Base Cuba: An 'unprecedented new threat' from China

With weak, doddering, and likely compromised Joe Biden at the helm of the U.S., the Chinese are moving fast now, taking their cold war with the U.S. deep into our hemisphere.

It's not just illegal police stations, extensive spying on Congress members, and brazen balloon surveillance.

Now this shocking news came out yesterday about China's reach into the U.S.-dominated Caribbean.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON — China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, in a brash new geopolitical challenge by Beijing to the U.S., according to U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence.

An eavesdropping facility in Cuba, roughly 100 miles from Florida, would allow Chinese intelligence services to scoop up electronic communications throughout the southeastern U.S., where many military bases are located, and monitor U.S. ship traffic.

Officials familiar with the matter said that China has agreed to pay cash-strapped Cuba several billion dollars to allow it to build the eavesdropping station and that the two countries had reached an agreement in principle. 

The revelation about the planned site has sparked alarm within the Biden administration because of Cuba's proximity to the U.S. mainland. Washington regards Beijing as its most significant economic and military rival. A Chinese base with advanced military and intelligence capabilities in the U.S.'s backyard could be an unprecedented new threat. 

It's bad. According to the Journal:

An eavesdropping facility in Cuba would make clear "China is prepared to do the same in America's backyard," said Craig Singleton, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a national-security think tank in Washington.

"Establishing this facility signals a new, escalatory phase in China's broader defense strategy. It's a bit of a game changer," Singleton said. "The selection of Cuba is also intentionally provocative."

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that they're doing this.  Their aim is to take Taiwan.  They know the critical importance of sea lanes and sea lines of communication for the projection of power.  The U.S. fought Spain over this very issue in the Caribbean in 1898.

The Chinese also know that if they set up an operation here, the already stretched U.S. Navy, enervated by wokesterly priorities and recruitment deficits, will have fewer resources with which to patrol the Pacific — the South China Sea.  The intelligence bonanza from all the U.S. military bases they'll be in a position to eavesdrop upon is not known, but it's likely to be major, well above the value of the billions they're paying for the rent.

And Cuba, the world's biggest communist garbage dump, which keeps its citizens poor in order to control them, is eminently, cheaply purchaseable, not just for eavesdropping stations targeted at all the emails, phone calls, and satellite transmissions from the states, but in coming times for missile installations and military bases when they can get away with it.

China knows this and is moving fast for it.  Joe Biden, after all, is no JFK, given his Cuba-coddling, and even if he wanted to be, he no longer has the military muscle.

That may be why the U.S. and Cuba are falling over themselves to deny the report:

On Thursday, after publication of this article, Kirby said, "This report is not accurate," without providing any details. He added: "We remain confident that we are able to meet all our security commitments at home and in the region."

Cuba's Embassy in Washington said Thursday that the article was "totally mendacious and unfounded information." The Chinese Embassy had no comment.

The guys with a stake here, and who intend to project the power, are saying nothing.

Who controls the Caribbean controls the hemisphere.

That was what noted geographer and geopolitical expert Robert D. Kaplan found in his research for his electrifying 2014 book, Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.

An excerpt can be read in the National Interest here:

The Greater Caribbean (including the Gulf of Mexico) is roughly the size of the South China Sea — 1,500 miles in one direction and 1,000 miles in the other. Whereas the South China Sea can be dubbed the Asian Mediterranean because of its centrality to the Indo-Pacific world, the Greater Caribbean can be dubbed the American Mediterranean because of its centrality to the whole Western Hemisphere. For as the mid-20th century Dutch-American strategist, Nicholas J. Spykman, observed, the basic geographical truth of the Western Hemisphere is that the division within it is not between North America and South America, but between the area north of the Amazon jungle and the area south of it. Colombia and Venezuela, as well as the Guianas, although they are on the northern coast of South America, are functionally part of North America and the American Mediterranean. So once the United States came to dominate the American Mediterranean, that is, the Greater Caribbean, and separated as it is from the southern cone of South America by yawning distance and a wide belt of tropical forest, the United States had few challengers in its own hemisphere. The domination of the Greater Caribbean, by providing domination of the Western Hemisphere, left America with resources to spare for influencing the balance of power in the Eastern Hemisphere. First the Greater Caribbean, next the world, in other words: such was the history of the United States in the 20th century with its two world wars.

Kaplan notes that (in 2014) the Chinese also have the hooks in in Panama, with a Hong Kong–based company controlling two sides of the Panama Canal and a Chinese company in talks to build another canal across Nicaragua.

I haven't checked the status of those developments recently, but there have been recent developments that China can claim as part of its plan to take over not just the South China Sea, but the Caribbean, too: Honduras and El Salvador dropped their decades-long diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of China.  

Read that, and one can only conclude that a Chinese presence, and growing control of this region, is about as direct a threat to the roots of U.S. power as any we will ever see, the "unprecedented new threat" described by one of the analysts quoted by the Journal.

Image: European Space Agency via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0 IGO.

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