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Cuba: The Best Friend We Never Had

 

normal relations with cuba

By now, you have probably heard the news that the United States is moving towards normalizing relations with Cuba.  Now, I say the United States because it is being initiated by the Executive Branch. It’s just that I fear adding the phrase, “President Obama is doing”, to just about anything.  For once I say Obama is doing it, half the country instantly hates whatever it is he has done before they even get a chance to read the rest of the sentence.  If I wrote that President Obama rescued baby kittens from getting eaten alive, then it would take about 2 seconds  before someone tied that to Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative and screamed we in America can eat kittens if we want.  So all that to say, just because Obama does something doesn’t make it bad.  I am all for this move to normalize relations with Cuba.  As I mentioned in the title, I think Cuba is the best friend we never had.  So let’s examine this move shall we.

Evil Friends

Now, I know that my opponents will say that Fidel Castro is evil and he did horrible things to his people while being a staunch opponent of America.  You know that internet meme where the Fat Guy from Jurassic Park, aka Newman from Seinfield, is eating lunch with his secret partner looking to steal the dinosaur DNA?  The guy tells Newman to be quiet or something and then Newman starts clapping his hands yelling out loud and then emphatically states, “You see, no one cares.”  That’s me when it comes to Cuba.  I’m just not that impressed with evils from the Cold War. Look, the Cold War was a weird time for us all.  We were friends with Sadaam Hussein and we gave weapons to the Taliban. I mean a nation would sleep with another nation at the drop of a hat if it meant hurting one of the big two, USA or USSR.  It’s just the way it was, but those days are gone.

Look, I get it.  Castro has done some bad stuff.  But can we be honest for a minute? We have worse friends. We engage in normal relations with China and they ran over their own people in tanks just about 20 years ago.  We have relations with Russia all the while Putin is the walking embodiment of a James Bond villain. We fought Vietnam for a decade and now you can’t rifle through your underwear drawer without finding items made in Vietnam.  That’s right, most likely a cousin of a friend of the guy that tortured John McCain probably made the very items covering your goods right now.  What I am saying is simply, we have done worse. Let’s not act like Cuba are the only people to have ever opposed America and done bad things to their people.

Big Macs and Starbucks

Here is the thing, despite all the evils those other countries have committed, you can still go get a Big Mac in anyone of them.  In fact, I actually taught English in China back in 2004 after I returned from Iraq.  I can remember touring the Forbidden Palace in Beijing.  Now this is a place where no foreigner was allowed for like a 1,000 years or something.  Do you know what I bought right in the middle of it? You guessed it, a Starbucks coffee.  We engaged China and they like what we had to offer. In fact, I’m pretty sure if those ancient imperial terra cotta warriors ever wake up, they will have a Starbucks too.  Why, because the world likes American stuff no matter how much they like to malign us.

Normal Relations with Cuba

Trade is a powerful thing. It can transform cultures in ways that far surpass the most brilliant diplomacy.  You see, if you believe in the market like I do, then regardless of what systems a government has in place, human beings act upon what they want. I have traveled to several parts of the world and to be honest, people are pretty much roughly the same no matter where you go.  Cubans like our stuff, I promise you they do.  Chances are, we like their stuff too.  I know I wouldn’t mind a good Cuban cigar.  In fact, the only one I ever had was one I bought at a hotel in the city of Al Kut Iraq.  It was as dry as the sand over there, but you know what, I bought it and smoked it with my war buddy because why not. When American dollars start flooding into Cuba, Cuba will change more in 10 years than it has in the past 50.

Geography

Look, it just makes sense.  To be honest, having Cuba marked as an enemy 90 miles off our coast has always bothered me.  It is a longer trip for me to get from Memphis to Nashville than it would be to get from Florida to Havana.  This hemisphere is supposed to be our sphere of influence.  Its our playground and when I look at a map of the Western hemisphere, it just never made sense to have Cuba off limits. You wouldn’t take that strategy in a game of Risk and its foolish for us to do it in real life.  The truth is, our cultural presence will be too significant for Cuba to still be the same afterwards while being so close to our borders.

But think of what all Castro has done you say?  To which I reply that was so John F. Kennedy ago.  Honestly, if it were not for the Cuban American vote, this probably would have happened a long time ago.  It was a foreign policy that persisted without merit.  It existed for the sake of winning Florida in the Electoral College. Someone had to break this foolish trend and why not Obama.  After all, he kind of just went crazy on immigration lately, so maybe he figures he can get away with this in Cuba and pull it off.  I care about immigration, but I don’t care about keeping Cuba in the 1960’s when the rest of the world has moved on.

So there you have it.  I say us and Cuba could have been best friends all along.  Think of all the cigars we could have enjoyed and vacations spent in the exotic island of Cuba. After all, if it was good for Ernest Hemingway, then its good for me in my book as Hemingway was one of my favorite authors.  Finally, there is Guantanamo Bay.  I don’t know about you, but if I am a Marine stationed there forced to spend all my days rectally feeding terrorist, I could use a good 72 hour libbo in Havana. It makes sense people.  Conservatives in Congress are going nuts because Obama did it.  Obama will be gone in two years, its time to move on from that.  Let’s just examine this for what it is. Namely, a good idea.  We are going to be best friends Cuba, I just know it.  In fact, I’ll be on the first plane to Havana once allowed to smoke a cigar there myself.  Except I can’t afford that and I didn’t bother to ask my wife yet about that.  But what do you say all fans of Unprecedented Mediocrity pool our resources together and make that happen.  I imagine if we all get together, we can solve all the world’s problems before we finish the first cigar. But soon Cuba, soon.  Best friends you and I.

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Jeff Edwards

3 Comments

  1. I can’t believe it…my desire for a Cuban cigar is causing me to say, “Thanks Obama”

  2. Brilliant article. The line “That’s right, most likely a cousin of a friend of the guy that tortured John McCain probably made the very items covering your goods right now.” made me laugh out loud!

    You’d think when a policy has failed for fifty years people would think to try something different… And it’s not just Cuba. Where have sanctions actually worked? Iraq? Iran? It seems to just make the lives of the citizenry miserable while giving their corrupt leaders fodder for retaining power by blaming it all on the “evil empire”. Even Putin is blaming the recent tanking of the ruble on American sanctions. The rulers are always fine, it’s just the people of their nations that are made to suffer.

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