Forty-four years, and counting

There’s a fantasy, a dream really, where economic sanctions finally work, the dictator buckles under popular pressure, and the people cast off the shackles of tyranny to find prosperity and freedom. Unfortunately, it is just a dream. Yes, boys and girls, I have some bad news, economic sanctions apparently have not worked in Cuba. Since taking power in 1959, Castro has now outlived Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan; five U.S. presidents that have held our highest political office during his reign. In some circles that would be considered a sign of failure, but not in the legislative branch of the U.S. government! Hell, we’ve waited more than forty years now. Yes sir, we’re just getting started! The old man can’t have more than ten years in the tank left, can he? Lifting sanctions now would mean abandoning forty years of self righteous posturing. If there’s one thing the handbook on American politics absolutely forbids, it’s admitting you were wrong.

Then again, if the argument against war is diplomacy, and the big gun in the diplomacy bag is sanctions, what’s a well meaning, conscientious citizen of the world supposed to do? I’m not suggesting we go to war with Cuba. Heck, at this point Quebec poses a greater risk to homeland security. However, when you can’t bring yourself to support a dictator like Castro, there is a certain moral obligation to do something, isn’t there? Question: does the moral obligation to do something about the dictator trump the moral obligation to act in the short term as well as long term best interests of the people who must live with their dictator?

What’s that? You say that sanctions sometimes do work? True enough, we never did find “WMDs” in Iraq. But lets compare Cuba with China, two remaining communist countries in our sphere of influence. Whip out your mental checklist and check off all the similarities between two. Human rights violations? Red commie bastards? Same number of syllables and both start with the letter “C?” Vital trading partner and important cog in the U.S. economy? Broad spectrum economic sanctions? That’s right kids; they don’t have the last two in common.

Then again, let’s revisit the issue of security. Maybe Cuba isn’t a security threat today because of those sanctions. I once heard that Cuba is closer than China, and that one time they tried to get nuclear weapons. Sure, China supposedly has them, but they’ve got to do more than build a raft to get here.

Damn, this thinking thing is tough. Just forget I brought the whole thing up.