A Warning from Moscow: Trump's Breach of Nuclear Treaty Would Free Russia to Install Missiles in Cuba
November 7, 2018
RT News & Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge.com
Donald Trump's unilateral plan to walk away from the crucial Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty has Moscow considering siting military facilities in Cuba. With the US already having installed bases and missiles along the Russian border, a senior Russian official has proposed that his country respond to Trump's provocation by building a military missile base inside Cuba. Moscow has warned that a failure of talks between the US and Russia could trigger "a new Cuban crisis."
Cuban Crisis 2.0?
Moscow Eyes Military Bases in Cuba after US INF Pullout
MOSCOW (October 31, 2018) -- Moscow's response to Trump's plans to quit the INF treaty could be to reinstall military bases in Cuba, the State Duma defense committee head said. He also predicted "a new Cuban crisis" if the US and Russia fail to come to terms.
The US is planning to walk away from the crucial Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, and Russia's response may well be in the spirit of those times -- namely, reactivating military facilities in Cuba. That is according to Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the State Duma defense committee and a former Airborne Troops commander.
Indeed, the Cuban government has to allow the Russian military back, and this is more about politics than defense issues, Shamanov speculated. "Assessing this scenario is underway, and [policy] proposals will come next," he told Russia's Interfax News Agency without elaborating.
This issue may be raised when Cuba's new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, visits Russia in early November. Diaz-Canel, a fresh face of Cuba's Communist Party, is wary of foreign military presence, but "politics is living matter," Shamanov said.
"Cuba has its own interests and it was hurt by US sanctions," he added.
Previously, the retired Airborne General urged Moscow and Washington to come to terms and get back to reconciliation. "If we don't stop it now and don't talk, we actually may create conditions similar to those [which led to the] Cuban crisis," he was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major confrontation that brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war in early 1960s. During the standoff, Moscow stationed Soviet nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba in response to the deployment of similar-class American missiles in Turkey.
Throughout the course of the Cold War, Russia operated a signals intelligence facility in Lourdes, Cuba. Opened in 1967, it was said to be the largest Soviet listening station abroad, with 3,000 personnel running the facility. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Lourdes base was downscaled, but continued operating up until 2001, when it stopped all operations.
Restoring Russia's military presence in Cuba would make a lot of sense, Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Homeland Arsenal magazine, told RT News. He said reactivating the Lourdes base should not require substantial funding, but it would allow the gathering of "interesting intelligence about Cuba's neighbor." He noted, however: "The times when we deployed missiles in Cuba will not come back."
Konstantin Sivkov, another military expert and a retired Navy officer, disagreed, stating it is unlikely the Russian military will return to the island. "[In the 1960s] we were forced to make this decision [to deploy missiles to Cuba] because we didn't have enough intercontinental ballistic missiles. Now we have."
US President Donald Trump sent shockwaves earlier in October when he promised to withdraw from the INF treaty, citing the evergreen 'Russia violated agreements' argument. Russia fired back, stating the US itself had breached the milestone accord by deploying ground-based missile interceptors in Eastern Europe.
Then-US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed the deal in 1987, and it went into effect the next year. This was the first time in history the two superpowers agreed to dismantle the entire class of ballistic missiles and conceded to mutual inspections.
Gorbachev himself recently attacked Trump, whose goal, he claimed, was to free the US "from any obligations, any constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles."
The first and only Soviet president said in an opinion piece for the New York Times that a new arms race is on and urged Russia to take "a firm but balanced stand."
Russia Eyeing Military Base in Cuba as
US Prepares to Leave Nuclear Missile Deal -- Russian Lawmaker
Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge.com
(October 31, 2018) -- A senior Russian official proposed that his country is seriously considering establishing a military base in Cuba in response to Trump’s plan to quit the INF treaty, predicting that "a new Cuban crisis" could erupt if the US and Russia fail to come to terms.
According to General Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the Russian lower house of parliament's defense committee and a former airborne troops commander, with the US planning on walking away from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty, Russia's response should be in the "spirit of those times", by reactivating Russian military facilities in Cuba.
The US and Russia have accused one another of violating the agreement, but President Donald Trump has announced his intention to now end it, paving the way for new nuclear and conventional weapons systems at a time of heightened tensions, Newsweek reported.
"In order to strengthen our military presence in Cuba, we need at least the consent of the Cuban government. After all, this question is more political than military, and today, it’s probably premature to talk about any specific measures in response to a possible US withdrawal from INF," Shamanov told the Interfax news agency.
"Now the active phase of assessing this scenario is underway and proposals will next be prepared with estimates," he added.
This issue may be raised when Cuba’s new president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, visits Russia in early November. Diaz-Canel, a fresh face of Cuba’s Communist Party, is wary of foreign military presence, but “politics is living matter,” Shamanov said, adding that “Cuba has its own interests and it was hurt by US sanctions."
The Russian politician went on to say that he would "not exclude" the prospect of a Russian military base in the Caribbean country coming up during these talks, which would also reportedly include a $50 million Russian loan for Cuba to buy weapons.
Selected by his country's National Assembly to replace 86-year-old Raul Castro in April, Díaz-Canel will then go on to visit the world's four other communist countries -- China, North Korea, Vietnam and Laos.
The retired Airborne General had previously urged Moscow and Washington to come to terms and get back to reconciliation.
Last week, Shamanov himself told the official RIA Novosti outlet that "if we don’t stop now and don’t sit down to talk, then we could, in the long run, create conditions comparable to the Caribbean crisis." That same day, Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov told the state-run Tass Russian News Agency that "the danger is that the United States is pushing the world to another Cuban Missile Crisis."
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major confrontation that brought the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war in early 1960s after a failed CIA-sponsored attempt to overthrow the Cuban government in 1961. During the standoff, Moscow stationed Soviet nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba in response to the deployment of similar-class American missiles in Turkey.
While Trump initially entered office expressing hope for a rapprochement between Washington and Moscow, he has also called for an expansion of military might.
Last week, he announced that he sought to pull out of the INF treaty, a measure that banned the deployment of land-based nuclear and non-nuclear ballistic missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,420 miles).
The Kremlin has warned that such a move showed the US was, in fact, working on weapons systems that would violate the INF and "if these systems are being developed, then actions are necessary from other countries, in this case, Russia, to restore balance in this sphere." Other current and former Russian politicians have drawn comparisons to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Recently, former Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the INF treaty alongside President Ronald Reagan in 1987, also cautioned of a new arms race erupting should the deal unravel.
In April, he cited the Cuban Missile Crisis as he urged the US and Russia to come together because military incidents between them "in today’s charged atmosphere can lead to big trouble."
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