More Cuban Missile Crisis II speculation

STR/AFP/Getty Images I thought yesterday’s big bombshell from an anonymous Russian defense source about plans to base Russian bombers in Cuba was totally absurd. I still don’t believe this is much more than one overzealous bureaucrat mouthing off to a reporter. But some people are clearly taking the prospect of 1962 redux a bit more ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
593783_080723_castro5.jpg
593783_080723_castro5.jpg

STR/AFP/Getty Images

I thought yesterday's big bombshell from an anonymous Russian defense source about plans to base Russian bombers in Cuba was totally absurd. I still don't believe this is much more than one overzealous bureaucrat mouthing off to a reporter. But some people are clearly taking the prospect of 1962 redux a bit more seriously.

General Norton Schwartz, the current nominee for Air Force Chief of Staff, was asked how he would respond to such a scenario at his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday. He didn't seem to laugh it off:

STR/AFP/Getty Images

I thought yesterday’s big bombshell from an anonymous Russian defense source about plans to base Russian bombers in Cuba was totally absurd. I still don’t believe this is much more than one overzealous bureaucrat mouthing off to a reporter. But some people are clearly taking the prospect of 1962 redux a bit more seriously.

General Norton Schwartz, the current nominee for Air Force Chief of Staff, was asked how he would respond to such a scenario at his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday. He didn’t seem to laugh it off:

I certainly would offer best military advice that we should engage the Russians not to pursue that approach. […] And if they did, I think we should stand strong and indicate that that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America.”

Meanwhile in Moscow, the story has ignited something of a media scandal. The Defense Ministry has denied the plans and accused Izvestia, the newspaper that originally reported the story, of fabricating the crucial quote and running the story under a false byline. Izvestia‘s editor is standing behind the piece, saying that the reporter’s byline was changed because of the sensitive nature of the scoop. Considering Russia’s media climate, that is somewhat plausible.

But what do the Cubans think about all this? The Miami Herald’s Cuban Colada blog links to this article (Word document) by University of Miami Cuba expert Jaime Suchlicki, who says that while it’s unlikely Raul Castro would ever go for such a risky scheme given the instability of his own regime, Russia’s new best friend Hugo Chávez might be up for it.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for more reactions.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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