Cuba Si, Obama Maybe
The devil is, as always, in the details, but I support, in concept at least, Obama's plan to open up to Cuba.
I write this having visited the Caribbean island in my lefty days (illegally, of course) and found it to be a wretched totalitarian state that treated its people (tiny nomenklatura excepted) like medieval serfs and turned the beautiful buildings of historic Havana into an unmitigated slum. Cuba is a monument to the insanity of "scientific" socialism, an island-sized jail run by a megalomaniacal thug and his creepy brother.
BUT... the fifty-year (or whatever it is) boycott has not worked. It has not made things one jot better for the Cuban people. Nothing has changed. The place still stinks. If something hasn't worked for decades, it's time for a new approach.
So I welcome Obama's initiative - if only for co-optation purposes - and have a simultaneous suggestion for educational purposes, although I doubt it will be listened to. Why not take a few million of those skillions of stimulus (or whatever it is ) dollars and make a movie that tells the real truth about Che Guevara, rather than the objectively pro-fascist hagiographic gibberish that my Hollywood colleagues have been making. And if that's too costly, how about a documentary that tells the story of the treatment of gays in Cuba? Cuba, according to the New York Times, of all Fidel friendly places, is the "only country in the world to have quarantined homosexuals." (Of course, things are a bit better now - let's hope.)
UPDATE: This approach of Obama's - outreach to the moderate Taliban - seems much less promising. What exactly is a moderate Taliban? Someone who beats a woman but doesn't kill her? Scars her but doesn't decapitate her? The mind boggles.