Let the tit-for-tat military deployments begin, as Moscow complains about the presence of NATO ships in the Black Sea, they unveil plans for joint naval exercises with Venezuela in the Caribbean. As we’ve reported before on this blog, both Chavez and Putin share a particularly ridiculous paranoia that they are on the brink of invasion by the United States, and must vigorously prepare defenses and militarize their borders. Escalation, it seems, isn’t just a means but also an end. From the LA Times:
During his visit to Russia, Chavez said that the two nations had formed a strategic partnership and that he was buying a Russian missile defense system to thwart a potential U.S. air attack. In recent months, Chavez advisors have said Venezuela is considering buying as many as five diesel-powered Russian submarines. The deal would make Venezuela the region’s top naval force, said retired Gen. Alberto Muller Rojas, a Chavez confidant. Venezuelan officials have justified arms purchases from Russia by noting the U.S. ban on all weapons sales by American companies to Venezuela, a mandate that extends to foreign manufacturers’ arms that contain U.S. components. Deals with Israeli, Swedish and Spanish manufacturers were scrubbed because the weapons included U.S. parts. “The U.S. . . . has done everything to motivate Venezuela to seek a strategic military rapprochement with Russia,” said a former advisor to Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry who requested anonymity.