Are War Games Being Played In The Caribbean?

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - – shown in new macho-style pictures apparently tranquilising a tiger: Source: Times Online

The geo-political stocks of the Caribbean just got bullish with the war games currently being played-out in the Caribbean. In a flashback to the cold war days where we had the Soviet Union and the United States of America in respective corners of the ring, in 2008 the Soviet Union has been replaced by Russia, always the strongest member of the former Soviet Union. After a period of hibernation by Russia in the post-soviet Union dismantlement the world is beginning to witness a more assertive Russia on the world stage.

Barbados Free Press blog highlighted the presence of two Russian Tu-160 Blackjacks which landed in Venezuela yesterday (10 September 2008). The surprising action by the Russians have some observers already thinking about the ramifications – thanks to BU family member Adrian H for supplying the source material. The show of aggression right in the US backyard could not have come at a worse time. Its economy is in shambles, 7-10 trillion dollars in debt, who is counting, the effectiveness of it military strategies are being compromised by the current deployment of significant assets in Iraq and Afghanistan, recent forages into Pakistan and the need to be battle alert caused by Iran and North Korea aggression in the development of nuclear weapons programs all combine to create pressure on the USA.

In recent weeks the Putin led Russia has signaled his readiness to resume the role it relinquished in the pre-Reagan and Gorbachev years. The doubting Thomases should recall the alert response and precision of the counter attack which was carried out in Georgia recently to protect Ossitia. With a lame duck President in the White House and an American public tired of being at war, Russia maybe eyeing the opportunity to gain ground as a power player on the world stage once again.

The arrival of the Tu-160’s in Venezuela and the recent announcement that Russia will deploy its Northern Fleet to the Caribbean Sea to conduct joint exercises with the Venezuelan Navy has started to raise eyebrows even higher. If the US foreign policy headache has not reach migraine proportion by now there is the news that Russia and Cuba have been collaborating on the future deployment of Russian military assets on Cuban soil.

With all the above there is an the interesting side story unfolding.

The popular novelist Tom Clancy has written a best seller entitled Red Storm Rising read a summary of the book and an interesting parallel drawn by an observer (Again we want to thank another BU family member for supplying the source material) We don’t want to bore the BU family with all this discussion about world affairs. Many readers maybe already wondering why is a tiny Barbados blog writing about such things. What is obvious to many who have read Red Storm Rising is the unerring similarity to the real life events unfolding in the USA domestic and international affairs.

How will all this affect us in Barbados and the Caribbean? The positive spin maybe that USA is willing to PAY the region some attention given the rise in our geo-political stocks. The negative maybe that tensions could increase and the label of the Caribbean being a peace zone could go BOOM!

54 thoughts on “Are War Games Being Played In The Caribbean?

  1. Putin’s an ex-soldier, spoiling for a war for which, if we’re not careful, we’ll all pay the ultimate, price!! I always, had my doubts about his election as the Russian leader and I now feel vindicated!! With him still in control, the most we can do is remember to say our prayers!!

  2. with the leadership in America as weak asit is right now, nations like Russia will be looking at re-asserting themselves. This is just one example.Remember Venezuela’s hold on strategic regional countries with the Petro Caribbe Agreement.

  3. Russia’s new found confidence and assertiveness, is underpinned by its natural resources of oil and gas, on which Europe depends. A factor which Georgia did not take into consideration when it invaded South Ossitia. The major world powers are often eager to supply arms, training and advice to their satellites, but not so eager in the sacrifice of militarl lives; unless there is self interest at stake, which can include natural resources -oil- or the suppression of illegal drug cultivation.

    Chavez can, and will make a lot of noise, but ulitimately he will lose this power game, as in this hemisphere there will be no one with enough clout to back him and make a difference…he will be on his own.

    The tragedy of Venezuela is that its natural resources will be squandered, as Chavez flushed with importance makes gestures on the world stage.

    Wise leaders of the Caribbean should steer well clear of him, and do not become entangled in his posturing; he is on a long and dangerous journey to nowhere. It is unfortunate that Venezuela has been so blessed with natural resources but has elected a leader without the farsightedness to make him a statesman.

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: War Games?

  5. David,

    I pains me that you have so readily, but hopefully unintentionally adopted the mindset of the American right wing.

    Two phrases in your second paragraph illustrate this:

    “The show of aggression right in the US backyard….”


    “Iran and North Korea aggression in the development of nuclear weapons programs…..”

    To deal with the second quote first, Iran has the right under the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, to which it remains a signatory, to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. American propaganda has it that Iran is developing nuclear weapons with the intention of attacking Israel, in much the same way that it accused Iraq of building and indeed maintaining weapons of mass destruction and even went to the extent of providing “proof” to the world at the UN. We all know how that turned out. Now we are being told that Iran’s domestic nuclear program is aggressive. Where is the proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons?

    North Korea withdrew from the NPT, as was its right under the terms of the treaty and proceeded to develop nuclear weapons, as was its right, especially since the other nuclear powers were making no move to dismantle their nuclear arsenals, (to which they agreed in the treaty), but were in fact proceeding with a modernization and upgrading of their nuclear weapons systems and persistently threatening NK with dire reaction to its nuclear program. Who was guilty of the aggression?

    With respect to the first quotation, the US over the years has conducted militarily exercises all over the world, in everybody’s backyard, both alone and in conjunction with other nations and no one called it aggression. Why does an announced “training session” by Russia and Venezuela attract the name “aggression”?

    Even as we speak the US is planning to place in Russia’s backyard, Poland, what it chooses to call a “missile defense system”, claiming it to be to thwart a possible missile attack (on whom?) by a rogue state (meaning Iran), disregarding Russia’s justifiable objections .

    Why don’t I hear you shouting American aggression!! You have too easily adopted the attitude and language of the American hawks.

