As I chew my leftover spaghetti lunch, I’m pondering Cuba. For one thing, it’s warm there. For another thing, Fidel Castro resigned as el presidente today.
Now, I’m no foreign policy expert. So I have some unanswered questions.
Why will otherwise reasonable American politicians continue to be led around by the nose by a bunch of angry exiles living in the past in Miami? I understand that getting thoughtful on Cuba means risking Florida, Florida, Florida come election time, but is that it? Am I missing something else?
Is our fruitless embargo one of the most embarrassing failures in the history of American foreign policy, or is it just me? Do we have anything to show for it?
We bent over backwards to help make China into the world’s super Wal-Mart, despite its abysmal human rights record, on the hope that economic dynamism would someday lead to more political freedom. We’re trading and engaging with Vietnam. We made up with Libya. We even talk with North Korea, the most tyrannical regime on earth. The track record shows that where powerful American ideals and culture are introduced, even in small ways, they tend to catch on.
But with Cuba, we throw up an embargo and deny generations of Cubans a chance to find out what freedom and democracy taste like. Instead, we’re the bully trying to starve them out. Can someone explain why anyone thought that would work?
And exactly how long do I have to wait to get my hands on good Cuban cigars? I’d like to go get them myself, as soon as possible.