Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Venezuela and Russia

Apparently, in addition to sending over warships for exercises, Russia has decided to send over two strategic bombers for a similar purpose. A "strategic bomber," according to wikipedia, is a bomber capable of dropping lots of bombs on a distant target, like a city or military base. In other word, something that would be of only limited use in controlling "counter-revolutionaries" in Venezuela or even the "rightist" regime next door. This is apparently the same bomber that Russia uses for its long range patrols. This is a massive piece of engineering, far outside of anything Venezuela needs practice with for its conceivable threats.

So, why is it in Venezuela right now, if only for a few days? Well, Chavez himself might get to fly one. This seems to be deliberate provocation. To be fair, apparently Venezuela has a decent air force, and may currently lack training. However, bringing in a heavy bomber that you don't plan on selling to the country doesn't seem like a good way to train them. If they're running missions together, a less advanced (and less threatening) bomber would probably do just as well.

What is especially interesting is that, according to the same article, China has actually sold Chavez some airplanes. However, the Chinese ones are training and "light attack aircraft." In other words, China is letting Chavez have little piddly stuff that the US wouldn't worry about. They're also getting more back than Russia is.

The most unbelievable part, though, is Chavez's idea that this will bring about a "pluri-polar" world, and that it shows the end of "Yankee hegemony." A pair of Russian bombers in Venezuela for a few days, even with a few Russian ships near harbor, by no means show an end of American hegemony in the Western hemisphere. Perhaps the US will think twice before doing anything in Venezuela; you'd better believe Russia will think a lot more than twice before coming to Chavez's aid. If nothing else, Chavez is going out of his way to make this whole thing more provocative than it originally needed to be; I wonder how Russia feels about that? If they're just tweaking the US, then it might make sense. Otherwise, they (like us before) might want to think about the wisdom of allying with crazy people.


Researcher said...

Piece of advice: Don't link to Yahoo! News. The article changed quite a bit since I linked to it.

Ochocinco said...

Looks like Chavez is recalling his Ambassador to the US and kicking out the "Yankee" Ambassador.

Mojo said...

This has nothing at all to do with selling bombers to Venezuela. There are at least two valid potential exercise-related reasons for the bombers to be there. One is to practice staging from there to act as aggressors against the Russian fleet later this year, simulating an attack by US aircraft. The second, less likely one, would be to act as aggressors to exercise Venezuela's air defenses. (I say less likely because their air defenses are weak enough that there would be too much chance of them embarrassing themselves.) But the reason that their presence is being highlighted now is, of course, to poke the US in the eye.