Ever slipped through a worm hole and ended up travelling 30 years into the past? Well, apparently Cuba did, oh and Russia too. Yesterday a Russian air-defense delegation started its Cuba visit.
"The Russian and Cuban military will exchange experience in organising tactical air defense and in training officers," said Russian Land Forces spokesman Igor Konashenkov. He also stated that there would be discussions to further bolster the ties between both air forces.
In the forward-looking spirit of Cold-War diplomacy, they will "study the possibilities of training Cuban military personnel at Russian academies and battleground air-defense training centres using modernized hardware of Russian production," says Konashenkov...But hey, at least their hardware will be modern!
During this time of an ebbing global economy, one would think that Russia, a huge oil exporter, might want to be a little tighter with its money. Cuba stands to benefit by increasing the satisfaction of its military personnel. Aside from that, however, it seems that building up Cuba's air defense is a truly pointless move. Who are you building it up agains? The US? Please...that's truly delusional.
So what is behind Russia's move?
I can think of a couple things.
1) Increasing military ties to Cuba and Venezuela, you create the illusion of regional instability involving 2 major oil exporters. Instability = higher prices. This could be a long shot in actually raising the price of oil, but hey, why not try.
2) Military ties with Cuba give Russia an important friend near its largest potential rival (I wouldn't say the US is currently a rival, but they could be in the future, so Russia is being forward thinking).
and 3) Of course, it also serves to anger the US, which Russia loves to do lately.