Oh, Goody. Obama Ticks Off Brazil, Russia May Base Bombers In Cuba

The Obamateur Hour has managed to annoy yet another ally

Brazil has become a major U.S. trading partner, with cautious economic policies that have helped it weather the crisis better than almost all other major economies. With huge new offshore oil finds and abundant ethanol, Brazil could be key to helping wean the U.S. off Venezuelan crude and shift to cleaner energies.

Still, the White House made several moves interpreted as snubs by the Brazilian media.

Silva aides said the trip was pushed forward from Tuesday because of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday – making Latin America once again look like an afterthought. Then, the White House announcement misspelled his name as “Luis Ignacio” and put “Lula” – a nickname that decades ago became a legal part of the Brazilian leader’s name – in quotes. (more at CNS News)

Way to go, Obamateur administration! And while he is in the process of ticking off allies, while trying to cozy up to Iran and Syria, Russia may take advantage of his apparent foreign policy weakness

Russian strategic bombers may be based in Cuba in the future, a Russian Air Force chief told Interfax news agency on Saturday.

And our buddy Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a place to temporarily base Russian bombers. But, no worries, Obama will surely ignore this until it happens. Russia is probably just throwing it out there as a test, and when they realize Obama will not respond, they’ll move some bombers, perhaps with nukes, to the islands.

More: Fausta, regarding the bombers: And then there’s the “we do it because we can” factor. In Latin America the propaganda value would be immesurable, particularly if timed with the Obama administration’s ending the Cuban embargo (which is coming soon, folks).

Captain Ed: Can you imagine Russia trying this with George Bush?  For that matter, can you imagine Bush losing Kyrgyzstan — and a vital military route — to Putin?  Russia is doing this now because Putin and Medvedev understand that they can get away with it.

James Joyner: The Soviets did not have permanent bases in the area during the Cold War, so the strategic rationale for doing so now is hard to fathom. Most likely, this is just a selective leak to the press to tweak the Obama administration. (WT-Bingo!)

Threats Watch: Recognizing that Russia has relationships with not only Hugo Chavez but with Iran’s Ahmadinejad, and that Iran has relationships with both Chavez and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, it would seem that this emerging situation will bear watching over the next few days and weeks. Echoes of the Cold War and of the Cuban Missile crisis are loud and obvious.

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