Return of the bear? Russia's ties with former Soviet allies in Latin America
Cox, David M.
Moltz, James Clay
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Comparing Soviet ties with Cuba and Sandinista-led Nicaragua during the Cold War to Russian ties with Cuba and Nicaragua today, this thesis finds that Russia’s reengagement with former Soviet allies in Latin America does not portend a return of the Soviet bear to the U.S. periphery. Daniel Ortega–led Nicaragua and the Castro regime in Cuba have indeed again become politically close with Russia and have each developed some security and economic ties with Russia since at least late 2008. Their mutual political support against Western positions at the UN and Russia’s sporadic naval deployments and strategic bomber flights, as well as counter-narcotics cooperation with Nicaragua, may seemingly present a notable challenge to the United States in its periphery. Yet, Russia’s ties—particularly security and economic ties—with the former Soviet allies remain rather narrow and do not present a significant challenge to the United States. As such, this thesis recommends that U.S. policymakers not adopt a red scare mentality about Russia’s reengagement with its Cold War allies. Nonetheless, the United States should remain engaged with not only its partners in the region but also with Russian allies there to hinder further Russian engagement that may run counter to U.S. interests.
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