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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An answer is there; while many Democrats in Congress agree it is time to lift a senseless embargo, there is a law to be rescinded, and the opposite side of the aisle stands in opposition, not to mention the White House. We expect the law will be rescinded if the democrats resume power in Washington.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.


Roadtopeace recommends lifting the embargo.

As for regime change, where has it worked? See:
for evidence that regime change cannot usually be imposed effectively by foreigners. But lifting the embargo would allow the infrastructure in Cuba to develop and a middle class along with it. Middle classes everywhere find ways to loosen controls on their activities. This is now being played out in China as we write. Marxism is dead, and Communism is a faint shadow of its former self, world wide. Cuba can and will evolve toward more freedom in governance--if we let it. The way to "win" Cuba is through trade and development. Look at the Vietnam experience, if more evidence is needed. Its market economy is flourishing under free-trade conditions.

Posted by RoadToPeace on Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 22:13:30

Whoa. It was Germany and Japan who were practicing regime change. The other incidents you mention came before or during the historical development of free-market capitalism which fueled nationalism and empire. Free-market capitalism was in turn best-enabled by central banking systems in societies that that were pluralistic. This is the Western history.

Asian history is still being written in this matter. The Chinese experience may establish a new way forward. China is no longer a Communist state as defined by Marx, Lenin and Mao. How and why that happened deserves the most careful study, for it bears directly on international peace. China has growing pains which the recent Congress recognized and and moved to fix. Will the fixes work? They better, for China is now an important creditor of the US. Free-market capitalism is now flourishing in China, and so is the Chinese middle class.

Of course Castro was a dictator. But the trade embargo is hindering the hands of free enterprise in Cuba. Our strategy actually helped him stay in command. We have been and still are the Ugly Americans to most ordinary Cubans, because we continue to feed the Cuban propaganda mill.

Even the Cuban diaspora is beginning to question the embargo, according to reports.

Posted by RoadToPeace on Sunday, March 02, 2008 at 10:02:49

We used, and still, use the term "regime change" in its popular sense which Wikipedia defines as:

"The term [regime change] has been popularized by recent US Presidents. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regularly used the term in reference to Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Ronald Reagan had previously called for regime change in Libya, directing the CIA to work towards that goal.

Regime change can be used in a euphemistic sense to describe the unilateral imposition of one nation's will onto another through military force. In mass media the term is often associated with measures imposed by external forces rather than internal revolutions and coups."

We agree with your last paragraph that the embargo is ineffective. So why not lift it?

Posted by RoadToPeace on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 04:10:30

Comments between those above have been withdrawn by their author.

Posted by RoadToPeace on Thursday, December 03, 2009 at 23:39:37

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