President William McKinley went to war and liberated Cuba; he declared: "[We share] singular ties with Cuba." Is it time to revisit those ties? We think so. Our embargo is so popular that when Cuba appealed to the UN in 2006 to drop the embargo, the US lost the vote by 194 to 4. Other nations now trade freely with Cuba. If you think that makes us look like an arrogant bully, that is true. If you think we look like laughing stock, that is also true.
If this isn't an example of "stupid group think" we have never seen one. Group think is arrogance at its worst.
If we claim Democracy is better than Communism for Cuba, then we have to explain why Cubans enjoy greater standards of literacy and health care than their "democratic" Latin American neighbors. This would be intellectual dishonesty.
If we still fear Communism, then where is our courage? And why do we trade with Russia, China, and Vietnam? This also would be intellectual dishonesty. The latter two at least have liberalized in spite of us, not because of us. And trade has the positive effect of giving each party some influence in the matter. As it is we have essentially none with Cuba.
It may be that weak-kneed politicians of both parties fear losing the Florida vote. A bilateral approach to lifting sanctions that aren't effective would negate that problem. The Cuban diaspora is in fact beginning to come around to that point of view.
It may also be that politicians fear losing face by giving Castro a win. Well, it seems from here that he has already won, if we mean by that, surviving as the leader of Cuba. He will die still the boss of Cuba. What is more, the Cuban regime will survive Fidel--all knowledgeable observers agree.
So what are we waiting for? An answer is there; while many Democrats in Congress agree it is time to lift a senseless embargo, there is a law to be rescinded, and the opposite side of the aisle stands in opposition, not to mention the White House. We expect the law will be rescinded if the democrats resume power in Washington. Meanwhile, it must be tried.
If this situation looks like an the Authoritarian approach to governance, you are right. Authoritarians wear their arrogance as a badge!
|The longer we choose to look like a ridiculous bully to the rest of the world, the longer it will take to recover their respect and full cooperation.|
Our problems run deeper than our governance. We see it collectively every time we look in a mirror. The recent polls that show no change in the American electorate's attitude toward the war in Iraq after the surge must mean may Americans in both parties are waking up to the fact that the military alone, no matter how efficient, cannot win a war over ideas.
Posted by RoadToPeace on Thursday, November 29, 2007.