubans are foolish enough to trust the Russians after being abandoned by them once.