Russia expressed interest in using Cuban airfields during patrol missions of its strategic bombers, Russia's Interfax news agency reported"There are four or five airfields in Cuba with 4,000-meter-long runways, which absolutely suit us," Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev told Interfax.Zhikharev, who is the chief of staff of the Russian Air Force's long-range aviation, said, "If the two chiefs of state display such a political will, we are ready to fly there."Zhikharev also told Interfax that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered a military airfield on La Orchila island as a temporary base for Russian strategic bombers."If a relevant political decision is made, this is possible," he said, according to Interfax. Zhikharev said he visited La Orchila in 2008 and can confirm that with minor reconstruction, the airfield owned by a local naval base can accept fully-loaded Russian strategic bombers.Annoying. We got Ivan's point vis a vis the Monroe Doctrine after the Cuban Missile Crisis, so what's the benefit here? Ivan's strat bombers, subs, and rocket forces already have the legs to paint the entire US in a lime-green radioactive glow -- so why commit your already limited defense resources to an endeavor that will inevitably drive the Pentagon back into the waiting arms of Lockheed, Boeing, NG and their generous inventory of Russian killing weapon systems?And, just a reminder, the entire Gulf Coast remains a giant kill box, with F/A-18s, F-16s, F-15s, and F-22s based at (deep breath) Tyndall, Eglin, Homestead AFBs, Naval Air Stations Key West and Pensacola, plus the Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas Air National Guard fighter wings.If Ivan wants to test our new President, perhaps he should deploy his high-value bombers to an AO where they're something more than pricey target drones.--John Noonan
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