Over the weekend, President Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to shake hands and talk substantively with a Cuban leader since President Eisenhower met with dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1956. GOP presidential hopefuls deem our engagement with Cuba “disturbing” and counterproductive (to their presidential aspirations, certainly).
Aberdeen columnist Gerald Krueger says opposing engagement with Cuba makes no sense in the context of our international relations with other former foes:
Numerous airmen and soldiers suffered so greatly at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Yet today, look what relations we have with them. We have numerous trading going on, they have made tourism a national business — mainly curiosity-seekers wanting to see the scene of such suffering by our airman and soldiers.
So this turns into a thriving exchange and our country enjoys the gain from this exchange. Look on some of the labels of merchandise you buy. You will find many items “made in Vietnam.”
If there is ongoing criticism of these new relations with Cuba, let’s look at other similar circumstances with other former enemies of America. That list gets pretty long. Begin with Japan, Germany, Italy and a host of other former foes and it leads you to understand that to continue to barricade this small nation regardless of our philosophical differences is just not prudent or wise. There are always benefits from being friendly again in spite of our dislike of the way they treat their citizens [Gerald Krueger, “Hating Cuba Is Getting Us Nowhere,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.04.13].
Remember, we beat the Soviet Union with blue jeans and the Beatles (and deficit spending… and a convenient collapse in the oil market in 1986). Now Jeff Sveen can help undermine the Castro regime by selling gizzards to Cuba (once his suppliers recover from the bird flu).