Reuters has the story.

Russia has been increasing the reach of its navy in recent years, sending warships further afield as part of an effort to restore pride project power in a world dominated by the U.S. military.

That throws a wrench in our Maritime Strategy, it would seem. Or does it? What should our reaction be, militarily? And what, diplomatically? Should there be any?


Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Air Force, Army, Aviation, Coast Guard, Foreign Policy, Hard Power, History, Homeland Security, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Merchant Marine, Naval Institute, Navy, Proceedings, Soft Power, Tactics

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  • george sayre

    If Russia gets a base in Cuba, the people will have no food.


    We could just ignore them.

    Why do we care if they have a Naval Base in Cuba? I mean besides from the potential environmental issues from their ships?
    Do we plan or envision fighting the Russias anytime soon? Or even the Cubans? Let them waste resources they need elsewhere.

    This is like the formation of AMC, two drowning countries (companies in AMCs case) clinging to each other!

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    Open up trade with Cuba as start selling them cars, buying cigars, selling them brighly colored tropical shirts from Walmart, and buying Bacardi from the place of its birth.

    We should also invite the Russians to participate in UNITAS like they are participating in RIMPAC.

  • TrT

    Who cares?
    The Russian navy is old and getting older.

    Its wasting what little money it has on grandiose schemes.
    It was aiming for two supercarriers, steel cut 2013, IOC date was 2017.

    Now its six carriers, design work is 2016, and IOC is 2023.
    And one wonders what the timetable will be in 2016?

    Even if it had a cuban base, what would it play host to?
    A submarine older than me?
    A destroyer with an electronic warfare package shown up by a Samsung S3?

  • Retired Now

    So, the Russian Navy will now stand guard in the Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean Sea ? Good. Time for our liberal leaders to further cut the US Navy presence down there. No problem for Nancy P. and Harry R. Let’s have another round of base closings for our ever-shrinking Navy. BRAC could be used once again by the liberal Congressional types to further decimate the US Navy by closing a couple more NAVAL STATIONS here in CONUS, especially some that are near Cuba. MIght as well, since our few remaining American shipbuilders are being starved into a yearly downsizing spiral, with fewer and fewer #’s of ships to try to maintain this industry as viable. If anyone owns stock in shipbuilders like INGALLS or BATH or NEWPORT NEWS, time to sell your all your investment shares. Shipbuilding in USA is only going to get worse, expecially if the two smaller yards building LCS, etc. are cut way back as well.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    After the election BHO plans to let them have GITMO.

    – Kyon

  • Byron

    You have any idea how much the Russians hate the Islamics? Sure, let them have it

  • Derrick

    Isn’t this more of a political problem than anything else? If I remember correctly, back in October 1962 JFK had a similar issue where the USSR was setting up nuclear missiles in Cuba which eventually led to the Cuban Missile Crisis/US naval quarantine/etc…

    I mean, if I were in President Obama’s shoes, I would be wondering if I could ignore it or not.

    If I were President Obama, I would just give Premier Putin a call and ask him the purpose of any such proposed naval base in Cuba, and whether it would contain or house nuclear weapons of any sort. Not just missiles, but warheads or anything, or even a passing ship that has nuclear weapons onboard.

    I mean, after all the effort and hassle JFK went through to get the Soviet to pull out of Cuba, can I really keep quiet if Russia establishes a base there?

    This is my suggestion:
    That the US politely remind Russia of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then offer that instead of a distinct, stand-alone naval base for Russian use only, that the Russian navy share the base the US already has at Guantanamo. This would not be overly forceful, but would offer Russia a means to peacefully field a blue water navy plus allow the US a gentle means of observing.


  • Diogenes of NJ


    The Russians do hate the Islamists, at one time they hated the Chinese. I would submit that international relationships do not revolve around love/hate, but whatever a nation perceives to be in their own best interest at the moment; ergo – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    If the Russians are allowed to station ballistic missile submarines at their new Cuban naval base – the next Cuban missile crisis looms on the horizon (as soon as we get an executive willing to defend the interests of our nation).

