Friday, April 17, 2015

'Historic'? More Like Disheartening

The meeting between United States president Barack Obama and Cuban president Raúl Castro has been described as a historic one between Cold War adversaries. Personally, I am thrilled that relations between the two countries hopefully are moving beyond one of antagonism. Nevertheless, as a Cuban-American whose grandfather was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba - never to return even to visit after Fidel Castro’s takeover - and whose family and relatives suffered at the hands of the Castro regime, I am less enthusiastic. [For more on the subject, read my personal narrative, Echoes From An Unexamined Life.] While communist Cuba may no longer have the wholesale support of the former Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), it is still an oppressive adversary that is the antithesis of liberty and justice. And the U.S. president - so-called “leader of the free world” - met and shook hands with one of its architects, who has sworn to maintain the Communist Party of Cuba that reflects his hardline socialist stance. For several years, there has been speculation Castro wishes to reflect a variant of the communist China model in order to preserve it, which leads to my next point...

Despite what President Obama and his advisers may believe, the Cold War is anything but over. He was wrong during the 2012 debates, and he is still wrong. Go figure, his reality not matching facts. At the very least, it went on hiatus - but only as concerns the former Soviet Union. What is forgotten, and hardly ever mentioned, is that there were always THREE players in the Cold War: the United States, the U.S.S.R....and China. While the U.S.S.R. collapsed, China is still communist and adversarial economically, militarily and politically toward the United States. Sorry, Mr. President, but they didn’t get the memo about the Cold War ending. Honestly, relations between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. really only thawed rather than warmed throughout the 1990s, as the new Russian Federation reformed and stabilized in its wake. Lest it be forgotten too, up until September 10, 2001, U.S. policy both politically and militarily still was geared toward a Cold War mentality; that only changed to an anti-terrorism focus following the September 11 attacks. Hardly the 1980s calling, Mr. President. Yet, despite this shift in focus, Obama continues to refuse acknowledgment of the continuing threat of terrorist groups like al Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc, which leads me to my next point...

This is the same president who believes the most recent Iran deal is a good one toward the abject failure that is “peace in the Middle East.” The number of times I have heard that phrase over my lifetime, only for it to sour time and again. This current incarnation is no different. Iran - long-time backers of Hamas and Hezbollah - seeks no less than to reformulate a Cold War of its own making in the region...and, again, has been doing so since the 1980s, Mr. President. For four decades, Iran has sought to become a nuclear power. One would think that the constant taunt of annihilating Israel - an historically close ally that Obama consistently throws shade at, but eagerly will meet with the likes of Castro - coupled with “Death to America” chants would raise some alarms. Not with the Obama Administration though, who, like Neville Chamberlain with Germany before the Second World War, has handed Iran everything they have ever wanted in a deal that gives nothing in return except their continued support of terrorist groups and blind trust that they will not build nuclear weapons. (At least with Iraq, useless weapons inspectors stood ready to uselessly inspect Saddam’s secreted weapons cache that he vehemently refused them to properly inspect. We know how that turned out.)

‘Historic’ meeting(s)? Hardly. More like disheartening, and dangerously naive.

©2015 Steve Sagarra

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