LA Times: Obama Scores on US-Cuba Relations

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There is a strong wind that all of a sudden seems to be moving US-Cuba relations in new directions.
Presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton are going to have to decide whether they are going to spend political capital to keep US-Cuba relations in grooves carved out over five decades and defended by Bush — or whether they are going to be part of charting a new, more constructive course.
The Los Angeles Times today ran an editorial that pulls no punches in highlighting the failures of a five-decade old American strategy that has yielded nothing for American interests. The editorial juxtaposes Clinton and Obama — who are on conflicting pages when it comes to loosening the tight noose that Bush has strangled Cuban-American families with when it comes to family travel.
But impressively, the Times calls for full, unrestricted travel, which is my own position as well as that of Senator Chris Dodd, whose statement on US-Cuba relations still sets the gold standard.
Here is a segment of the Los Angeles Times editorial, “Obama’s Right on Cuba“:

. . .after the U.S. has tried for nearly 50 years to force a regime change in Cuba by way of economic embargo with no success whatsoever, Obama is one of the few presidential contenders who dares to suggest that it’s time to try something different.
Some might consider Obama’s move courageous given the political power of Florida’s Cuban American community, which helped put George W. Bush in the White House in 2000 and has cheered his efforts to tighten sanctions on Cuba. But the minority of Cuban immigrants who vote Democratic is deeply divided on the travel ban and would like to be able to send more money to relatives at home, so Obama may not be staking out such a bold position after all.
Regardless of the political implications, Obama is clearly right — the only problem is, his proposal doesn’t go far enough. The travel ban should be lifted for everybody, not just Cuban immigrants. It is the height of irony that Americans can freely travel to countries such as Venezuela and Iran, which represent genuine threats to our security and economic interests, but not to Cuba, whose government is a threat only to its own people.
The ban has done nothing to weaken Castro, but it does keep U.S. tourist dollars out of the hands of Cubans, who might be less inclined to heed their regime’s anti-U.S. propaganda if Americans were helping to raise their standard of living.
The U.S. shouldn’t lift all economic sanctions on Cuba until the island’s regime makes progress on democracy and human rights, but policies such as the travel ban and limits on remittances are simply counterproductive. Score one for Obama.

I’d say that Obama has scored a “big one.” I hope Hillary Clinton modifies her position because a foreign policy that promotes Cold War era thinking is not what this nation needs to get its national security posture back in to some kind of acceptable shape.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

15 comments on “LA Times: Obama Scores on US-Cuba Relations

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “POA writes: “Yet, along comes someone like Ron Paul, or Dennis Kucinich, bringing to the table UNWAVERING POSITIONS, long held.”
    “Yes, long held, but ineffectual in their implementation.”…..(MP)
    Using your skunkshit logic, we should vote for anyone that supported the invasion of Iraq, or implemented illegal wiretaps, because they were “effective in their implementation”.
    In your twisted sense of what makes a candidate viable, it is their ability to push through any policy, even if its criminal. Basically, you are saying that Bush’s ability to lie his ass off, and convince a bunch of treasonous posturing cowards in Congress to attack Iraq, makes him more qualified to lead this nation than the one or two senators that had the integrity, the knowledge, and the conviction to oppose the invasion of Iraq.
    Thats fuckin’ brilliant, MP.

    Reply

  2. MP says:

    POA writes: “Like Steve, I find stances I can agree with, from both candidates, and stances I take exception to, from both candidates. But this is true of ALL the candidates, is it not? ”
    True. Good point. Of course. But it comes down to the details. And, in the case of Paul, he also adheres to a philosophy which I very much dislike. So, even if he’s right on Iraq and Cuba, there’s a lot of baggage behind him I’m not willing to take on–to put it mildly.
    POA writes: “Yet, along comes someone like Ron Paul, or Dennis Kucinich, bringing to the table UNWAVERING POSITIONS, long held.”
    Yes, long held, but ineffectual in their implementation.

