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View Diary: I Came Back From Cuba Today (265 comments)

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  •  Used to, but times are changing. (1+ / 0-)
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    Lawrence

    The Cold War is still a structural key for vested interests on both sides of Empire. But it's too simple to generalize about "the government", here or there. For example, note the expressions of mutual respect by top representatives of the respective armed forces, and their collaboration on matters of interest for the two countries.
    An opening of bilateral relations could be broadly beneficial to both countries, and for Cuba would lead to broad changes throughout the society, many of them good.
    Entrenched cold-war interests on both sides have seen there influence shaken, but still cling to their standoff roles, and for reasons that are still not entirely without substance.
    Cuba, for US power, is potentially useful but not a vital need as it was a century ago; it figures much larger as a symbol of rebellion in the US political imagination and in the persistent coldwar power structure. For Cuba, on the other hand, the US is an overwhelming external force, still intimately linked and potentially much more so; vulnerability is great and the details of any thaw are of vital concern.  
    Sophisticated Cubans, in government or not, have a pretty realistic view of the benefits of potential change, but also of its risks for the island (and not merely for its PTBs). There is a fine appreciation of the existence of a changing international climate from which a new relationship might emerge, but also of the variable internal political balance in the US on which such a change would depend.
    Cubans must bet the farm, but Washington can fool around, make artificial demands, change it's mind according to minor shifts of internal political winds, swap a major  shift in policy toward a specific country for one vote in Congress on a key domestic political issue. Witness the erratics on the Honduras coup and the general slide on Latin America.

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