20 January 2006

Free Cuba!

I'm pleased with this bit of news about the upcoming World Baseball Classic. In an earlier post, I lamented the exclusion of Cuba from the WBC, on the grounds that it missed an opportunity to engage an unfriendly regime. More than 45 years of embargo have failed to move Castro from his place. Disallowing Cuban competition would not have either.

This revives an old debate about containment and engagement. Looking at our experience with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, engagement seemed to bring about the final end to that communist regime. It is not definitive that engagement was the death blow, following many years of containment as it did, but it did have an impact. I think Cuba could be similarly affected. Allowing Cuba to participate demonstrates that we have nothing to fear.

Some Cuban-Americans will be upset about this. They think it will benefit Castro. If Cuba is successful it might, but I don't think it is worth closing off the Cuban people. That has been the actual result of the embargo. I understand their anger. I just don't think containment is the answer.

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