    BTW – I lived thru the first Cuban missile crisis; as I remember it there were some very scared adults speaking with deliberate and well thought out words; but for a teenager ignorance was bliss.

    An appropriate response to a Russian base in Cuba would be to pull out of any ongoing arms limitation treaties and embark upon a nuclear weapons modernization program. I would also step up the SSBN replacement program and perhaps develop a replacement for our aging Minuteman III’s.

    – Kyon

  • I would play them at their own game. They want a base in Havana, on our doorstep? Ok! Then I would tell the press if they’re going to build a Naval base so close to US, we’re going to build a base at their doorstep too. The tip of Norway, not too far their northern borders. How you like them apples? We’ll have a large Navy base to the high North just to be on the safe side.

  • Cap’n Bill

    Rather than build a proper dedicated Naval Facility in Cuba we might suggest an open door visiting rights agreement for the Port of Miami. Much more attractive for their logistic needs with easy repolenishment of marine stores and great beach vacations for the sailors . It would be really be a big shot in the arm for the South Florida tourist industry.

  • Byron

    Kyon: Last I heard, the PRC didn’t murder hundreds of children and teachers in Breslan like the Chechens did; nor did they set off bombs like the Chechens did. FRS doesn’t much like the the PRC, but that doesn’t mean they can’d do business with them. The Islamists? Not so much.

    Cap’n Bill: Aren’t there enough Yankees running around Miami as it is, you want to send more? Russia is north of the Mason-Dixon line, you know 🙂

  • Paul P

    I dunno– seems like a lot of sound and fury, Signifying nothing. If the russkies want a base in Cuba, so what? The first ship that pulls in there will probably lose 60% of her complement once they compare the Kola Peninsula to Havana and head for the hills. Besides, having ships with the flower of 1970’s technology heading cross the pond will give our sub guys a chance to get some practice in as well.

    I don’t think they’d send an SSBN that far. Too far out of their sphere of control, and besides, would they really hand the USN on a platter the chance to map out the acoustical signature of their new boats? Seems like a gift that keeps on giving.

    As far as a presence– well, remember, there are still what, four carriers and air wings on the east coast with a lot of strike pilots looking to be able to harpoon a russkie ship if they get frisky.

    Besides, offering them a base in Miami would be a real coup– on the level of Ike’s “Open Skies” in the 50’s. Makes us look warm and friendly and open and puts Putin in a bind– either accept with the consequences or deny and look like someone who has a lot to hide.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Both the Russians and Chinese have long memories. While the Beslan school and the Chechnya War are Muslim affairs, we would do well to remember that China and the Soviet Union fought a bitter and bloody border war well within most of our lifetimes (1969) that is estimated to have to have cost each side several tens of thousands of casualties in major combat operations. Of course, this is before the days of high-res satellites and social media, so they both managed to keep the whole incident relatively quiet…

  • Cap’n Bill

    Byron Please let me tell you that that the ultimate motivation of most of the transplanted Yankees of South Florida is GREED. We can jus smell all that new Russian oil money comin’ down the road from “up there”.

    We Floridians exist on tourism and can only prosper by warmer relations with our frozen pals from beyond North Cape. Besides we are getting a bit tired of all those suddenly wealthy Canadians telling us how we missed the boat on any Canadian Oil Deal. Selling to the Chinese! Damn.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    I’m starting to warm up to the idea of offering the Russians port facilities in South Florida – as long as it isn’t Key West. Submariners have too many fond memories of Key West to have to put up with Ivan sucking up that fine liberty – same goes for Ft. Liquordale.

    – Kyon

  • Ron McGill

    Least we forget we have a treaty with Russia (old Soviet Union) that they would pull their missiles out and we would not attack Cuba. IF they want to play we can over throw Cuba and replace the government rather quickly before the Russians can set up shop.

  • Derrick

    Aren’t cruise missiles a bigger concern? Can a cruise missile launched from Cuba hit the continental US (like Florida)?