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  3. Miriam says:

    Hi, Joe.
    Do you know Chapman? Whose tool is he? Isn’t he entitled to his opinion too?
    its ironic. You are saying that Obama is being realistic, is similar to what I said about Hillary.
    I am happy Gonzalez is gone!
    Miriam

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gosh, MP and MarkL sure avoided this one, didn’t they? I guess it didn’t leave much room for straw.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Further on this subject, I have been accused of “sharing” Ron Paul’s political ideals by MarkL, who has perfectly followed the EXACT SCRIPT that the MSM is on discrediting and marginalizing Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. MarkL even went so far as to label me “pro-life” because I agree witrh Paul’s stance of letting the individual states decide the issue of abortion.
    The truth is that the larger issue, for me, is NOT the pros or cons of the political stances of Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich. The larger issue is their purposeful exclusion from the process, no matter their political views. Like Steve, I find stances I can agree with, from both candidates, and stances I take exception to, from both candidates. But this is true of ALL the candidates, is it not? But to discount the long held positions of non-mainstream candidates, only to laud the recently assumed positions of mass marketed status quo lackeys such as Hillary or Obama, underscores all that is WRONG about our modern political process. I find it hard to have faith in the convicttion of someone liker Hillary or Obama. Hillary has been all over the spectrum on Iraq, and Obama has done virtually NOTHING to boost him to Presidential status, except fellate the very powers that have made such a pathetic SHAM out of our political process by making residence at the White House little more than a bought and paid for entitlement to whoever raises the biggest bribes and tells the biggest lies.
    Yet, along comes someone like Ron Paul, or Dennis Kucinich, bringing to the table UNWAVERING POSITIONS, long held. Who can doubt the veracity or conviction of such long held unwavering opinions on policy? Even in disagreement with policy opinions, one has to admire the integrity and conviction behind such tenacity of opinion. And, in the case of both Paul and Kucinich, their steady and unwavering opposition to the debacle in Iraq, as well as both of their oppostions to the Patriot Act and the steady erosion of our rights, their message becomes a message that MUST BE HEARD. In addition, the fact that their early predictions about the DISASTER that would befall Bush’s Iraq policy tells us that they not only state their views with conviction and integrity, but that their knowledge and understanding of foreign policy contains a degree of competence and realism that has been sorely lacking in the other presidential hopefuls.
    But how do Steve and those like him, as well as the MSM media, treat such political accuity and ideological conviction? By ostracizing, trivializing, swiftboating and marginalizing.
    Something is VERY wrong with that picture, and our nation is suffering from it. If it doesn’t change, than our downhill slide will continue unabated. And frankly, it ain’t much farther to the bottom, and we are damned near there.

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  6. easy e says:

    And sadly, you are complicit.
    Posted by: PissedOffAmerican at August 26, 2007 11:09 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Steve, how is TWN’s situation any different from FOX, CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, and other MSM media whores that provide virtually no exposure to non-establishment opponents? You’re spoonfeeding us with Hillary/Obama or Rudy/Mitt. Sounds complicit to me, which sadly TWN has in common with MSM.

    Reply

  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But I also need to keep some element of reality to my commentary regarding the positions of Hillary and Obama – because if the election were tomorrow, one of them would win.”
    Yep. Precisely because the media, and people like yourself, make it impossible for “alternative” candidates like Paul or Kucinich to break through the walls of obstacles you put up, impeding thier ability to be heard or recognized. Basically, what you are saying is “I will not give them exposure, because they aren’t getting exposure, because we won’t give them exposure”.
    And, please note that Ron Paul’s comments about Cuba were made in 2002. So, not giving his policy suggestions exposure really has very little to do with his candidacy viability, does it not? If it is the message, and the policy, that is important, what is the excuse for not giving his 2002 policy suggestions exposure in 2002, when they were made?
    What I see is the mass marketed mainstream “performers” assuming postures to impress their targeted consituency, while the leadership figures that have long held those postures are ignored and trivialized. Meanwhile, the less than flattering positions, such as Obama’s telling comments about his “feelings” on impeachment are shoved under the rug by you.
    Sorry Steve, but if you are going to laud candidates on their foreign policy stances, while ignoring the same long held stances of thier political opponents, then it becomes fairly obvious that you are selling the candidate and not the policy.
    And, to be honest, it pains me to see you do not recognize the danger this nation is in by the continued selling of insincere, expensive, and opportunistic campaigning propaganda in order to place individuals in the White House and our higher offices. The ilk of Hillary and Obama are the problem, not the solution. And your participation in such unabashed marketing of the status quo is disheartening, to say the least. This nation is at a serious crossroads, and it appears we are going to get it wrong yet once again. And sadly, you are complicit.

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  8. Kathleen says:

    arthurdecco…
    Amen and then some.
    As long as people are being blown to bits in Iraq and soon to be in Iran, I find it hard to focus on Cuba-US relations. Venzuela is a threat because they are “socialist”.
    Oooooooh sooo scarey for venture capitalists. For the rest of us, not so scarey.

