Thursday, October 23, 2003

# Posted 11:50 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BUSH IS DEAD WRONG ABOUT CUBA: It's time to lift the travel ban, lift trade restrictions, lift everything. Cuba is a small island just off the coast of Florida. The more open it is to American influence, the more its people will recognize that there are alternatives to living in a police state of misery.

Now I'm sure you've heard this argument before. It's called "engagement". And both liberals and conservatives spent much of the 1990s arguing that the more we engaged China, the more its government would embrace Western political and economic systems.

Yeah right. China is a vast nation, distant from the United States both geographically and culturally. We could only engage it at the margins. But Cuba is fundamentally different. Now, the President is probably right that if that the travel ban etc. is lifted, a significant percentage of the resultant income will go straight into the pockets of the Communist government. But that's not the point.

We are going to overwhelm Cuba with ideas. And we may be able to foster something of a private sector that has assets of its own. Moreover, even Castro's loyal bureaucrats may recognize that their cut of the goods is nothing compared to what it would be if liberalization went even further.

So I wish Congress all the best in its efforts to overcome the President's veto threat. But what do you expect? In 2000, the President's victory margin in Florida consisted of 3000 old Jews who voted for Buchanan. He can't afford to tangle with the Cubans. But Congress can.
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