Thursday, July 05, 2018

Russia Likes Trump's Latin America Policy

I'm quoted in this story about Russia's interest in Cuba and how Trump's reversal of normalization plays into Moscow's hands. I made the point earlier this year that Russia was clearly a suspect in the Cuba sonic attack affair, and in April I wrote more broadly that "As Trump creates vacuums, Russia is ready to fill them."

In Cuba this matters more because the Russians have enjoyed uncontested influence there for decades. Last year on my podcast I talked to Mervyn Bain, who studies Russian-Cuban relations. There is even nostalgia in Russia for Cuba and strong cultural/nationalist resistance to losing Russia's position there. In other words, the stakes are higher than we in the U.S. perhaps appreciate.

And it's a zero sum game, at least in Russian eyes. If the United States and Cuba improve relations, then Russia loses. Its privileged position is based entirely on U.S. hostility. The more hostile Trump gets, the happier the Russians are.


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