Posts Tagged ‘Cold War’

Opening Relations with Cuba

December 18, 2014

For once I am inclined to agree with something that Barack Obama has done, even if the precise manner in which he has done it may be open to question. I am referring to the president’s decision to open diplomatic relations with Cuba and to ease the sanctions which the United States has imposed on that country. Here is an account from the Washington Post.

The United States and Cuba ended more than a half-century of enmity Wednesday, announcing that they would reestablish diplomatic relations and begin dismantling the last pillar of the Cold War.

The historic move, following 18 months of secret negotiations and finally made possible by Cuba’s release of detained U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, fulfilled one of President Obama’s key second-term goals.

The decision is likely to reverberate across many political frontiers where the standoff between Washington and Havana has played a role — including across much of Latin America, where U.S. policy on Cuba has long been a source of friction.

“These 50 years have shown that isolation has not worked,” Obama said in a televised, midday address. “It’s time for a new approach.”

Saying that he was “under no illusion about the continued barriers to freedom that remain for ordinary Cubans,” Obama said he was convinced that “through a policy of engagement, we can more effectively stand up for our values and help the Cuban people help themselves.”

 

Americans will be permitted to send more money to Cuban nationals, use their debit and credit cards in Cuba, and bring $100 worth of Cuban cigarsinto this country. U.S. exports to Cuba will be made easier, and additional items will be authorized. U.S. banks will be allowed to open correspondent relations with banks in Cuba.

The administration also said it would launch a review of Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism, a designation it feels Havana may not deserve alongside Sudan, Syria and Iran, and would work with Congress to ultimately lift the trade embargo and other sanctions.

I think that this is an action which is long overdue. I cannot think of any reasons why we cannot have diplomatic relations with Cuba or why we should retain the sanctions against them. The Cold War has been over for more than two decades. Cuba, along with North Korea is the only remaining old style Communist country left in the world and like North Korea it is practically a failed state. Unlike North Korea, Cuba poses no conceivable threat to our interests. If it is a question of Cuba’s human rights records, well, China’s record on human rights is very nearly as bad, yet China is one of our largest trading partners. No one is even considering breaking off diplomatic relations with China and still less imposing any sort of restrictions on trade with China, even though China is a serious potential security threat to us.

The Castro brothers are in their 80’s. They won’t be around much longer. If we have some sort of relationship with the Cuban government, we may be able to influence a post-Castro Cuba towards more freedom for the Cuban people. At the very least, we may be in a better  to help if the country falls apart after Castro’s death.

I don’t know why Obama has decided on this course of action and it may be that he will not be able to open diplomatic relations with Cuba without the consent of Congress, but this is a good start. I hope the Republicans in Congress will agree to end this Cold War anachronism of isolating Cuba.

In Enemy Occupied Territory

August 15, 2013

Lately, for perhaps the last five or so years, I have had the oddest feeling that I have been living in a country occupied by an implacable enemy bent on demoralizing and fundamentally changing this country as much as possible. It’s silly, I know, but Sarah Hoyt has been having somewhat similar thoughts.

We’ve talked about this before, but in fact, I don’t think there has ever been a country like ours, where our elites are deliberately taught – in our best schools – to hate and despise everything that we are, everything that makes us unique.  I don’t think there has ever been another country where our elites are taught to be ashamed to call themselves by our national name.

Or rather, there have been countries like that – but they were countries who’d lost a war, and where the governing elite were in fact puppets of their erstwhile enemy, sent in to utterly destroy what the country used to be and to make sure that it did not rise again and (maybe) next time win the war.

Did we lose the cold war?  Well, of course not.  Of course we didn’t. The Sov Union fell apart.  Their internal economy was a shambles – communism does that – and they are suffering the fate of the defeated in a material and obvious way.  The name for prostitute in most of Europe (and the Arab countries) is Natasha. Their population is crashing.  Their men are dying of alcoholism and internally they are being taken over by a hostile minority.  Ignore the invasion of Georgia, those are the spasms of the dying bear.  It’s inevitable, in material terms to be aware that when it comes to the si devant Sov union  the applicable Latin phrase is Vae Victis.

But here’s the thing – long before communism had lost the cold war, it had won the propaganda war.

Part of this was their saber rattling and the craven and raw nature of our intellectual classes.  Craven because they know themselves to be weak.  Dueling with your mind might be an exciting sport – it is, I know, I do it – but it avails nothing when confronted by thugs with hobnail boots.  Most of those who labor in the vineyard of words find themselves utterly naked and defenseless in even the most minor physical confrontation.  (Note, I said most, not all.  I would not advise you to pick a fight with most of Baen.  Even myself and Dave Freer who are relatively mild put bite into any fight – he, because he’s a devious bastage and I say that in the most profound affection [if I ever govern anything he’ll be my secretary of dirty tricks.  The man has no bounds.] and I because I’m built like a tank and I berserk.)  So they both turn coward – and justify it in big words – by cleaving to the people they think are going to invade and kick their butts.  Now it’s Islam, but once upon a time it was communism; and they glorify and have a sort of hard on for violent sorts.  Hence, their worship of that despicable, blood tinged psychopath, Che.

And they were really scared of communism.  It also made sense in their minds – communism, I mean – as it can only make sense in the minds of people who live in the sheltered world of academia or the irrational world of art.  And so… they turned.

Now many of these people, from the president on down seem to be running things. I wonder again, where do all of these people who seem to hate their own country really come from? Why do they have such hatred for one of the freest and most prosperous countries the world has ever known while idolizing the cruelest, most blood thirsty tyrants. Are they really cowards, or simply fools? Maybe there should be some sort of psychological study done of this phenomena.

 


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