  6. Michael Klare, The Bush Administration Checkmated in Georgia

    It’s now hard to remember that, when the Bush administration arrived in office in 2000, its hardcore members were all old Cold Warriors who hadn’t given up the ghost. If the Soviet Union no longer existed, they were still quite intent on rolling back what was left of it, stripping off Russia’s “near abroad,” encircling it militarily, and linking various of its former Eastern European satellites and socialist republics to NATO, as well as further penetrating and, after 2001, deploying troops to the oil-rich former SSRs of Central Asia.

    As Stephen Cohen wrote in a pathbreaking piece in the Nation, “The New American Cold War,” back in 2006, even as the Bush administration began to claim that the U.S. had an overriding national interest in scores of nations around the planet (including Iraq and Iran), there was “a tacit… U.S. denial that Russia [had] any legitimate national interests outside its own territory, even in ethnically akin or contiguous former republics such as Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia.” As had been true in the 1990s under the Clinton administration, the new administration was eager to kick a former superpower when it was down on its luck and just beginning to emerge from its era of “catastroika.”

    While George Bush looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and declared him a soulmate, his vice president and various neocon allies were spoiling for a fight. And this isn’t exactly ancient history either. As David Bromwich pointed out recently in a canny piece at the Huffington Post, Cheney essentially threw down the gauntlet to Russia in a speech in Vilnius, Lithuania, in May 2006 in which he “threatened Russia with a new Cold War if Russia did not capitulate to American demands of cheap oil for Russia’s pro-American neighbors.”

    How the worm turns. A very energy-rich worm, as it happens, at a time when control over energy resources and their delivery is what makes the world spin. The events in Georgia this August, analyzed below by Michael Klare, author of the new book Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy (which explains just how the world turns), were but another reminder that the officials of the Bush administration have proven bush leaguers when it comes to assessing how power really works in the world. They were, from the beginning, fantasists in love with the supposedly unique power of the American military to cow the planet. For all the talk now about being at the beginning of the Cold War (Act II), this is also fantasy, as well as “home front” spin in an election year, and manna, of course, for worried U.S. arms makers. (The brief war in Georgia, reported the Wall Street Journal, was seen by some Wall Street stock analysts as “a bell-ringer for defense stocks.”)

    Right now, the Bush administration continues to have its hands militarily more than full just handling a low-level war in Iraq and a roiling one in the backlands of Afghanistan (and Pakistan). At the moment, it couldn’t fight a “new Cold War” if it wanted to. Not only is the world no longer America’s backyard, but for much of the world, when an American president says, “Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the twenty-first century,” and the Republican Party candidate for president adds, “But in the twenty-first century, nations don’t invade other nations” — as each did in regard to the Russian war in Georgia — it’s only an indication of just how out of touch they are. (At least UN ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was careful to qualify his version of this statement geographically: “The days of overthrowing leaders by military means in Europe — those days are gone.”)

    Continued here:

  7. Sounds like a balance of power to me. Maybe Russia and China will be the greatest equalizing force against the naked, hungry, blood-thirsty “empire.” Seems quite fine for the US to set up bogus anti-ballistic missiles in Russia’s backyard, but Chavez is “evil” for hosting Russia’s war games? Is Russia setting up ABMs over here? The USSR was specifically fragmented to accomodate the US and the greedy corporations’ encroachment on the oil in that region today. However, they miscalculated the strength of Russia. As far as Commandante Hugo Chavez is concerned, I think we should ask the average Venezuelan how they feel about their leader and stop jumping on the US anti-Chavez band-wagon. He has taken control of that country’s oil wealth out of the hands of the oily companies, and distribute it among the people hence the need for a coup and attempted assassination against him. I say to Chavez “press on.” Che would be proud of you. Well Tom Clancy and his “Red Storm Rising” is an insider, that’s why he can write a book detailing current warfare. He is allowed to sit at the round table. As far as the positive spin is concerned, I don’t think the region should be looking to the US to pay them some attention … this comes across as being desperate and not being able to take care of one’s affairs.

  8. @Inkwell

    We have phrased the blog to illustrate what will probably drive the thinking of the two elephants.

    At a personal level BU agree with the the fundamentals of your argument 100%.

  9. Speaking of energy resources when is Barbados going to get moving on offshore drilling Liz Thompson made such a hullaboo about in last administration. Now is the time to drill. Drill baby drill! We need an update. Over to you energy minister Hon David Thompson.

  10. Since when has Russia become an elephant? The former Soviet Union yes today’s Russia no, and Vladimir Putin mindset does not make it so. I highlighted and continue to track geopolitical decisions and actions in Venezuela and the wider caribbean to demonstrate why Barbados and other English speaking caribbean nations should thread lightly in their associations with the Chavez regime. Todays Russia is not a threat to America. Two aging blackjack concord looking airplanes from the coldwar past did not raise alarms in America, but should raise alarms in Barbados. They were escorted much of the way by US air force.
    …America continues to ignore Chavez, as it is painfully clear that he has to contend with discontent in his military, with his sagging economy, with problems in his national oil company and with discontent amongst ordinary Venezuelians for high food prices etc.

    ..Venezuela continues to carve up the Caribbean sea to the disadvantage of caricom countries, encourage them via the lure of oil on credit to give Venezuela inroads into their soveriegnty, and all wunnuh can do is seemly welcome Russia’s return, castigate the US, and accuse David of adopting right wing talking points? Trust me David is as mush a socialist, clueless anti-American, anti-conservative as the rest uh wunnuh. 🙂

    Russia can hardly feed itself, has an extremely low birthrate, an army that is in total disarray, with aging and rusted leftover military hardware from the Soviet union.

    ….I maintain that the 15 billion of American tax payers money promise to fight aids in the Caribbean and Afirca, should be stop and given back to Americans to help them pay their mortgage. Wunnuh could then source the funds from Chavez and Putin. Schhuueepppsssss.

  11. David
    We in this Hemisphere should remember that old Kikiu proverb:

    “When the elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.”

