In 1961 President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Khrushchev met in Vienna. Kennedy was woefully unprepared. Khrushchev came away unimpressed, marked Kennedy as a pushover, and made the fateful decision to move ahead with putting Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba, thus provoking the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Khrushchev was wrong about Kennedy. He came to the meeting in Vienna without adequate preparation, but he was a World War II combat veteran and not someone to be trifled with. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended with Khrushchev being forced into a strategic retreat before the whole world.
It is sixty years later. A new Russian despot, Vladimir Putin, has taken the measure of an American President, Joe Biden. Putin has found Biden compromised, incompetent, and surrounded by weaklings and cowards.
Putin is not wrong. Biden and his mandarins collectively are the weakest national security team ever fielded by the United States. Vlad will exploit this opportunity for everything it is worth and that may include putting Russian nuclear weapons in South and Central America.
Russia and the United States are locked in a confrontation over Ukraine. Moscow sees the continuing drift of Ukraine toward NATO as an existential threat. It is prepared to push back hard, particularly against an American President who just presided over the Afghan debacle.
Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peshov responded to direct questions about reported Russian plans to station missiles in Latin American countries by saying pointedly that “obviously, in the context of the current situation, Russia is exploring options that would ensure its security.”
American United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield attempted to project strength by saying, “I know that they’re trying to respond in a way to intimidate the world, but we’re not going to allow ourselves to be intimidated, nor will we allow Ukraine to be intimidated into compromising its own security.” Thomas-Greenfield is perhaps best known for her laudatory comments about Communist China’s role in Africa and her criticism of American racism, so she is unlikely to be taken particularly seriously by Putin and his cronies.
A week earlier, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov suggested that Russia was open to military deployments to Latin America. “I don’t want to confirm anything, I won’t rule anything out either,” he said.
On 18 December 2021, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko warned that if the U.S. and NATO rejected Russia’s demands to back off in Ukraine, Moscow would be forced to create a system of “counterthreats.” He did not elaborate on what the possible Russian “counterthreats” might be.
Russian commentators have been laying the groundwork for such deployments for some time. As long ago as the summer of 2021, in response to American cruise missile development, the argument was being made that it was necessary for the Russians to move forces into Latin America to address a supposed strategic imbalance.
“Russia has legal grounds, in response to the emergence of new weapons from the USA after leaving the INF Treaty, to deploy their submarines and ships with medium and shorter-range missiles in relative proximity to the U.S. borders,” Major General Vladimir Bogatyrev, a reservist and chairman of the Russian National Association of Reserve Officers.
Bogatyrev went on to suggest that Russian warships equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles could operate from Venezuela. The Kalibr has an estimated range of over 1500 miles. It can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons.
Russia has an existing naval agreement for port visits to Venezuela. For at least two years there have been reports concerning the establishment of a Russian airbase on the Venezuelan island of La Orchila. Russia also has agreements with both Cuba and Nicaragua for the use of their ports.
Speaking also in 2021, Alexander Sherin, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense said, “Maybe there will even be a Caribbean crisis 2, but it was the Caribbean crisis that allowed the Americans to cool off for a long time.” The Caribbean crisis is the term used in Russia for what Americans call the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Apparently, the American intelligence community is taking the possibility of Russian missiles being moved into Latin America very seriously. According to press reports, U.S. spy aircraft have been monitoring facilities used by the Russians in both Cuba and Venezuela almost continuously for the last several days.
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan recently dismissed Russian suggestions of possible deployments to Cuba and Venezuela as “bluster in the public commentary.” Sullivan added that “if Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively.”
Strong words. They would have more impact coming from an administration with a track record of strength and resolve. They do not.
The entire world knows that Biden is deeply compromised and incompetent. Everyone on the planet with an internet connection or television just watched the United States debacle in Afghanistan unfold live. They saw American military commanders reduced to asking for the assistance of the Taliban to get our people out alive.
The despots of the world also know that Biden is surrounded by men and women as spineless as he is. His cabinet is composed of people who negotiated the pathetic Iran nuclear deal, sold out to Communist China, and watched while China occupied the South China Sea.
We are stumbling into another Missile Crisis. This time our President is not a decorated war hero. He is a ‘mental incompetent’ who has spent his career selling himself to the thugs and dictators of the world. This will not end well.