US general warns Russia on nuclear bombers in Cuba

Installing a missile defense system in eastern Europe is alright and cannot be seen as a provocation, but….
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Russia would cross “a redline for the United States of America” if it were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba, a top US air force officer warned on Tuesday.

“If they did I think we should stand strong and indicate that is something that crosses a threshold, crosses a red line for the United States of America,” said General Norton Schwartz, nominated to be the air force’s chief of staff.

He was referring to a Russian news report that said the military is thinking of flying long-range bombers to Cuba on a regular basis.

It was unclear from the report whether that would involve permanent basing of nuclear bombers in Cuba, or just use of the island as a refueling stop.

In his confirmation hearing to become the air force’s chief of staff, Schwartz was asked what he would recommend if Russia were to base nuclear capable bombers in Cuba.

“I would certainly offer the best military advice that we engage the Russians not to pursue that approach,” he said.

The newspaper Iszvestia on Monday cited an unnamed senior Russian air force official in Moscow as saying that Russia may start regular flights by long-range bombers to Cuba in response to US plans to install a missile defense system in eastern Europe.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on the Russian report because there had been no “official response from the Russian government.”

But US President George W. Bush told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev just two weeks ago that the planned US missile shield poses no threat to Russia, spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

“The president repeated that our missile defense system should not be seen as a threat to Russia, we want to actually work with the Russians to design a system that Russia, and Europe and the United States could work on together as equal partners and we’ll continue to do that,” she said. (But who in his right mind would believe Bush anything?)

Starting long-range bomber flights to Cuba would signal a reawakening of military cooperation by former Cold War allies Moscow and Havana, and recall the 1962 missile crisis that brought Washington and Moscow to the brink of war.

“We seek strategic cooperation with the Russians. We want to work with them on preventing missiles from rogue nations like Iran from threatening our friends and allies,” said Perino.

Tuesday July 22, 2008

Source: The Raw Story

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