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03. Apr 2008

Hvem tør åbne for Cuba?

Obama tør ikke, lader det til - hvilket er synd for mange, ikke mindst for relationerne mellem USA og Cuba.

Således Washington Note:

The anger among the serious strategic-thinking conservatives about the state of the country, its foreign policy position, the value of the dollar, and the beleaguered military is serious -- and John McCain seems to have no idea how much frustration is boiling among conservative patriots with his saber-rattling about hundred year deployments and more wars in the "Koran-zone."

But one of the really interesting lines from the general and heartily agreed to by the conservative organizer and also the pundit was:

No one serious can support our policy towards Cuba. Fifty years of failure. We need to engage those people. Commerce and travel, exchange between their people and our people. . .well, you know what I mean. Cuba is an easy fix. Castro's brother, Raul, is lifting all sorts of restrictions on his public, and we're doing squat. If we want to steal Hugo Chavez's thunder in Latin America, then open up to Cubans and see where the currents take us. Can't get worse than the "zero" we have achieved thus far.

If serious conservatives can say this, why can't the serious Dems running for the White House?

I asked a serious person, Susan Rice, what she thought of our US-Cuba policy on a recent Obama campaign conference call. I respect Rice who is on leave from Brookings now while advising the Obama campaign. However, her response on the embargo seemed the same kind of triangulation on the issue that a calculating political cynic might offer -- not a campaign ready to crash through cynicism and more optimistically rewire and redraw the lines of how we think about U.S. foreign policy challenges.

I asked Rice if Obama -- who has been the most progressive among the three standing presidential candidates on US-Cuba policy -- would at least go back to the 'status quo' during the Bush administration in 2003. Before Bush tightened up the noose on Cuban-American family travel, remittances, and other exchanges, there was quite a bit of "non-tourist" travel to Cuba -- usually for educational and cultural reasons.

Rice's response was "no." She said that those kinds of openings for non-tourist travel would depend on Cuba having "fair and free elections", releasing political prisoners, adherence to human rights conventions, and the like.

This is out of the playbook of Republican Congresspersons Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers of South Florida. The notion that a nation isolated for decades from the U.S. will adopt norms of American style democracy in exchange for the benefits of non-tourist travel and other exchange is not realistic. America hasn't taken that course with China, with Vietnam, and now not even with North Korea.

Fornuftig tale - gad vide, om Obama er som så mange andre politikere, skræmt fra vid af sans ved tanken om ikke at virke "tough", så bange for ikke at være "hård mod de hårde", at han som en anden Gordon Brown kommer til at virke som en opblæst karklud til fals for en indbildt folkestemning? Jeg mener, USAs blokade af Cuba virker ikke efter hensigten, har aldrig virket og påfører cubanerne store lidelser. Det må da, som de nævnte republikanere her gør opmærksom på, kunne gøres bedre.

Via The Arabist.