  12. Well said Inkwell.

    When the old Soviet Union collapsed Ronald Reagan made a “quid pro quo” deal the Russians that in return for them withdrawing all their troops from Eastern Europe into their own borders and everyone calling a halt to the cold war, NATO would not be expanded eastwards into the former Warsaw Pact countries and former Soviet Republics which would put NATO bases right on Russia’s front doorstep.

    It appears that deal was reneged on almost from the get go. I can’t blame the Russians for feeling that it was never the intention of the US/NATO to honor that deal and to feel that they have been bamboozled and played for fools for trusting that subsequent presidents would honor this Reagan commitment and have thereby compromised their own country’s security.

    Snip below is from an article by Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration:

    Every agreement that President Reagan made with Mikhail Gorbachev has been broken by Reagan’s successors. Reagan’s was the last American government whose foreign policy was not made by the Israeli-allied neoconservatives. During the Reagan years, the neocons made several runs at it, but each ended in disaster for Reagan, and he eventually drove them from his government.

    Even the anti-Soviet Committee on the Present Danger regarded the neocons as dangerous lunatics. I remember the meeting when a member tried to bring
    the neocons into the committee, and old line American establishment representatives, such as former Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon, hit the roof.

    The Committee on the Present Danger regarded the neocons as crazy people who would get America into a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. The neocons hated President Reagan, because he ended the cold war with diplomacy, when they desired
    a military victory over the Soviet Union.

    Deprived of this, the neocons now want victory over Russia.

    Today, Reagan is gone. The Republican Establishment is gone. There are no conservative power centers, only neoconservative power centers closely allied with Israel, which uses the billions of dollars funneled into Israeli coffers by US taxpayers to influence US elections and foreign policy.

    The Republican candidate for president is a warmonger. There are no checks remaining in the Republican Party on the neocons’ proclivity for war. What Republican constituencies oppose war? Can anyone name one?

    The Democrats are not much better, but they have some constituencies that are not enamored of war in order to establish US world hegemony. The Rapture Evangelicals, who fervently desire Armageddon, are not Democrats; nor are the brainwashed Brownshirts desperate to vent their frustrations by striking at someone, somewhere, anywhere.

    I get emails from these Brownshirts and attest that their hate-filled ignorance is extraordinary. They are all Republicans, and yet they think they are conservatives. They have no idea who I am, but since I criticize the Bush Regime and America’s belligerent foreign policy, they think I am a “liberal commie pinko.”

    The only literate sentence this legion of fools has ever managed is: “If you hate America so much, why don’t you move to Cuba!”

    Such is the current state of a Reagan political appointee in today’s Republican Party. He is a “liberal commie pinko” who should move to Cuba.

    The Republicans will get us into more wars. Indeed, they live for war. McCain is preaching war for 100 years. For these warmongers, it is like cheering for your home team. Win at all costs. They get a vicarious pleasure out of war. If the US has to tell lies in order to attack countries, what’s wrong with that? “If we don’t kill them over there, they will kill us over here.”

    The mindlessness is total.

    It’s important for people to understand what the neoconservative movement is that Roberts is going on about and which is exerting such an influence on the foreign policy of the current and possibly future administrations. People should read up about the neocons and their think tank known as PNAC (Profect for a New American Century) responsible for producing policy papers and many of the policies that the Bush administration has been trying to implement.

    Bush’s Grand Game:
    A “PNAC Primer” UPDATE

    By Bernard Weiner
    Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers


    To get a handle on how Bush&Co. took America into its current domestic and foreign crises, one must first understand that their policies and actions did not originate after Bush was installed in the White House in January of 2001. The philosophy of greed and power-amassment already was in place years prior to that.

    And so it’s time to re-examine The Project for The New American Century, about which still too little is known by the American public. There were a number of us writing about PNAC three years ago — William Rivers Pitt, myself, Neil Mackay, John Pilger, Tj Templeton and others — but, after an initial flurry of interest by the media, discussion about that neo-con think tank mostly dissolved.

    Much of the following takes off from my original 2003 essay “How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer:” A PNAC Primer” — which is the most widely reprinted article I’ve ever written. That piece has been updated to reflect the new evidence that has surfaced in the past several years.


    Most of us Americans saw the end of the Cold War as a harbinger of a more peaceful globe, and we relaxed knowing that the Communist world was no longer a threat to the U.S. The Soviet Union, our partner in MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) and Cold War rivalry around the globe, was no more. This meant a partial vacuum in international affairs. Nature abhors a vacuum.

    The only major vacuum-filler still standing after the Cold War was the United States. The U.S. could continue the so-called “soft imperialism” approach, the kind of diplomatic, well-disguised defense of U.S. interests (largely corporate) carried out under Bush#1, Reagan, Clinton, et al. Or one could go the Karl Rove route of speeding up the process and accomplishing those same domestic and foreign ends overtly — with an attitude of arrogance and in-your-face bullying — within maybe one or two Republican administrations.

  13. A.H.

    This promise of $15billion over a five year period was made in May, 2003.

    I doubt the Caribbean has seen $15thousand. Show me different.

    Here’s another example of American generosity:

    In the wake of suffering damage from four storms in the space of one month, the US has offered Cuba the magnificent sum of $100,000, yes, $100,000, which Cuba has politely refused.

    The US also, in a fit of spite, as quoted from the New York Times

    “is refusing to temporarily ease core aspects of the longstanding trade embargo to help Cuba deal with the emergency.

    The Treasury Department increased the dollar limit that organizations authorized to work with Cuban dissidents may send to Cuba. But Washington is refusing Cuba’s request to buy American construction materials to rebuild homes and repair the mangled electricity grid. It won’t allow Cuba to buy American food on credit, and it has, so far, refused to lift restrictions on the money that Cuban-Americans may send back to their relatives.

    We believe the embargo against Cuba is about as wrongheaded a policy as one can devise. It gives credibility to the regime in Havana while contributing to the misery of ordinary Cubans, all for the sake of some votes in Florida.”

    Tell me again how good the US is to the region.


  14. If the 15 billion has turned out to be a fake promise then I don’t have an argument against Bush, as i was against it in the first place.

