World Peace: What A Concept!
President Obama is easing trade and travel restrictions in an effort to extend an olive branch to Cuba. Perhaps ending the four-decade-old embargo will be next.
The provisions are contained in a $410bn (£290bn) spending bill due to be voted on this week. The legislation would allow Americans with immediate family in Cuba to visit annually, instead of once every three years, and broaden the definition of immediate family. It would also drop a requirement that Havana pay cash in advance for US food imports.
The US isn’t alone in rethinking its Cuba policy.
The presidents of Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Guatemala have recently visited Havana to deepen economic and political ties. Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is expected to tell Obama on a White House visit this week that the region views the US embargo as anachronistic and vindictive. Easing it would help mend Washington’s strained relations with the “pink tide” of leftist governments.
This news comes at the same time Obama is considering outreach to moderate elements of the Taliban. The president told the Times that we’re not winning the war in Afghanistan, and that the outreach we did to Sunnis in Iraq can be the blueprint for progress in that country.
Mr. Obama pointed to the success in peeling Iraqi insurgents away from more hard-core elements of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a strategy that many credit as much as the increase of American forces with turning the war around in the last two years. “There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region,” he said, while cautioning that solutions in Afghanistan will be complicated.
While much has been written about the change of atmosphere in the new Obamaworld, these stunning developments speak loudly to how the world can change with a new attitude toward former adversaries. Pretty smart: discontinuing policies that have failed for years.Click here for reuse options!
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