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  9. arthurdecco says:

    From the LA Times Editorial: “It is the height of irony that Americans can freely travel to countries such as Venezuela and Iran, which represent genuine threats to our security and economic interests, but not to Cuba, whose government is a threat only to its own people.”
    This is just so much hogwash.
    Can someone please explain to me how Venezuela represents a genuine threat to the USA’s security and economic interests? Aren’t they being labeled a threat by the ruling classes because they’re encouraging their fellow Latin American countries, (and other countries around the world), to enter into equitable trade agreements with each other rather than into inequitable and unfair trade agreements with the USA – a country that has raped their Latin American economies from the beginning of their involvement with them – a violent country controlled by a cabal of thugs, criminals and charlatans who have nothing but contempt for the rule of law, international or otherwise, when it interferes with their pursuit of personal profit?
    No, it isn’t the USA that is threatened by Chavez and Venezuela – it’s the criminal business class in power in the United States that is threatened by Venezuela because Venezuela is now perfectly positioned to show the world that there may indeed be a better way to do business than the now-discredited wide open free market system advocated by the greedy, stick-fingered goons that are decimating the underpinnings of American social and economic order with their abusive misuse of government, media and social/religious institutions.
    This editorial is just more “baffle-‘em-wit-bullshit” from the fascists lurking in the crowd. When are Americans going to smarten up and start ignoring the serial liars who write anonymous editorials for reich wing wrags like the LA Times? How can any of you continue to use their oft-repeated nonsense as a basis for rational argument/discussion?
    In my opinion, Venezuela, Iran and Cuba are no more a threat to the USA than the Marshall Islands or Guam are. Anyone who honestly believes they are a threat is dangerously delusional, and anyone who uses this belief as a central plank in their arguments is playing right into the hands of the con men in charge.
    Fools, everyone!

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  10. Steve Clemons says:

    POA — I like Ron Paul on a lot of fronts (not all), and heard that he had a huge gathering in Pittsburgh recently — but he’s not on the charts when it comes to a credible election run. I will comment on him down the road a bit — just as I do about Chris Dodd and others who probably aren’t in a position to win either. But I also need to keep some element of reality to my commentary regarding the positions of Hillary and Obama – because if the election were tomorrow, one of them would win. That’s just a fact — and thus Hillary’s and Obama’s foreign policy views need to be engaged seriously.
    JoeCHI — not really sure if there is bad blood there or not. Good question though,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  11. JoeCHI says:

    Steve:
    In Zbig’s endorsement of Obama, I expected glowing praise. However, I was taken aback by Zbig’sa very, very impolitic remarks regarding Clinton.
    Is there bad blood there?

    Reply

  12. JoeCHI says:

    Steve:
    In Bzig’s endorsement of Obama, I expected glowing praise. However, I was taken aback by the very, very impolitic remarks regarding Clinton.
    Is there bad blood there?

    Reply

  13. Joe Klein's conscience says:

    Miriam:
    Chapman is a tool. He slams Obama for not going far enough. It’s obvious what Obama is doing though. He is setting his sights on attainable goals(in this case at least). Also, it is obvious why we trade with China and not Cuba. Look at the population difference. China can add a huge punch to a corporation’s bottom lines. Cuba, not so much.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Once again, what is Steve selling, responsible policy, or status quo candidates. If responsible policy towards Cuba is important, then why laud Obama, yet ignore Ron Paul?
    Opening Cuban Markets Good for Cubans and Americans
    News Release from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)
    July 18, 2002
    Washington, DC: Congressman Ron Paul is working with several congressional colleagues this week to end trade restrictions that hurt Texas farmers. While the House considers several large spending bills, including a bill that funds agricultural programs, Paul and others plan to use the amendment process to block the Cuban agricultural embargo. More than 270 members of the House voted in April to allow private financing for agricultural sales to Cuba by American banks, and Paul hopes that momentum from that vote will spill over into this week.
    “Decades of agricultural trade sanctions have done nothing to topple the Castro regime, but they have hurt American farmers and the Cuban people,” Paul stated. “Our farmers should not be denied access to markets because of a misguided and ineffective State department policy. Our current approach simply opens the door for farmers around the world to exploit the Cuban market. Rather than punishing our farmers with trade embargoes, Congress should be eliminating barriers and opening new markets like Cuba.”
    Paul notes that trade advisory groups estimate U.S. exports of food to Cuba could amount to $400 million within five years. He introduced legislation last year that would allow free trade and travel with Cuba, while banning and federal aid or subsidies for the island nation.
    Ron Paul, M.D., represents the 14th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives.

    Reply

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