    Cuba don’t know how to be polite, it is most likely that they refuse like most beggers who would want to be choosers by using choice words to tell the Yankee devils where to go and stuff um. In fact Agence France-Presse reported that The Cuban Foreign Ministry said Sept. 11 that the United States “behaving cynically” and “lying shamelessly” about its willingness to help Cuba in the wake of the destruction from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, .

    Pro cuba backers like to have it both ways. Fidel and the cuba revolution has survived the Yankees attempt to break them, that Cuba has the best healthcare, the best atheletes, the best argriculture practices, the best approach to dealing with Aids etc. Yet when the truths of the deplorable conditions that Cubans have to endure are made public, these condition are then blamed on the American Embargo. The rest of the World has no such embargo against Cuba yet One country’s right to asscert it’s own foreign policy as it sees fit re. not to trade with a country that once conspired with another to point nuclear weapons at it, is being blame for the ills in Cuba. Communist and Socialist should not get any American tax payer dollars for anything, as such money is generated via the evil capitalist economy. Why should Americans care for a regime that conspired to with Nikita Kruchev to kill them? It was 100k to much as far as i am concerned. 🙂

  15. Let Russia’s Northern Naval Fleet that is rumoured to be comming to the Caribbean to conduct joint naval exercises with Venezuela, bring releif and emergency supplies to Cuba, like the Americans did to Georgia.

  16. A.H.

    I really don’t understand your first sentence. But moving on…

    If you had lost your house in a hurricane and BS&T offered you $1 in aid, while banning you from Mannings so you could buy some lumber and nails, wouldn’t you tell them where to shove it?

    The US felt that Cuba in this time of hardship would accept any help and its offer of $100,000 was an arrogant attempt to humiliate the Cuban Government and was rightly rebuffed.

    Evidence released under the Freedom of Information Act of the USA reveals that there have been several attempts by the US government to assassinate Fidel Castro over the last forty years. So much for your righteous indignation.

  17. Inkwell // September 12, 2008 at 1:33 pm


    I really don’t understand your first sentence. But moving on…

    If you had lost your house in a hurricane and BS&T offered you $1 in aid, while banning you from Mannings so you could buy some lumber and nails, wouldn’t you tell them where to shove it?

    The US felt that Cuba in this time of hardship would accept any help and its offer of $100,000 was an arrogant attempt to humiliate the Cuban Government and was rightly rebuffed.

    Evidence released under the Freedom of Information Act of the USA reveals that there have been several attempts by the US government to assassinate Fidel Castro over the last forty years. So much for your righteous indignation.
    If not one red cent of the promise 15 billion has been sent then i am a happy man. Is that clear enough?

    I would take the dollar and head to Barbados hardware, or Carters, or R&R or RT or Southern Homes, or start to finish, or Tamir, but your bias supposition does not mirror the actions of America. America offered an initial 100,000 in immediate aid, offering to send a team to access further needs. This is standard US approach to disaster relief. If you were interested in an honest comparison you would have taken this into account.
    …..Please, do not expect any sympathy from me for Castro and the attempts on his life. More than 638 people have died at the hands of this communist dictator for nothing more than being against him.

  18. Here is what I said over BFP:

    The US has also expelled the Venezuelan ambassador in return it seems.What has me concerned about Barbados specifically is that I wonder if Barbados is being pressured to re-open a US base in St. Lucy since it was mentioned in the Budget speech that it was a “Private” airport proposal.

    Russia has also dispatched the Nuclear cruiser with battlegroup & fighters to Venezuela ever since Monday.

  19. How much aid did the US and UN offer to Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis? I bet it was a lot more than $100,000. That paltry sum couldn’t even pay for any of the parties that the Fat Cat lobbyists threw at the recent Democrat and Republican conventions. A country devastated by three hurricanes and they offer a sum that can’t even build a board and shingle house in Barbados. If a country is sincere they forget the politics as they did in Myanmar, it is the people who are suffering, Castro will be alright.

    As to the assertion that other countries have not imposed an embargo on Cuba, perhaps they have not, but the USA prohibits subsidiaries of US companies operating in other countries from trading in some products with Cuba. i.e. if IBM had an office in Barbados that office couldn’t trade with Cuba no matter what policy the Barbados Gov’t follows. Similarly the USA prohibits companies registered in other countries and doing business in the USA from trading in some products with Cuba which means that some Canadian registered companies cannot trade with Cuba if they want to continue to transact business in the USA. Rather than risk being shut out of the American market most companies decide it isn’t worth the hassle. If that isn’t a deterrent I don’t know what is.

    If folks have time perhaps they can follow the link

  20. Adrian Hinds…

    More than 638 people….. How many people have died since George Bush assumed the presidency of the US and continue to die 1 million, 2 million 3 m and this is not because they were against him, this is because his god spoke to him, lest you forget he is a devout christian, a man of god, the anointed one.

  21. Sargeant // September 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    How much aid did the US and UN offer to Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis? I bet it was a lot more than $100,000. That paltry sum couldn’t even pay for any of the parties that the Fat Cat lobbyists threw at the recent Democrat and Republican conventions. A country devastated by three hurricanes and they offer a sum that can’t even build a board and shingle house in Barbados. If a country is sincere they forget the politics as they did in Myanmar, it is the people who are suffering, Castro will be alright.

    As to the assertion that other countries have not imposed
    America was also criticized for it’s initial pledge to the disaster effort for the 2004 India ocean earthquake. The word “INITIAL’ is being ignored by the hate America crowd,…nothing new here. It’s just like the same crowd led by UN’s Jan England who ignored the very real fact that America leads the world in disaster and development aid. It is at this point that i expect someone to attempt a rebut by suggesting that measuring aid as a percentage of GDP puts America behind many countries. Well be my guess. 🙂

  22. The facts are that Canada, and Russia has sent aid to Cuba and Haiti. Cuba chooses not to accept aid from America as is it’s right as is it is America’s right to have whatever disaster proceedures it deems fit to be in place.

