Tina K. Russell

February 28, 2008

Raúls of Engagement

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tina Russell @ 6:27 pm

Cubans Wary of Raúl Castro’s Hints at Change – New York Times

I think it’s pretty clear that, though Raúl Castro is no democrat and will likely not change the despotic nature of Cuba’s government anytime soon, he has a certain pragmatic bent that we can exploit for the benefit of the Cuban people. This is why I would like to see US-Cuba talks, soon; if we make the first move, we make ourselves the good guys and get to frame the issue. We just want what’s best for the Cuban people, and that’s 100% true. I hope those in power here in America know that trying to run Cuba like a plantation did not work out so well last time we tried it, and helping Cuba become a successful independent country is the best scenario for both nations.

And American commerce would be a wonderful healing balm for the Cuban people, if done properly (that is to say, ensure that the benefits don’t simply go to the wealthy and well-connected). American tourism and patronage of Cuban goods, such as their trademark cigars and outstanding (and juice-free, as far as I know) baseball players could send the Cuban economy soaring to new heights, allowing to build a local economy that can sustain itself with or without the US’s help. In order for this to happen, the Cuban people must be able to reap the rewards of their own hard work, and so the interests of the Cuban people are the direct interests of the United States.

No games this time… we need to be sincere in helping the Cuban people because their success and independence would be good for us as well. Hillary Clinton called Barack Obama naïve on foreign policy when he said that he would hold talks with Raúl Castro, without preconditions. I think that Clinton is naïve for thinking that Cuba will magically change overnight, or that suspending Cuba in a diplomatic vacuum while its people suffer is sound foreign policy. The best way to bring down the Castro regime is to show how good we are by comparison, and use Raúl’s pragmatism as a wedge to move the country away from the simplistic despotism it suffers under now and towards the open society model it must embrace to prosper. If we don’t talk, the Castros get to paint us however they want… and that’s bad for both countries.

(By the way, don’t forget that Christopher Colombus landed in what, today, is Cuba. So, it has historical significance for us as well. …Obviously, Colombus shouldn’t have been a jerk and proceed to take the land away from the people who were already living there, but Colombus, tell your kids, was kind of a jerk in general.)

This is the start of a new format. I have that fancy “bookmarklet” thing up in my bookmarks toolbar, so I’ll be posting these more easily and regularly, I think. I’ll try to get that blogroll more complete and up-to-date, so that you can see who, in general, I’m reading from.

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