Friday, November 27, 2009

The new tone in Cuba

"Cuba's armed forces launched three days of intense military exercises across the island Thursday, a mobilization that state-controlled media says is designed to guard against an American invasion. Americans focused on a U.S. military assault more likely are thinking about how President Barack Obama will pursue war in Afghanistan -- not Cuba. But the siege mentality of the Cold War hasn't faded on the island, where the communist government continues to warn about imperialist aggression and the menace from the north. The exercises, which run through Saturday, are the first since President Raúl Castro took over from his brother Fidel in February 2008 -- and since relations between Havana and Washington began to thaw somewhat under Obama. The U.S. leader has loosened financial and travel restrictions on Cuba. The two countries have begun negotiations on restarting direct mail service, and there is talk of future cooperation on counter-narcotics and disaster relief, among other things. More than the specifics, officials on both sides speak of a new tone between Havana and Washington that has made further progress a possibility. But the rhetoric connected with Thursday's mobilization -- dubbed "Bastion 2009" - - displayed none of that new warmth."

Every time the Obama administration reaches out to one of these radical regimes, we end up looking like fools. It doesn't matter if America has a "new tone" if our counterparts are crazy dictators.

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