The Russians want their Cuba back

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Why is anyone surprised that the Russians want their Cuba back? According to a new report, the Russians see Cuba again as a strategic “in your eyes to the U.S.”  location:

RUSSIA should reopen its military base in Cuba, in the backyard of the United States, two key supporters of Vladimir Putin have demanded.

Such a move would massively ramp up tensions between Washington and Moscow at a time when relations are already at their worst since the Cold War.

The key real estate in Cuba is Lourdes, a base that the USSR opened near Havana in 1962,  about the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. For a long time, it was the USSR’s largest foreign facility of its kind. The base was closed in 2002 but Russia wants to open it up again.

We remember the Russian Navy ship that went to Cuba around the time of President Obama’s visit.

What exactly is Mr. Putin trying to do here?

From a military standpoint, the Lourdes facility has limited value. In other words, there are no missiles or bombers in Cuba ready to attack the U.S. Therefore, Lourdes would be very vulnerable to a U.S. retaliation or preemptive attack. My guess is that the Russians understand that.

But from a symbolic standpoint, the value is huge. It projects Russian power near the U.S.

The Obama years left us with Russia and China showing a lot interest in Cuba. It’s not a coincidence but rather a conclusion by Moscow and Peking that President Obama would accept it, as well as he accepted Chinese islands in the Pacific.

What should President Trump do? Make it clear that we are not happy with it and be willing to punish Russia or China for their actions. In both cases, I would start with trade arrangements and hold both countries accountable.

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