mead berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Southern Strategy
A Smarter Approach to Cuba
Features Icon
show comments
  • Fat_Man

    The smarter approach to Cuba would be to send in a couple of MEFs, to install a democratic government that protects the peoples rights to life, liberty, and property.

    That the US has tolerated a hostile regime within its territorial waters for almost 60 years is a scandal.

    • Tom

      The game wasn’t worth the candle, and still isn’t.

      • Fat_Man

        So we should leave a potential base for enemy military action open in our waters? We should allow drug smugglers a safe haven 90 miles away? What will you say when the Cubans lease a naval base to China?

        That is daft. You are of the isolationist school that is like the cat that sat on a hot stove. It never sat on a stove again, hot or cold.

        I have urged withdrawal from Afghanistan, and non involvement in the Balkans.

        But we cannot with draw from our back door. What happens in the Caribbean basin affects our security and domestic tranquility. We must attend to it. And, Cuba is the place to start.

        • Tom

          A potential base that has never been used and never will be, because everyone knows that actually sticking a significant presence there would be regarded as a casus belli.
          Frankly, Cuba is a perfect object lesson in what more than fifty years of Communist rule gets you.

          • Jacksonian_Libertarian

            Venezuela is too awesome an “Example” of Leftist Governance, to expend American Blood and Treasure to replace. It serves America and Mankind best, as the horror show it is now.

    • ——————————

      Because of proximity, and ‘only’ the content of your last paragraph, this is the one place I agree where regime change is okay. I am not oncerned with the life and liberty of other countries…that is for them to fight for if they want it….

  • Andrew Allison

    Oh, I don’t know. US efforts at regime change have been such a stunning success after all [/snark]

    • Fat_Man

      Germany, Japan, and Korea are spectacular successes.

      • Andrew Allison

        Agreed. I should have written “since Vietnam”.

  • Beauceron

    “American citizens should have the right to go where they want”

    (unless it’s a demonstration for freedom of speech, Trump rally, or conservative speaking event)

    There are quite a few things Trump has done (the Paris Agreement being another example) that really would have been easier and better if we just left them alone. The bottom line is that, aside from the potential to see millions of boat people arriving, Cuba just is not a big enough national interest to divert attention from more pressing issues.

    • RedWell

      The US is the most powerful and diverse country on Earth. I think it can–and should–handle more than one thing at once.

      • Beauceron

        Umm, well, yeah, thanks.
        The question is not whether the US can handle more than one thing at once, but whether or not stiffening up our Cuba policy, when faced with NK, IS, problems with the EU, Russia, trade issues, environmental issues, a more aggressive China, Brexit fallout etcetera very much etcetera, is worth the time and effort.

  • RedWell

    This would be a sophisticated and possibly fruitful approach. Sadly, Americans are as interested in supporting smart foreign affairs as they are in voting for smart representatives.

  • FriendlyGoat

    It’s better to have a prospering Cuba as a friend than a festering Cuba held as an enemy. There is no good reason to invite rivals such as Russia, China, drug operations or terrorists to try to use Cuba because we are busy dissing Cuba.

  • PCB

    Also, in my view, it is not in the U.S. best interest to create a vacuum in Cuba for Putin to fill. The U.S. does not need Putin 90 miles off shore poking us in the eye, and disrupting our hemispheric interests, at every opportunity.

  • D4x

    I wish Mr. Mead had waited until after POTUS Trump’s speech in Little Havana, Miami, this afternoon. O44’s policy change was premature, and too one-sided in support of Castro’s regime. This is one Trump campaign promise I support. My explicit bias is because my life was damaged when my neighborhood became the heart of Little Havana by 1965, and my high school became ‘Havana High’ by 1968, with no physics teacher for the 4,800 students packed into a building for 2,400, with a dropout rate of 35%, because the Cubans all had to work, having lost everything for freedom. Their longstanding property claims deserve to be considered.

  • D4x


    “Trump’s new measures are designed to exert more pressure on Havana to reform itself. … Trump is right to recalibrate this policy without jettisoning it wholesale.”

    Trump Right To Make Cuba Pay For Its Intransigence
    Miami Herald
    June 16, 2017

    When President Donald Trump announces his policy on Cuba Friday in Miami, many will be pleased. Others not so much.

    Trump will maintain relations with Cuba, first announced by President Obama on Dec. 17, 2014. He apparently will not restore the wet foot, dry-foot policy, rescinded by Obama last year. Smart move. The law was as inequitable as it was a dangerous lure. And the president [will] continue to authorize Cuban Americans to travel to the island.