  23. Inkwell // September 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Further attempts at a rational discussion with A.H. seem futile. I surrender.

    The topic and thread is about Venezuela and Russia budding relationship and the implications for Barbados, and the English speaking caribbean.

    ……I am very familiar with the tactic of labeling someone as irrational when their arguments are difficult to penetrate. 🙂

    I am irrational but communist dictator Fidel Castro is not. Yuh surrender as i will not. 🙂

  24. I have heard horror stories about what happened in Grenada after Ivan.

    Boats from Barbados were met and supplies meant for common folk never got to them.

    I heard there was a contingent of police sent there from a Caribbean Island to impose order that at one time shot on sight because the situation was so bad.

    I hope this was an over exaggeration by the animated Bajan I talked with who took aid to Grenada on his boat and told me what it was like. All he could say is … “Never again”!!

    In the chaos of the initial stages of a disaster, people do horrible things because they are frightened and they feel anything goes.

    The strong step on the weak in a fight for survival.

    Even when order is restored aid often does not end up where it is intended to end up.

    So as awful as it may sound, supplying aid in the initial stages of a disaster may not do the over all good that is imagined although it may make a disinterested observer feel good to see something apparently being done.

    Better to establish what is needed and secure how it is to get distributed effectively.

  25. It is really a farce that we have a small island which has been ravaged by hurricanes and politics must get in the way of delivering aid to people in need. As someone wrote if the USA wanted to help the Cubans in need they would have found a way. When the USA had the Katrina disaster didn’t Cuba offer to send doctors?

    When China a communist country experienced the tragic earthquake recently didn’t the USA send aid?

    Just asking.

  26. ….and i must ask, why must dislike for a country and ones ideological position preclude a person from honestly assessing information? Did America not offer to send aid and a team to access further needs? like you I am just asking.

    ….America was polite and professional in it’s refusal of Cuba’s Katrina gesture, Unlike the dictators response in kind.

  27. Russia can hardly feed itself, has an extremely low birthrate, an army that is in total disarray, with aging and rusted leftover military hardware from the Soviet union

    But they have nuclear weapons and that levels the playing field. Love them or hate them the USA must treat them with respect after all if there is a shooting war between the two countries the cockroaches will survive but we won’t.

  28. Russia may find problems in feeding itsself,but like in those Stalin days, the soldiers food comes first, just like in many Third World countries. Its equipment might be old and rusty, but a quick squirt of WD-40 on all those thousands of tanks and artillery pieces will see them as a force to be reckoned with.We in the west may have super tanks and artillery pieces , in a limited supply. When Russia like the bully she is, assigned 3o tanks/artillery pieces to one of these super tanks, how long will it survive. This has always been her policy. Let the British spend billions on developing its Chieftain tanks, while they keep operating thier many low budget basic T34’s and T64’s tanks.

  29. BAFBFP // September 13, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Adrian Hinds
    Strong on Telecom stuff. A total ass otherwise
    ha ha ha ha ha I’m so hurt that i will interpret that to mean that i am also strong on geopolitics. :0

  30. Cuba, Russia: Assertive Once More in Latin America
    Stratfor Today » September 4, 2008 | 1941 GMT

    Russia sent 200 tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba on Sept. 4 in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. Though the aid by no means constitutes a full-scale reversion to the Cold War-era Russo-Cuban relationship, it is the first concrete sign that Russia means to make its presence felt in Latin America.

    Related Special Topic Page
    The Russian Resurgence
    Russian planes landed in Havana on Sept. 4 with the first delivery of 200 tons of humanitarian supplies to aid the hurricane-ravaged island. According to reports by Cuban newspaper Granma, Cuban President Raul Castro received a phone call from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev the morning of Sept. 3 in which Medvedev reiterated Russian solidarity with Cuba and promised hurricane aid.

    For Russia, the wreckage left behind by Hurricane Gustav in Cuba has created an opportunity for Moscow to exert its growing global assertiveness in the backyard of the United States. With its strategic location at the mouth of the Caribbean basin and its long history as a junior partner to the Soviet Union, Cuba is a key state for Russia’s efforts to increase pressure on the United States. More broadly, the move represents a concrete move for Russia in its efforts to expand influence in Latin America and throughout the world.

    Following the Russo-Georgian war, several Latin American countries stepped forward to support Russia. Nicaragua became the first country to recognize the independence of Georgian breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Sept. 3. Meanwhile, Caracas and Havana have both been instrumental in circulating rumors that Russia could locate a military base in Cuba and/or Venezuela.

    So far, much of the talk has been just that — and for good reason. Actually attempting to host a base in Latin America would be logistically problematic, expensive and would entail significant military vulnerability. But a center of operations is not the only option for Russia. Following the pattern of the Soviet Cold War tactics in Latin America, Russia can also leverage small amounts of aid and support across the region to generate instability.

    The humanitarian aid is a welcome relief for Cuba — and not just for help recovering from Hurricane Gustav. Until now, it has not been clear that Russia would be willing to put any money toward securing Cuba as an ally. But with this move, though relatively small and largely symbolic, Russia is sending the message that it actually intends to follow up on rhetoric and aid allies in need.

    And this is of critical importance to Havana. As Cuba attempts to reframe its strategic relationships in the aftermath of the collapse of its relationship with the Soviet Union, it is must balance its economic needs with its political history. Despite the hostile tenor of Cuban-U.S. relations over the past half century, an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba would be the greatest boon to the island state. Thus, Cuba must skeptically view any new relationships that threaten Cuba’s progress toward better relations with the United States and an end to the U.S. trade embargo. It is the United States — not Russia — that Havana has an inescapable geographic proximity to, and whose economic might holds the greatest promise for truly revitalizing Cuba if a rapprochement can be reached.

    For Cuba, a Russian alliance brings the danger of completely alienating the United States. This is particularly threatening if Russia is unable to become a full-scale partner for Cuba — and to date there are very few indications Russia would be willing to spend the money that Cuba needs. Russia certainly will not restart its some $6 billion-per-year subsidies that supported the Cuban state during the Cold War.