    I ask because the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 came about because the IRBM the Soviet was stationing there would only give the US roughly 5 min (I think?) to scramble its strategic triad for a counterattack. Essentially nuclear weapons stationed in Cuba pointed at the US would allow the Soviet to take out the US strategic triad before the US could fire its weapons.

    So by my rusty logic, if cruise missiles were deployed to Cuba, they could take out the US military before the US even knew what was happening, correct?

    Premier Putin was 10 years old during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis so hopefully he remembers…if not, a friendly reminder would not hurt.

  • Cap’n Bill

    Let’s cast some thought to the reasonable and non-threatening desire of the Russian Navy to again become an important factor in Russian foreign policy. Showing the Flag by out-of-area port visits to warm waters is an inexpensive tool. It is a especially good morale tool.

    When one considers the age and stage of the existing Russian Fleet it seems clear that widespread “heavy” maintenance facilities might be needed to ensure the ships return home as olanned. Currently we are learning details of the US re-orienting the Fleet to the Pacific. Some traditional East Coast Navy ports will lose ships and work. Perhaps our helping the Russians could be a help to the US economy.

    An aggressive sales effort by SECNAV might fit into his activist nature as well as help the economy of the East COast. What’s to Lose ? Maybe we could sell the Russians some high-cost fuel for their ships? Or even snag a few contracts to upgrade the engineering spaces. All good possibilities.

    So I again raise the suggestion of rendering all reasonable help to the “new” non-threatening sailormen from Russia. They would love the Florida Beaches.

  • Derrick

    I like Cap’n Bill’s suggestion so long as the Russians permit the US to search their vessels for nuclear weapons. That would be in the spirit of the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis (I think).

    Also, if the Russian navy can use US naval bases, can the US navy also use theirs?

  • Matt

    The thing I would worry about is China riding on Russia’s back. Just as we did with Great Britain in Diego Garcia. China could use it just as the Russians did in the Cuban Missile Crisis to try and force us to retreat from some of our WESTPAC allies.

    “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

    A strong US would seize the moment. In another 50 yrs. will we still be exposed to Cuba allying with an adversary? In retrospect really how bad was The Bay of Pigs? Wouldn’t it have been much wiser for JFK to have kept his spine and backed them up? Think of the oppurtunities lost. Cuba could’ve had an economy on par with Florida. All sorts of better things could’ve happened but no we retreated and Cuba was frozen in time. Everyone lost.

  • Paul P

    I don’t think Russia is going to allow China to ride their backs into Cuba. Too far away, too much history, too much water in between them and home. Any PLAN ship would have to pass through at least three chokepoints just to get there. Russia also considers the Atlantic to be theirs as well.

    China is making too maany inroads into areas closer to home– the Spratleys, Eastern Africa, etc, etc, are all areas they have interest in. Other than being really provocative, Cuba doesn’t have much to offer them in resources or experiences.

  • Jay

    Meh. Treat this like the threat it is. Or, more accurately, isn’t…

    I would much prefer we normalize relations with Cuba, the sooner the better. Well past time to end this ridiculous situation/Cold War leftover. Messy situation (lucrative?) for the property lawyers, but it will sort out over time.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Well, Jay, Cuba is still communist, and still holds beau coup political prisoners. So maybe it isn’t so ridiculous to them or their families, or the families of those who have been tortured and murdered since 1959.

  • Cap’n Bill

    We run the risk of enlarging the discussion to far-off limits but the Miami Deal that I proposed does have the advantage of showing how US economic interests suffer as US national policy works to maintain attitudes of an increasingly small number of American Voters who may suffer from ossified political beliefs.

  • Chris

    What advantage are the Russians attempting to create by moving into Cuba? The timing is curious with respect to the US Navy shifting its focus and assets to the Pacific. Do the Russians want us to reorient our vision back to the Atlantic and focus less on the Pacific? Why do they want us to focus efforts towards Cuba?