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Mon Feb 2, 2015, 04:42 PM

Why Did US Policy Towards Cuba Change? A View From Havana

Why Did US Policy Towards Cuba Change? A View From Havana
Monday, 02 February 2015 13:32
By Roberto M. Yepe Papastamatin, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

Before December 17, 2014, it was a natural question why the US did not change its isolation policy against Cuba in light of its ostensible failure. That day, President Barack Obama acknowledged this fact, in a demonstration of political courage never achieved by those among his predecessors who had intended to make a significant change in the relationship between the two neighboring countries. Although central components of the policy of economic blockade and political subversion against Cuba remain in place, the announced resumption of diplomatic relations between the two governments is very positive because it will certainly allow a civilized interaction that could lead to new and more comprehensive understandings on key issues of the bilateral agenda, in order to establish a fully normalized relation of mutual respect, despite the predictable hindering actions of certain retrograde and recalcitrant forces.

In a consideration of the chances of success of the normalization process already underway, it becomes especially relevant to assess the US government's possible motivations, since the Cuban one had for many years made clear its interest in improving the bilateral relation, provided that occurred under conditions of full respect for Cuba's sovereignty in conformity with international law. Therefore, the question arises about what led the US government to agree to the resumption of diplomatic relations precisely at this moment, a question which does not admit simple answers, but should lead to reflection about a group of elements.

The most obvious of these is the resilience shown by the Cuban people and the strength of their political leaders for 56 years which have allowed the Caribbean country to develop a principled and global oriented foreign policy, with an internationalist vocation, which has also been intelligently and successfully adjusted to the changing conditions of the international system, achieving very impressive results well above what would have been expected from the simple consideration of the hard power resources available to Cuba - always very limited.

However, this alone does not explain the surprising policy change decided by the Obama administration. Additionally, at least four other conditions were necessary to make it possible. We will consider them concisely, without attempting a comprehensive list.

First, a fundamental shift in the world balance of power has taken place with regard to the old international order that emerged after the end of World War II. According to the latest data from the International Monetary Fund, when measured according to the purchasing power of their respective national currencies, China has already surpassed the US as the country with the biggest economy. This does not mean that the US does not remain the world's sole superpower, since internationally there is still no effective counterweight to its overall superiority resulting from the combination of US military, political, ideological, economic, scientific, technological and cultural resources. However, it is becoming more evident that the US can no longer impose its will in the world as it formerly did. The National Security Strategy published in 2010 very clearly ratified the hegemonic vocation of the US to the extent that, in a 60-page document, the term "leadership" (or derivatives thereof) is euphemistically used 71 times, in reference to the role the US would inevitably and providentially play in the world for the centuries to come (cf. The White House: National Security Strategy, Washington, DC, 2010). However, if the US seriously aspires to preserve any such leadership, it will have to pay increasing attention to its image and the international perceptions resulting from US behavior in the world. The US obsession with imposing "regime change" and with punishing a small, although internationally well recognized neighbor country, combined with the practically unanimous rejection of the policy of economic blockade, repeated every year in the United Nations General Assembly did not create a positive image of the US.


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Reply Why Did US Policy Towards Cuba Change? A View From Havana (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2015 OP
Demeter Feb 2015 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 2, 2015, 06:29 PM

1. Two reasons: Spring Alan Gross out of jail


and extradite a credit-card thief.

Plus shore up the Latino vote, slap the faces of the Cuban right, and hope that Raul will take mercy on us.

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