Enemy Forces on U.S. Doorstep

Enemy Forces on U.S. Doorstep

The disruptions occurring in Ukraine, Taiwan and the Middle East may seem far away, but the Russian, Chinese and Iranian forces that are responsible are on America’s doorstep.

Little noted in the media, an exercise hosted by Venezuela entitled “Sniper Frontier” has brought the military forces of Moscow, Beijing and Tehran to the western hemisphere, as close to the U.S. as the Caribbean.

These hostile forces have been establishing a regular presence on America’s southern doorstep.

Russian troops are now in Nicaragua.

Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, and Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander, U.S. Southern Command, testified earlier this year before a Senate Armed Services Committee. They revealed that Russian and Chinese forces in the New World are designed to hold critical American infrastructure “at risk.”

Some of the threat has come under the radar as financial moves.

The Gatestone Institute’s Gordon Chang has reported that “About 55 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida on Grand Bahama Island, a Hong Kong-based business is spending about $3 billion on a deep-water container facility, the Freeport Container Port.” Chang notes the facility may eventually become a Chinese naval base. He noted that the Chinese military is already in the Caribbean, in Cuba, apparently to collect signals intelligence from the U.S.

As we reported in March, in testimony to Congress, Admiral Craig S. Faller, the Commander of the United States Southern Command stated that “Russia doubled its naval deployments in this region, going from five (2008-2014), to 11 (2015-2020). Russia is trying to make inroads in the hemisphere by providing security training and has conducted $2.3 billion in weapons and military equipment sales in the last 10 years. At the same time, Moscow is working to discredit the U.S. by flooding the region’s information space with disinformation, to include hundreds of articles distorting U.S. security actions. In 2020, Russian Spanish-language media outlets more than doubled their social media followers from 7 million to over 18 million.”

Admiral Faller noted that in the past 15 years, Russia has demonstrated its intent and capability, however limited, to conduct military and other strategic activities oriented against the U.S. and our partners in the Western Hemisphere. Its key vehicle for doing so has been collusion with anti-U.S. authoritarian regimes in the region, including Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba.

Recent demonstrations of Russia’s hostile intent toward the U.S. and our partners in the Western Hemisphere include Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov’s January 2022 suggestion that Russia might deploy military forces to Venezuela or Cuba, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov’s February 2022 signing of a pact to increase military cooperation with Venezuela, and Nicaragua’s June 2022 re-authorization for limited numbers of Russian troops and equipment to enter the country for training missions and other forms of support.

In 2019, there were reports that the Russian military had returned to significant levels of activity within Cuba, and that its nuclear bombers were flying around the Caribbean. That’s only the tip of a growing iceberg.

The U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission reports that Venezuela maintains strong ties to the Chinese military “through a high number of official visits, military officer exchanges, port calls, and limited arms sales.”  Venezuela has purchased Chinese arms and military equipment, including radar and aircraft.

Council of the America’s study  found that “Running a cash-strapped country didn’t stop Maduro from announcing his plans to ‘modernize’ the Venezuelan Armed Forces with new military equipment, marking another aspect of Venezuela’s relationship with China and Russia.”

According to the RT news service, Moscow seeks to create a semi-permanent base for Russian long-range aviation on one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea as it prepares for long-time military presence in the US ‘backyard’.


Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the U.S. Analysis of Policy and Government

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