as a means of persuasion
The landing of Tu-160 heavy bombers at the Libertador airfield
in Venezuela is the latest step in the new Cold War.
This is a clear show of force. The United States, which is
deploying its own security system in Eastern Europe, should
think about the risk posed by its potential enemy’s combat
aircraft appearing in its own backyard. Moreover, Russian
warships will soon be plying Venezuelan waters. The two countries
are planning to hold joint naval military exercises.
These games started in the 19th century when global confrontation
was unfolding between the Russian and British empires. Both
sides used ships to fly their flags in key regions. This is
how they signalled each other their readiness and ability
to defend their interests.
The appearance of Russian bombers in the Caribbean can be
interpreted in various ways. Geopolitically, this step is
designed to remind Washington of the need to listen to what
other countries have to say. After all, if the United States
is deploying more and more military sites near the Russian
borders, it would be strange not to expect an adequate response
from Moscow. The landing of Tu-160 bombers capable of carrying
considerable nuclear ordnance shows that such a response is
Militarily, the landing of the Russian bombers is nothing
extraordinary, but the possibility of their regular appearance
in the region should compel the United States to think about
Historically, the main U.S. air and missile defence forces
face the North Pole, as the main directions of potential nuclear
strikes pass over the Arctic Ocean. As a result, the southern
direction is much less protected, and the emergence of a potential
threat from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico will come
as a very unpleasant surprise, considering that the Pentagon’s
budget is already overstretched.
The United States should understand that its attempts to isolate
Russia through expanding NATO and deploying missile defence
elements will lead nowhere. Moscow will find an adequate military
response as well as the countries ready to help it overcome
the NATO barrier, which is not insurmountable even now. Eventually,
this understanding should prompt the United States to work
for compromise. However, the messianic mentality of many American
politicians, including presidential nominee John McCain, may
prevent Washington from reaching compromise.
They are absolutely convinced that they are right, and do
not care for the other side’s position. This attitude can
only aggravate any conflict. If Mr. McCain wins the presidential
elections, he is not likely to unleash a third world war,
but the conflict between Russia and the United States may
well backslide into the direct military confrontation of the
1960s-1980s, aggravated by the global economic crisis.
At the same time, Russia cannot accept a situation where European
security architecture is being built without it, and mostly
against it. Moreover, the designs for it are being made by
a country that is not even part of Europe.
National security interests require that Russia’s opinion
should be considered. The United States will either recognise
Russia’s right to vote on European security, or will have
to face totally new methods of persuasion. At one time, to
have U.S. missiles removed from Turkey, the Soviet Union did
not stop at unleashing the Cuban missile crisis. Soviet missiles
were soon withdrawn, but the goal was achieved. Having realised
the extent of threat, the United States removed its missiles
from the Soviet borders.
It is very uncomfortable to live in a world where superpowers
use thermonuclear arguments to persuade each other of the
need to think about collective security. Hopefully, the landing
of Tu-160 bombers and the appearance of warships will be enough
to make the United States think about the potential risks.
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