Replays of the Cuban Missile Crisis: Russian Rockets in Nicaragua


“If American missile systems can almost reach Moscow from Ukrainian territory, it’s time for Russia to deploy something powerful closer to the American ‘city on a hill’,” Olga Skabeyeva said on the show. information about “Rossiya-1”, the most popular Russian TV channel.

The usual cast of panelists embraced in delight as American cities were blown away. “Objects like New York City, a good city, but it would have disappeared. Completely gone with just one rocket,” one said.

Then they told how the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought Americans to their senses (I bet you didn’t know the United States lost), and how Russian missiles in Nicaragua might bring Americans to their senses . They’ll give in before they’re really hurt.

As a large majority of Russian viewers watch the show, this is the news ordinary Russians get. But if these people truly represent the Russian elite’s view of what is possible and necessary, then we are all in trouble. Nuclear war is at hand.

I don’t really think a nuclear war is at hand, but there’s a lot of talk about it in Russia right now. So let’s examine the optimistic assumption in the West that some people in the Russian military and diplomatic hierarchies – hopefully people with enough experience – have a better understanding of reality than the TV pundits.

Are there really Russian generals and senior Foreign Ministry officials who believe that “US missile systems can almost reach Moscow from Ukrainian territory”? If you are talking about American nuclear missiles, then of course not.

The United States donated non-nuclear battlefield missiles to Ukraine, but deliberately limited munitions to types that cannot reach significant range in Russia. There are no US troops in Ukraine and no nuclear weapons in Ukrainian hands.

The business of moving US nuclear missiles “closer” to Russia is completely mad: they are just as deadly from where they are now. Russian generals and diplomats are not stupid: they know that American nuclear weapons systems have been able to reach Russia from the American homeland or any ocean in the world since the 1960s.

Well, then, how would placing Russian nuclear missiles in Nicaragua, “closer” to the United States, give Russia an advantage either? It wouldn’t, although it would likely provoke a massive overreaction from the US government. Like the Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962, you know?

The difference between Cuba in 1962 and Nicaragua today is that “near” still meant something in 1962, when the United States already had intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the former Soviet Union, but Russia didn’t have long-range ballistic missiles that could hit the United States. cities again.

The Russians introduced shorter-range nuclear missiles into Cuba to even things out, but the Americans spotted them, imposed a blockade, and threatened to invade Cuba. Moscow rolled out its missiles and everyone lived grumpy forever.

These days, Russia and the United States have many weapons that they can shoot at each other from their home countries. ‘Closer’ no longer grants any benefit. Moreover, Nicaragua did not say that it would harbor Russian nuclear weapons, or even Russian weapons of any kind.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega issued an executive order last month authorizing a small number of troops from Russia, the United States or other Central American countries to deploy to his country for a limited time “for training purposes. , law enforcement or emergency response”.

Ortega was a Marxist in the 1980s. After the triumph of the Nicaraguan revolution, he got Soviet aid and US President Ronald Reagan funded a guerrilla/terrorist movement in an unsuccessful attempt to bring him down, but that was a long time ago.

Now Ortega is just another dictator like Putin. It rigs elections, imprisons the opposition and treats the state budget as its private income. Nicaragua is broke, so Ortega is happy to take the Russian money, but he’s probably not stupid enough to let the Russians bring missiles.

Russia’s much publicized hypersonic missiles are irrelevant anyway, since “hypersonic” missiles are only useful if a country has good missile defenses. In fact, no one has good missile defenses, so they make little difference strategically. Stupid missiles with terminal guidance work just fine.

The rational conclusion, therefore, is that this is all just propaganda talk by ignorant Russian TV pundits, but a warning. I predicted that Russia wouldn’t invade Ukraine because that would be completely stupid. I always assume that Russian leaders are rational, but now I have my doubts.

The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and not of The Portugal News.


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