Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bi-Partisan Idiocy – The United States Policy Towards Cuba

If It’s Not Broken,  Don't Fix It

Suppose you were desirous of a certain outcome.  To achieve this outcome you decided on what you thought was the best course of action.  After taking that action you examine the results and find that the action did not result in the expected or desirable outcome.  What do you do, what do you do?

Well if you are the idiots in charge of U. S. government policy towards Cuba, you repeat the action.  No just once, but every year for 50 years.  And what do you learn when you find out that your actions do not result in the desired outcome, why you keep repeating them.

After the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963 Cuba was no longer a national security threat to the United States.  It is small, poor country that was dependent upon the Soviet Union for its economic support, and when that ended it is now dependent upon countries like Venezuela for its economic survival.  At most it is simply a nuisance in the geo-political world of the United States.  In reality it is too small and insignificant in world affairs to bother with.

But U. S. politics demand that Cuba be treated as a mortal enemy and that any indication of normalizing relations with that country be met with accusations of being ‘soft on communism’.  So no government in the last 50 years, Democrat or Republican has done anything but apply the same policy against Cuba that fails, year after year, to change the country into a non-Communist society.

Notice that the same rules do not apply elsewhere.  The U. S. was actually in a shooting war with Communists in Viet Nam, but today those Communist are our trading partner.  And China, still nominally Communist is obviously a far greater threat to the U. S. than Cuba, yet it gets full diplomatic recognition, is an active trading partner and every now and then hosts visits for the President.

The problem with the U. S. relations with Cuba is that it is become a problem with U. S. relations with Central and South America.  Those countries, particularly Brazil and Chile are becoming world economic powers, and our relations with them and the rest of the region are far more important than Cuba.  Those countries long ago recognized reality and have no interest in Cuba other than recognizing the status quo and getting on with things.

As for how things are going, here is the commentary of ‘Lexington’ in The Economist.

ALL in all, this is a pretty good time to be an American. Think about it. The middle class is expanding and growing richer. Once-stark inequalities are shrinking. The quality of governance has improved by leaps and bounds. Politics is becoming less ideological and more centrist and pragmatic. And never before have Americans held such sway in the wider world.

Oh wait a minute, the columnist is not talking about NORTH America.

Oh, perhaps a clarification is in order. This is a pretty good time to be a Latin American. For the citizens of the United States, who tend somewhat presumptuously to think of themselves as the only Americans, this is not altogether such a good time. In the United States, in point of fact, all those trends are running in the opposite direction. The middle class is beleaguered; inequality is growing; government is gridlocked; politics is increasingly polarised and the superpower is in a funk about its global decline. Isn’t this high time for the United States to pay a little more attention to the big changes taking place in its own back yard?

But as long as the U. S. has its 1965 era policy toward Cuba, those countries cannot fully engage the U. S. in economic and other areas of potential cooperation and development.  So the real victim here of U. S. Cuban policy is not so much Cuba as it is the United States.  But don’t worry, one day Castro will be dead and then U. S. policy gurus can say ‘see, we knew our policy was right and if we just kept up with it Castro would be gone’.

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