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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 9, 2008 2 Adar II 5768

Is there a cure for Cuba?

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On Dec. 29, 1962, 11 months before he was murdered by an advocate for Fidel Castro's regime (Lee Harvey Oswald had distributed propaganda on a New Orleans street for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee), President John Kennedy, speaking in Miami's Orange Bowl to veterans of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, received from them a Cuban flag and vowed, "I can assure you that this flag will be returned to this brigade in a free Havana." In Cuba, too, regime change has turned out to be more problematic than American policymakers imagined.


Even after the Bay of Pigs — arguably the most feckless use of U.S. power ever— Cuba unhinged some American officials. In his biography of Robert Kennedy, Newsweek's Evan Thomas reports that one high-ranking CIA operative had a plan "to surface an American submarine just over the Havana horizon to fire star shells into the night sky, in the hopes of convincing the Cubans that the Second Coming was imminent, thus spurring them to get rid of the anti-Christ — Castro." Skeptics called this "elimination by illumination."


The question of what should be done now begins with the matter of the U.S. trade embargo. Cuban Americans demanded its imposition in 1961, applauded its strengthening in 1996 and largely favor its continuation. Changing it would be politically problematic. The Cuban American vote can be decisive in Florida, whose 27 electoral votes are 10 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Add the 15 electoral votes of New Jersey, another state with a large Cuban American community, and 16 percent of the 270 can turn on policy toward Cuba.


The embargo was imposed when Cuba was a salient of Soviet values and interests in this hemisphere. Today, Cuba is a sad, threadbare geopolitical irrelevancy. Far from threatening Castro's regime, the embargo has enabled Castro to exploit Cubans' debilitating mentality of taking comfort from victimhood — the habit, more than a century old, of blaming problems on others, first on Spain and then on the United States.


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Those facts do not, however, by themselves make the case for ending the embargo without some reciprocal liberalization by (the other) Castro's regime. Granted, it is arguable that the embargo should be abandoned, or significantly eased, regardless of how the Cuban regime behaves, because the regime has much to fear from any increased permeation of Cuba by foreign commercial and intellectual presences.


U.S. policy toward Cuba should, however, be conditioned, and perhaps haunted, by U.S. policy toward China. That policy was supposed to result in steady, slow-motion regime change through candid subversion in broad daylight. The premise has been that the cure for communism is commerce with the capitalist world. The assumption is that capitalism brings, because it requires, an ethic of trust and the rule of law in the form of promise-keeping (contracts). Also, the protection of private property gives individuals a sphere of sovereignty and whets their appetites for a politics of popular sovereignty.


This has been called "the Starbucks fallacy" (see James Mann's book "The China Fantasy"): When people become accustomed to many choices of coffee, they will demand many political choices. This doctrine may be being refuted by the emergence of a China that has become wealthier without becoming less authoritarian.


Cuba has negligible democratic traditions and no living experience with a culture of pluralism and persuasion. In Iraq, Russia and elsewhere, we have seen how decades of tyranny degrade a public's capacity for a democratic culture. We also have tested, and found questionable, the proposition that democratic institutions can precede and create such a culture.


The embargo is being partially vitiated by dollars — about a billion of them, equivalent to about 2 percent of Cuba's gross domestic product — sent to Cuba by the Cuban diaspora, 1.5 million strong. That diaspora supports the embargo, but dollar remittances from abroad can be spent only in government stores, so they accrue to the benefit of the regime.


Castro, whose personal worth is estimated at nearly $1 billion, has sternly — and proudly — told Cubans, whose average annual income is less than $200, "We're not a consumer society." That is not news where shampoo is scarce.


Six years ago, Castro's regime gathered 8 million signatures from among the 11 million captive Cubans for a petition — was that necessary? — to amend Cuba's constitution (is it necessary?) to declare communism "irrevocable." Let us now praise the much-misunderstood Viking King Canute, who commanded the tide to recede in order to demonstrate that it would not obey.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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