    Trump’s new measures are designed to exert more pressure on Havana to reform itself. In the two and a half years since the Obama administration announced the thaw, which we applauded — and still do — the United States has made most of the concessions, while Cuban president Raúl Castro given very little, especially in the realm of human rights, in return.

    Trump is right to recalibrate this policy without jettisoning it wholesale.

    In one of the most important changes, transactions with the Business Administration Group, S.A — GAESA — will be prohibited. GAESA is the company of the Cuban Armed Forces that, according to estimates, controls 60 percent of the Cuban economy.

    The ban on doing business with GAESA and its subsidiaries should be another blow to the regime’s finances. By blocking transactions with companies linked to the Cuban military, Trump closes a foreign-exchange ticket, and at the same time sends a political message: You cannot do business with the military.

    As reported by El Nuevo Herald’s Nora Gámez Torres this week, “Cuban dissidents of various political stripes agree that the United States must make changes to apply pressure to the Raúl Castro regime.”

    They are the ones on the front lines, being censored, imprisoned, harassed, beaten. It’s only right that their words resound the loudest in formulating our country’s revised policy.

    Read the full editorial here.”

  • rheddles

    I thought this was going to be an article about B-52s

  • LarryD

    “American citizens should have the right to go where they want…”

    Not a right recognized by the world. And personal rights do not supersede national security and foreign policy, or else we wont have either.

  • Cuba could make an invaluable ally, in my opinion…perhaps in a post-Castro regime era, they would be more open to reconciliation.

  • wri

    I find it difficult to make sense of our Cuban policy. I essentially agreed with Obama that we needed to change our long standing policy, but I didnt agree with Obama’s approach of asking nothing from the regime while giving it what it wanted. I agree with Trump’s decision to shift back to a more adversarial approach to the Castro regime, but question the decision to restrict tourism or leave open opportunities for interchange between the U.S. and the Cuban people.

    My confusion was reflected in the news coverage accompaying Trump’s announcement of changes in Cuban policy. He received strong support in the election from the Cuban ex-pat community in Florida and they apprently cheered his new policy. (As represnted by Sen Rubio.) Presumably these ex-pats have close ties with the current Cuban population and send money to family still in Cuba, so you would assume the ex-pats have a good idea how ordinary Cubans feel about American policy. Yet later in the day the PBS Newshour reported that Cubans were virtually unaminous in their opposition to the new Trump policy. I can’t reconcile these two positions.

    • castlelrd

      The Castro regime has had 60 years to propagandize to its own people, make them believe the US is evil and things in Cuba are fine and getting better every day. There is no free speech or opposition press in Cuba. If/when the Cuban people manage to throw off the yoke of this repressive stultifying regime we will probably see a surge in enthusiasm for freedom like we saw in East Germany when the Wall finally came down. And in general I would advise anyone not to put to much faith in anything the left leaning PBS says.

  • Kohlhaas

    The US does not send “two MEFs” to invade Cuba because Kennedy made the deal with Khruschev that we would not invade if he took out the Soviet missiles.

    Venezuela is the bigger problem. It produces a lot of oil and sends oil and money to Cuba, Nicaragua, the FARC in Colombia, and others of its Socialist brethren. It continues to do this while the Venezuelan people enjoy the misery, poverty, food shortages, and lack of health care typical of Socialist paradises. Nevertheless, the Venezuelan government is propped up financially by China (and Goldman Sachs) and the US continues to import nearly 1 million barrels per day of Venezuelan oil. The Iranians have built missile bases in Venezuela and Nicaragua, Hezbollah uses Venezuela as a base for its activities in other parts of Latin America, and Russia has announced its intention to build naval bases in Venezuela and Nicaragua. (The fact they have not done so yet probably has more to do with the drop of oil prices than lack of intent).

    Some commenters here may think these nearby problems merit less attention than others farther away. Others may think a couple of MEFs should go to Venezuela. It seems to me such problems in our close neighborhood should have high priority but to solve them I, as an ex-Marine, vote for Wal-Mart. As I have noted elsewhere, the US should impound Venezuelan funds in the US, mostly money paid by US refiners for Venezuelan oil and CITGO’s funds, and put them in an account for the benefit of the Venezuelan people. Let Venezuelans go on-line and draw credits each two weeks which can be exchanged for food and daily hygiene items at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart redeems the credits for payment from the account. This will take care of the people and substantially reduce available funds for the government to misuse. It would also contribute to weakening the government and assist its collapse.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service