Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visits to Venezuela and Cuba during a week-long trip to Latin America look set to irk Washington, highlighting a foreign policy challenge facing President-elect Barack Obama.
His trip to Venezuela, a key buyer of Russian arms, coincides with the two countries' first joint naval exercise in the Caribbean -- traditionally viewed by the United States as its backyard.
During his stay in Cuba, the Russian leader is likely to demonstrate Moscow's commitment to renew a Cold War-era alliance with Havana, abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Well, let us be honest, it is the continuing cold-war US embargo of Cuba and belligerence towards Venezuela which has opened this door for Russia to step in.
Had the US used the opportunity of the collapse of the USSR to establish normal relations with Cuba, it would be Russia left out in the cold here. The same with South America; if the US had worked with Hugo Chavez instead of constantly trying to overthrow him, Russia would not have a toe hold in this hemisphere.
The problem with the US Government is that they have not gotten the message yet that the old cold-war methods DO NOT WORK ANY MORE!