    Though humanitarian supplies by no means constitute a full-scale reversion to the Russo-Cuban relationship, they are the first concrete sign that Russia means to make its presence felt in Latin America. The true tenor of Russia’s intentions, however, will not be clear until we see sustained economic (not just humanitarian) aid to Cuba. At that point, the United States may have no choice but to sit up and take notice.

  31. Get out your tin hats.

    Tomorrow might just be the day when stock markets face reality.

    The scandalous US Fed’s financial policy of endorsing privatised profit, whilst socialising private debt as in the case of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is about to be exposed.

    Lehman Bros looks likely to be the first financial superpower to be “Too big to bail”, as against the stop gap “Too big to fail”.

    $85 billion in debt, according to some analysts, their failure could have catastrophic effects on world banking.

    If their assets are only valued at cents on the dollar then the whole derivative house of cards may come tumbling down.

    If other banks have to mark to market their own balance sheets must be proportionately downgraded.

    Paragons of financial solidity will be seriously under pressure if there is no rescue and Lehman’s $85 billion in real estate loan assets are liquidated.

    Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, AIG – every one of them is at serious risk if there is a downgrading of their loan portfolios.

  32. You may be right on this one ST…

    … but you know I always look for that silver lining… check out the AMEX:SKF today and over the next few days…

  33. Straight talk said:

    The scandalous US Fed’s financial policy of endorsing privatised profit, whilst socialising private debt as in the case of Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is about to be exposed.

    Following article might be subtitled,
    The Enlightenment, what was it good for anyway?”

    How the Chicago boys wrecked the economy: An interview with Michael Hudson

    By Mike Whitney
    Online Journal Contributing Writer

    Sep 4, 2008, 00:17

    Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist specializing in the balance of payments and real estate at the Chase Manhattan Bank (now JP Morgan Chase & Co.), Arthur Anderson, and later at the Hudson Institute (no relation). In 1990 he helped established the world’s first sovereign debt fund for Scudder Stevens & Clark.

    Dr. Hudson was Dennis Kucinich’s Chief Economic Advisor in the recent Democratic primary presidential campaign, and has advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments, as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002

    Mike Whitney: The United States current account deficit is roughly $700 billion. That is enough “borrowed” capital to pay the yearly $120 billion cost of the war in Iraq, the entire $450 billion Pentagon budget, and Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. Why does the rest of the world keep financing America’s militarism via the current account deficit or is it just the unavoidable consequence of currency deregulation, “dollar hegemony” and globalization?

    Michael Hudson: As I explained in Super Imperialism, central banks in other countries buy dollars not because they think dollar assets are a “good buy,” but because if they did NOT recycle their trade surpluses and U.S. buyout spending and military spending by buying U.S. Treasury, Fannie Mae and other bonds, their currencies would rise against the dollar. This would price their exporters out of dollarized world markets. So the United States can spend money and get a free ride.

    {BIG SNIP}

    MW: The housing market is freefalling, setting new records every day for foreclosures, inventory, and declining prices. The banking system is in even worse shape, undercapitalized and buried under a mountain of downgraded assets. There seems to be growing consensus that these problems are not just part of a normal economic downturn, but the direct result of the Fed’s monetary policies. Are we seeing the collapse of the Central banking model as a way of regulating the markets? Do you think the present crisis will strengthen the existing system or make it easier for the American people to assert greater control over monetary policy?

    Michael Hudson: What do you mean “failure”? Your perspective is from the bottom looking up. But the financial model has been a great success from the vantage point of the top of the economic pyramid looking down? The economy has polarized to the point where the wealthiest 10 percent now own 85 percent of the nation’s wealth. Never before have the bottom 90 percent been so highly indebted, so dependent on the wealthy. From their point of view, their power has exceeded that of any time in which economic statistics have been kept.

    You have to realize that what they’re trying to do is to roll back the Enlightenment, roll back the moral philosophy and social values of classical political economy and its culmination in Progressive Era legislation, as well as the New Deal institutions. They’re not trying to make the economy more equal, and they’re not trying to share power. Their greed is (as Aristotle noted) infinite. So what you find to be a violation of traditional values is a re-assertion of pre-industrial, feudal values. The economy is being set back on the road to debt peonage. The Road to Serfdom is not government sponsorship of economic progress and rising living standards, it’s the dismantling of government, the dissolution of regulatory agencies, to create a new feudal-type elite. (my emphasis /GM)

  34. the US will not pay the region anything. wake up and live
    when was the last time the US paid the caribbean anything that was wortj our time or excited energies
    if the US and Europe can play games in Russias front yard, why shouldn’t Russia play games in the US back yard and Europe’s on again off again playpen
    by the way you heard it from propaganda press first – GUYANA WILL SIGN THE EPA AGREEMENT
    Jagdeo was just making a lot of noise to soothe his ego and to show that he could stand up to white people, if even for two seconds

  35. If you have watched and digest the Green Monkey supplied video “Money is Debt” you would understand what is occurring today. What the last couple of days has done is given the Obama campaign a window of opportunity to regain strength against McCain and Palin, onslaught. I have long said that McCain’s views of Americans hurting in this mortgage crisis will be his undoing, he has since changed his tune. The contrast between the two camps on the latest crisis on Wall street is strikingly ideological. The McCain camp is calling for tough penalties against the greed on wall street. The Obama campaign is calling for though oversight by the government of wall street. We do need to rain in the greed, as there is no one that would agree with paying 10 million dollars to the CEO of a failed company,….except the recipient himself, and this is the kind of thing that republicans have fought against, or at least it is perceive to be the case. We do not need tough regulation of wall street, as this will kill ingenuity and America’s ability to maintain a strong economy. Republicans need to understand that Americans are seeing a double standard in their willingness to let the real estate industry correct itself by not helping persons who over purchase on their mortgage and now cannot meet the monthly obligation, and their willingness to bale out Bears and Stearns with tax payers money. I don’t know of anyone who is willing to lend their money to another when they have a clear and present need for it. GOVERNMENT IS FUNDED BY OUR TAXES. IT IS OUR MONEY.

