Opinion: A New War Coming?
The United States has made moves that are muddying up any attempts at international peace. President Trump is leaving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty). According to the Guardian, President Donald Trump announced in October that he plans to “terminate” the 1987 treaty. The move has raised concerns for countries like Russia and Cuba about the return of Cold War-style tensions, over issues like arms deployment in Europe and elsewhere and future of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). The decision follows a years-long U.S.–Russian dispute about whether Moscow has developed and deployed a missile prohibited by the treaty, known by its apparent Russian designation 9M729.
According to Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the State Duma defense committee and a former Airborne Troops commander, the leaders of Russia and Cuba have vowed to expand their “strategic” ties. Earlier this month, the world urged the United States to lift its blockade of Cuba. It was reported by the Military Times that in a joint statement issued after their talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Cuban counterpart Miguel Diaz-Canel denounced U.S. "interference into domestic affairs of sovereign nations", and spoke in support of closer integration between Russia and Latin American nations. Diaz-Canel, who replaced Raul Castro in April in a historic changing of the guard in Cuba, hailed the “brotherly” ties between Russia and Cuba and invited Putin to visit his country next year.
Reuters reported that this strategic relationship will include 38 million in euros from Russia to Cuba in order for Cuba to “modernize its military.” Reuters reporters Denis Pinchuk and Andrew Osborn write, “Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said a Cuban military delegation would visit Russia in two weeks, when he expected a loan-for-hardware deal to be signed. Russian news agencies reported that Cuban Defence Minister General Leopoldo Cintra Frias would be part of the delegation.” This relationship is an attempt by Russia to deepen its ties in Latin America with countries that have been historically warier of U.S. foreign policy. These growing relationships are cause for concern about the possibility of military conflict between the U.S. and Russia, or other Latin American countries in the near future, especially considering the volatility of President Trump.