Saturday, August 12, 2006

Our Biological Foreign Policy

Out of the Washington Post, we hear that Thomas A. Shannon Jr., assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, sees the beginning of the end in Cuba. Conceding that the U.S. government doesn't know much about Fidel Castro's condition, Shannon argued that Fidel's absence from view was a sign that his illness was serious, and that efforts at a transition were already underway.

But Shannon predicted the regime would have a rocky time outlasting Castro. "Ultimately, this transfer won't work," he said. "Ultimately, there's no political figure inside of Cuba who matches Fidel Castro."
One of the most preposterous aspects of our policy towards Cuba is that it is strictly biological - we are waiting for the old man to die, and we aren't going to take one constructive step until he does. As if it weren't bad enough that we were stuck with a failed policy, we’re also incompetent about it. After all these years of waiting for Fidel to die, shouldn't we have better intelligence on his health? Seriously, if our entire policy towards Cuba is based on Fidel's heartbeat, shouldn't we know a whole lot about that heartbeat? I'm shocked, actually. When Tony Snow confidently stated a few days ago that Fidel was not dead, I assumed it was based on inside information. But that makes me guilty of believing for one moment that this administration was both competent and truthful - my bad.

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