Two Russian supersonic strategic bombers, the advance party for a deployment of Russian forces for a joint exercise, landed in Venezuela on Wednesday in a move guaranteed to infuriate all believers in America's divine right to hegemony. The Tu-160 bombers(pictured above) are reputed to be the equals of America's B-1 and with an even bigger weapons load. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that the bombers were there for 'training purposes' and added that he planned to fly one of the aircraft himself.
The entire exercise is designed to send a "how do you like it?" message to the West, following the US and allied military presence in Georgia and the Black Sea:
Russia's Defense Ministry said the two Tu-160 bombers flew to Venezuela on a training mission. It said in a statement carried by the Russian news wires that the planes will conduct training flights over neutral waters over the next few days before heading back to Russia. Also Wednesday, NATO said it ended a routine exercise by four naval ships in the Black Sea. Russia had denounced the exercise as part of a Western military buildup sparked by the Georgia conflict. ... Earlier this week, Russia said it will send a naval squadron and long-range patrol planes to Venezuela in November for a joint military exercise in the Caribbean.
Let's not forget, too, that US advisers were in Georgia when it launched its full military might into its own breakaway province of South Ossetia and that neoconservative advisers to the administration and the McCain campaign have called for turning states along Russia's borders into US-armed "porcupines". To imagine how Russia sees its own national interest threatened, imagine if Cuba, Venezuela and other nations around America's Caribbean "pond" became Russian-armed permanent bastions in America's backyard. There's a lot of other tit-for-tat going on right now too. Not only has Russia said it will send a fleet to Venezuela - something that will tax Russian naval readiness to the utmost - but it has called for an embargo on arms imports to Georgia at the UN. That one won't get out of the Security Council because the US will veto it but it is another purely political maneuver, making a statement about involvement in Russia's backyard. There's a new combatative style of rhetoric at the UN too, which again points to a breakdown in the post-perestroika monopolar world the neocons foolishly believed would last forever. Matters haven't become as bad as during the actual Cold War just yet, experts say - but does anyone doubt that with the angry man, John McCain, in control of what would pass for US diplomacy, it wouldn't get worse? He might even make John Bolton his Secretary of State! A McCain presidency would lead to America's allies putting even more distance between themselves and the US and finish off the assault on American prestige that George Bush has so successfully mounted. Obama, by contrast, offers a badly needed new detente before the world returns to dark days and a ticking nuclear clock.