    What we have here is a complete failing of the current congress. We need to throw these lifers out.

  36. @Adrian & propaganda press

    The Caribbean can regain its geo-political importance if Russia is able to squeeze an alliance with Cuba and Venezuela which would see deployment of Russian assets in the Caribbean. Just imagine Russia once again at the backyard of America, within shouting distance of Texas and the oil fields. America will do all in its power to make sure it never happens.

    We asked in our lead blog today about the perceived impact of the American supported free trade agreements on the world and specifically America. We have a feeling that free trade may have turned around and bitten America in the tail. American jobs are being exported every day to China, India and other low cost markets. By the admission of both McClain and Obama a key fundamental of the American economy over the years has been the American WORKER.

    The American WORKER is being emasculated everyday and the economy as well.

  37. @ David
    the last concern of the american capitalist is the worker as can be seen with the breakneck speed he fled to mexico, vietnam and china. the former two ‘communist’
    however, the capitalist and his communist friends seem to be getting along just fine

  38. David, Russia in the Caribbean is a dangerous games and the results are not clear and not in our small nation’s interest.

    Back in the 90’s when Kmart was rumoured to be heading to Barbados and many Bajans saw this as a positive thing for them in their fight against high consumer prices, being in the know how i caution that what Kmart had intended did not have Barbadians and their hurting pockets in mind. In fact it was the result of high prices and high consumer spending that made Kmart interested in the first place. Unable to capture market share in the US against Walmart they then turn to regional and extra regional market to sure up their profits.

    This is exactly the scenario with Russia’s reentry into the caribbean.

    1: It is to send a signal to the US to get out of their sphere of control
    2: they are doing it at a time of US occupation with things elsewhere
    3:Russia’s economy which heavily depends on high energy prices does not have the sthrength to sustain their presence in the caribbean and certainly not to be of benefit to the Caribbean.
    4:If the US once

  39. propaganda press // September 16, 2008 at 11:13 am

    @ David
    the last concern of the american capitalist is the worker as can be seen with the breakneck speed he fled to mexico, vietnam and china. the former two ‘communist’
    however, the capitalist and his communist friends seem to be getting along just fine

    None of which could have occured without the ok of the House of representatives, who continue to sell this country short on immigration, trade, and a whole host of other things.

  40. Geopolitical Diary: Russia’s Stock Market Woes
    September 17, 2008 | 0200 GMT
    The Russian markets plunged on Tuesday before government authorities halted trading on the exchange an hour early; the Micex fell 17 percent, and the dollar-denominated RTS fell 12 percent. The carnage built upon ongoing losses in the Russian economy that have now seen the RTS fall by nearly 60 percent since its mid-May highs. The Russian ruble has recently become the world’s worst-performing major currency.

    Russian government officials insist that this is simply a passing storm that has nothing to do with the August invasion of Georgia. While obviously an overstatement, there is something to the claim. Western financial institutions — and investment houses specifically — currently are engaged in a flight to quality investments. Russia, despite its ongoing impressive energy and minerals exports, simply never made the list of the top tier of reliable assets .

    But the fact remains that investors — and especially foreign investors — are scared. They were already nervous about the Kremlin’s flagrant targeting of foreign assets, and now the Russian willingness to invade its neighbors is most certainly a factor, as is the falling price of oil (Brent crude pushed below $90 a barrel Tuesday). Yet while the Russian stock markets are suffering because of the uncertainty, Russia is not necessarily suffering.

    Most states measure their economic development plans by the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) that they attract because FDI brings in not merely money, but also technology and managerial skills. But in Russia, FDI is not so important. Most FDI into Russia is cash that is actually Russian in origin: Russian businessmen send their earnings abroad to evade taxes, and then repatriate as tax-free “foreign” money as they need it.

    A similar Russian logic holds true for the relative unimportance of the Russian stock market. Most of the Russian firms who issued breathless initial public offerings in the past five years never went to the next step and allowed stockholders to take a peek at the books. This lack of transparency acted as an anchor on long-term interest in those stocks, so Russian firms did not become dependent on such sources of capital. So should the bulk of the Russian stock markets dry up, few Russians will care overmuch.

    But the same cannot be said of bonds. The same things that dissuade people from investing in Russian stocks — weak rule of law, little respect for private property, shady business practices — do not impact the bond market, since bondholders do not expect input into how a company is run. They only want a return. Thus, bonds have long been not only the primary means that foreigners use to invest in the Russian economy, but also the primary means by which Russian firms fund major expansions (the Russian financial system is as complex as it is unable to facilitate such activities).

    So the real shock to the Russian system will not come when FDI crashes, or the stock markets wither or the ruble falls — all of which seem to be happening — but instead when bond investors get scared. Such developments, however, do not have an immediate impact. Bonds that become unpopular now do not hurt the borrower — the borrower gets the money from a bond tranche upon issuing — except when the he attempts to issue a new tranche of debt. So it will be several weeks before we can fully gauge the damage to the bond market (we have to wait until firms attempt to roll over some large debt). The most obvious sign of the damage will be when sizable efforts to increase energy output start to shut down for lack of funding, as bonds are how most of those projects will be financed. But even on an aggressive timeframe, that will not translate into lost output for a year at a minimum.

    In the meantime, the Russians are sure to boast that they are fine regardless of what the West does, while the West is sure that by wielding its investment power, it is hurting the Russians where it counts. Both, of course, will not quite be on point.

    a bear without claws and teeth perhaps??? 🙂

  41. The greatest country on this earth, and may it so remain. 🙂


    US bypasses embargo to assist Cuba

    Cuba said this week that the post-hurricanes assessment so far had revealed that the damage caused by the two storms, which hit within a two-week period beginning the last week in August, would reach US$5 billion. (Photo:
    HAVANA, Cuba, September 18, 2008 – The United States has bypassed its trade embargo on Cuba to allow US$250 million in farm sales to the island to help it recover from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike which devastated vital crops.

