Russian-Venezuelan Military Cooperation Discourages the Hawks

Misión Verdad

On August 15, the defense ministers of Russia and Venezuela announced an intergovernmental agreement to allow the exchange of warships in the ports of both countries.

The information was released during the official visit of General Vladimir Padrino Lopez to Moscow, in the framework of the 2019 Army International Military Games.

The document, which was signed at a meeting of Russian ministers with the Venezuelan chief of defense, provides for the visit of military vessels to the ports of Russia and Venezuela.

At the same meeting, Padrino López and his counterpart Serguéi Shoigú discussed issues related to military and technological cooperation between the two countries since 2005.

Minister Shoigú took the opportunity to speak about the escalation of war by the United States against Venezuela:

“We are attentive to the events in Venezuela, we notice an unprecedented pressure from Washington which seeks to destabilize the situation in his country,” reported RT.

The nature of Russian-Venezuelan relations has been characterized by the transfer of Eurasian military equipment of all kinds: rifles, tanks, vehicles, combat aircraft, transport helicopters, warships and anti-aircraft missile systems.

Even since the threats of US military intervention, joint military manoeuvres between the Russian Federation and the Venezuelan state have increased. Faced with the definitive intention of proceeding “at low intensity” against Venezuela, Russian cooperation has been a deterrent that hinders the desired objectives of the hawks.

The global: military tensions increase with the burial of the INF treaty.

In a broader spectrum, the deepening of alliances between nations attacked financially and politically by Washington, occurs when the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) is terminated by a unilateral decision of the United States.

The agreement contained a dangerous arms race between rival military powers.

On August 2, the Russian and U.S. exit from the INF treaty became official. The agreement was born during the Cold War and was centered on the superpowers eliminating land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

Earlier, Donald Trump had denounced Russia’s non-compliance. The principal U.S. challenge was to the Russian 9M729 missile, which allegedly violated the treaty by exceeding agreed limits, a statement that Moscow refuted by reiterating that its new missile has a maximum range of 480 kilometers.

President Trump had already reacted in October 2018 by announcing the departure of the United States from the INF Treaty when Russia unveiled the Avangard hypersonic nuclear missile, in view of the impossibility of compensating for the US delay in the development of hypersonic missiles.

The Trump Administration wants to rebuild the arsenal of intermediate-range nuclear missiles because the United States no longer manufactures engines for such missiles. For the past year and a half, it has had the support of key players in the military industrial complex, such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, as well as the British group BAE Systems and the French group Thales.

For this reason, the Pentagon carried out its first trial with a cruise missile on the island of San Nicolás, off the coast of California. The action was described by Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov as a demonstration that the United States had sought the suspension of the INF from the outset.

On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, stressed that Russia’s response to these events would be equally unilateral.

Where the United States produces short- and medium-range missiles, “so will we,” the Russian president said, making it clear that they will not do so in any region of the world where no such U.S. attack systems exist.

China’s apex in a web of tensions

In October 2018, Russian Chancellor Sergey Lavrov stated that Trump had expressed the need for the INF treaty to include China, which like other Asian countries had never been a party to the agreement or had any limitations on developing short- and medium-range weapons in the last three decades.

Similarly, to counter China’s coastal defences, the Pentagon would need intermediate-range missiles.

China, a country whose government aims to counter the United States with the deployment of new missiles, opposed Washington’s decision to abandon the INF earlier this month, stating:

“If the United States redevelops and deploys medium-range missiles, it will seriously undermine stability and the strategic balance in the world (…) it will affect the process of arms control and disarmament at the multilateral level, as well as endanger regional peace and security,” said the spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying.

The Asian giant urged Washington to exercise restraint and not to interfere in the security of other countries, in addition to fulfilling its obligations and to “protect peace and security at the regional and global levels.

In the midst of a commercial war declared by the U.S. corporatocracy and having provided support to Venezuela, the People’s Republic of China has established itself as the main adversary of the United States for the next 50 or 100 years, as General Mark A. Milley of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said in June of this year.

Other geopolitical actors such as France have asked the United States and Russia to take steps to avoid a nuclear arms race.

The Venezuelan Front

On the other hand, the Southern Command ratified the provision of operational support to carry out the pretension of the hawks to execute a naval blockade along the Venezuelan coastline.

Its commander, Admiral Craig Faller, declared on Monday, August 19, that the U.S. Navy was ready to “do what is necessary” in Venezuela. He made this statement in Rio de Janeiro, in the midst of the UNITAS 2019 military exercises.

These multinational military manoeuvrers are carried out in Brazil through the deployment of 14 vessels, a submarine, eight helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft, under the pretext of measuring their capacity to respond to “humanitarian aid” situations.

Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Panama and Paraguay, among other nations, are participating in the event. They are actors from the region aligned with the coup agenda of the Trump Administration against the Venezuelan government.

What is certain is that such exercises are increasingly recurrent in the hemisphere, led by the Southern Command, attempting to successfully demonstrate operational readiness with the aim of strengthening the “military option,” a narrative that the White House has openly maintained since 2017 but has declined to undertake in a frontal manner, opting for the economic-financial attack, the offensive on Venezuelan infrastructure, diplomatic encirclement, etc.

Even the officials close to the Oval Office of the White House do not have a unified vision of how to direct military actions against Venezuela.

This can be seen with the plan of naval blockade presented by Donald Trump, which the Department of Defense considers unlikely because “it believes it is impractical and because it would absorb resources from a Navy that is already at the limit of its capacity to counteract China and Iran,” according to a source from the Axios portal.

Craig Faller boasts that the U.S. naval force “is the most powerful in the world,” attempting to dispel the vacillations among White House officials over such a far-reaching military advance.

Two opposing agendas

The climate of the New Cold War that currently permeates Russian-U.S. political relations has in Venezuela one of the most complicated circumstances, as it was in Cuba at the time with “the missile crisis”, because it defines the direction of Latin America towards the multipolar world.

Russia, which intercedes in the geopolitical framework to restrain the military actions of the Southern Command and its allies, advocates the resolution of the conflict through channels of dialogue, an objective that is also pursued by the European Union and which reconciles them in terms of interests.

On the other hand, the United States, by detonating any negotiation that does not imply absolute political control of Venezuela, combines new financial actions with a dangerous naval escalation. Challenged not only by opponents but also by their own supporters, both recourses have a high probability of failure.