Russia's Caribbean threat (updated)

Thomas Lifson
While our press focuses on discrediting Sarah Palin, dispatching reporters to examine her relatives' driving records and the divorce records of her husband's ex-partner, important news relating to our national security goes virtually unnoticed. Thankfully, Investor's Business Daily knows what's important, as this new editorial once again proves. An excerpt:

With Venezuela inviting Russia's navy into its waters, Chavez intends to show that he's not just a petrotyrant, but someone who can get control of our sea lanes too. Practically no one knows how vulnerable we are on this, but we really are. Nearly all of our imported oil must cross the caribbean sea lanes, and that is not just the 64% that goes directly to Gulf ports, but even oil coming from saudi arabia and going to long beach or alaskan oil going to new jersey, via the Panama canal. A Russian presence would create big potential for trouble. I argue that if russia could get effective control of 25% of europe's oil just by invading a couple of georgia provinces and not even blowing up the pipeline, think of the payoff they could get by hanging around in the caribbean sea lanes that are effectively our energy pipelines! The situation is much worse than the 1970s when the russkis were trawling the caribbean sea floors with the cubans - we are now more dependent on the gulf and caribbean than ever due to our growing dependence on foreign oil and the heavy concentration of US oil infrastructure in the gulf. All of this can be traced to the 1990 congressional moratorium on drilling

Update - William D. Zeranski writes: 

Venezuela's invitation to Russia for joint naval exercises no doubt comes in conjunction with the arrival of US ships in the Black Sea, which gives both Putin and Chavez a way of saying in your face to the US.   But more than likely, the invitation is a reaction to increased US fleet activates, which included arrival of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.  The carrier "flowed into the area for an annual exercise aimed at boosting ties with partner naval forces," but it was stated that the ship "was only passing through Latin American waters to reach its new homeport in Japan."

This past July brought the re-establishment of the US Fourth Fleet command in the Caribbean:

The head of Southern Command, Admiral James Stavridis is to lead a ceremony Saturday for the re-establishment of the Fourth Fleet based in Mayport, Florida. The fleet was created in 1943 to guard against enemy boats, submarines and blockade runners, and was retired shortly after the end of World War II. Since then, the Second Fleet based in Virginia has handled naval operations throughout the Atlantic Ocean.

But military officials say now it is time to renew the Fourth Fleet command to oversee ongoing operations in the Caribbean and Latin America, such as joint training, counterdrug operations and disaster relief.

Non-military activities or not, Venezuela and, of course, Cuba are uptight.  So, an invitation was given which Russia eagerly accepted.

It's been reported that a Russian four ship flotilla to the Caribbean would include the Peter the Great, nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser, and the Admiral Chabanenko, anti-submarine ship.  This situation has already generated deep concerns about the flow of oil.  Now, it could be said that the USS George Washington Battle Group or any other one, could always pass through the Caribbean, again. 
While our press focuses on discrediting Sarah Palin, dispatching reporters to examine her relatives' driving records and the divorce records of her husband's ex-partner, important news relating to our national security goes virtually unnoticed. Thankfully, Investor's Business Daily knows what's important, as this new editorial once again proves. An excerpt:

With Venezuela inviting Russia's navy into its waters, Chavez intends to show that he's not just a petrotyrant, but someone who can get control of our sea lanes too. Practically no one knows how vulnerable we are on this, but we really are. Nearly all of our imported oil must cross the caribbean sea lanes, and that is not just the 64% that goes directly to Gulf ports, but even oil coming from saudi arabia and going to long beach or alaskan oil going to new jersey, via the Panama canal. A Russian presence would create big potential for trouble. I argue that if russia could get effective control of 25% of europe's oil just by invading a couple of georgia provinces and not even blowing up the pipeline, think of the payoff they could get by hanging around in the caribbean sea lanes that are effectively our energy pipelines! The situation is much worse than the 1970s when the russkis were trawling the caribbean sea floors with the cubans - we are now more dependent on the gulf and caribbean than ever due to our growing dependence on foreign oil and the heavy concentration of US oil infrastructure in the gulf. All of this can be traced to the 1990 congressional moratorium on drilling

Update - William D. Zeranski writes: 

Venezuela's invitation to Russia for joint naval exercises no doubt comes in conjunction with the arrival of US ships in the Black Sea, which gives both Putin and Chavez a way of saying in your face to the US.   But more than likely, the invitation is a reaction to increased US fleet activates, which included arrival of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.  The carrier "flowed into the area for an annual exercise aimed at boosting ties with partner naval forces," but it was stated that the ship "was only passing through Latin American waters to reach its new homeport in Japan."

This past July brought the re-establishment of the US Fourth Fleet command in the Caribbean:

The head of Southern Command, Admiral James Stavridis is to lead a ceremony Saturday for the re-establishment of the Fourth Fleet based in Mayport, Florida. The fleet was created in 1943 to guard against enemy boats, submarines and blockade runners, and was retired shortly after the end of World War II. Since then, the Second Fleet based in Virginia has handled naval operations throughout the Atlantic Ocean.

But military officials say now it is time to renew the Fourth Fleet command to oversee ongoing operations in the Caribbean and Latin America, such as joint training, counterdrug operations and disaster relief.

Non-military activities or not, Venezuela and, of course, Cuba are uptight.  So, an invitation was given which Russia eagerly accepted.

It's been reported that a Russian four ship flotilla to the Caribbean would include the Peter the Great, nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser, and the Admiral Chabanenko, anti-submarine ship.  This situation has already generated deep concerns about the flow of oil.  Now, it could be said that the USS George Washington Battle Group or any other one, could always pass through the Caribbean, again.