    The US State Department said in a statement that the George Bush adminstration had “licensed US$250 million in agricultural sales to Cuba”.

    “Lumber, an important reconstruction material, is included within this category of agricultural sales. The United States is considering Cuba’s request to purchase other reconstruction materials on a case-by-case basis, consistent with US law,” it said.

    The announcement came on the heels of the Raul Castro administration expressing an interest in buying essential goods from American firms on a commercial basis to help its recovery process. The country appealed to Washington to ease financing restrictions for six months to make that possible, saying it preferred that to the US$5 million in aid which the US government was offering.

    “We regret that the Cuban authorities have not accepted this offer and we are investigating other ways to get humanitarian assistance to the Cuban people,” the State Department said after the Caribbean island refused the multi-million dollar aid.

    Cuba said this week that the post-hurricanes assessment so far had revealed that the damage caused by the two storms, which hit within a two-week period beginning the last week in August, would reach US$5 billion.

    It has started receiving aid from other governments and organisations.

  42. I don’t trust Chavez, I definitely do not trust Russia!

    I think Chavez may eventually want to
    Take over & strong arm the whole Caribbean for His own gain & infamy.

    He could be a Wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Many Islands are so anti-American they are laughing with & some are endorsing Mr. Chavez’s cocky antics right now – but Perhaps they will be the very same ones dominated, overtaken by this power hungry Man & crying
    after being tricked
    right back into bondage with their natural resources pillaged- further down the road?

    Especially if He ever decides to turn the tables on the neighboring Caribbean
    to Take them for all they’ve got
    by using military force on them!

    This situation is too, about oil, dominance & control !
    Just as they accuse the USA of.
    a snake knows the habits of another snake ….

    They do not care for whose territorial or sovereign rights they happen to
    override in the process of claiming ultimate Power by any means
    necessary, to steamroll over the other islands in the fray.

    Only Time will tell.

    if not Chavez ?
    What if Russia decides to invade the Caribbean with help
    of their new friendship with Chavez?

    Has anyone seen what happened in Georgia?

    – Chavez has already given them an “IN” to the caribbean region –
    with access to their waters without
    any consultation or consideration of the danger he could be actually exposing the smaller islands of the Caribbean to.

    Importing help from Russia’s Defense to be Major “show of
    force” not only for his personal vendetta with USA – but also the
    smaller islands of the Caribbean if they
    do not eventually comply to his demands & bow down to him.

    People need to wake up, stop being lulled sense of security, by the trinkets
    He throws to the caribbean-
    While he is whittling away the rights of the greater Caribbean & Using them as pawns for his own gain.

    Chavez is posturing to be the great champion of rights & potector of the Caribbean- but is He really?
    Why is he so focused on the Caribbean.

    Be mindful & aware of that – He may also be setting the Caribbean up.

    He is too focused on the leading the Caribbean & getting back at the USA
    at Any expense – while pulling Other Islands into his personal vendettas & muck in the process .

    Chavez is claiming rights to
    Bajan waters & oil exploration, already.

    Why are We so ready to vouch
    for his Sanity & sound judgement on the bringing Russia’s military down into the Caribbean territory thing?

    ( this is just my opinion but)

    That’s not the behavior of a True Friend to the Caribbean in my book.

  43. [this is an interesting article —

    They may want to include “eventually
    the Caribbean, Brazil & South America
    to be used as intimidated pawns” !
    ( with ambitious “friends” like chavez
    offering up military bases in the region- to Russia to Further their
    Control of the World’s Oil ]

    Russian Oil Ambitions and Implications

    Invading Georgia: The Opening Shot in a Grand Russian Strategy to Challenge the West Through the Domination of the Energy Market !

  44. headlines today
    Sept. 22nd 2008 – Russian Warships Sail to Venezuela !


    ” Mr. Chávez said Latin America was freeing itself from the “imperial” influence from the United States and needed Russia’s friendship.”

    from the New York Times.

    it should read

    ” Mr. Chávez said Latin America was freeing itself from the “imperial” influence from the United States and exchanging the needed Russia’s “imperial” friendship.”

    [He’s exchanging one corrupt money grubbing friend for another
    over a vendetta & putting other islands & countries at risk of being
    taken over or bulldozed by power hungry russians]

    It’s s all the same game ( who will control oil export & the Caribbean,
    South American waters for oil)

    Mr. Chavez is busy making serious decisions for EVERYONE in the region,
    autonomously & Without
    their permission of representation that cannot be right!

    Who elected him as spokesperson for the countries & islands in that
    region? or it self- appointment?

    Whose waters will this fleet of Russian ship be actually sailing through
    to get to their destination?

    Will the Caribbean become another Georgia?

    Brazil with it’s recent GREAT OIL FIND better watch it’s back!

    They may be Masquerading as Friends today , but
    could become Looting enemies & oil conrolling dictators of the
    region tomorrow!

  45. Human Rights Watch director banished from Venezuela

    International Commission of Jurists deplores Vivanco’s eviction from Venezuela

    Suitcase full of cash adds to Chavez corruption accusations that Venezuela illegally gave funds to Kirchner

  46. war games & posturing..

    an interesting read on oil,
    claiming maritime control and provoking disputes, between trinidad, barbados,venezuelan, guyana.

    quote from article from the trinidad
    & tobago news, today.

    “At the beginning of June Barbados issued notices internationally for oil leases that further hem us in and even encroach south of the 1990 boundary into areas that were allocated to Venezuela. The Tribunal stopped at the 1990 line and did not continue the boundary to meet the notional equidistance line with Guyana.

    But Barbados has the arrogance to now go beyond the prescription of the Judgment.

    The net effect of this creeping maritime encroachment of Barbados on maritime areas located south of the 1990 Boundary based on its full 200 mile claim is to render the 1990 Treaty into disarray and to bring the Venezuelan factor into the equation.

    Venezuela should have been in the picture since February 2004.”

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