by Nick Wright
With the exchange of a US spy for the remaining three Cuban anti terrorist agents held in US gaols – coupled with the restoration of diplomatic relations – President Obama has gone some way to diminish his country’s pariah status.
Apart from the Israeli settler state (and an occasional Pacific island statelet) the US has been alone in defying the annual UN resolutions that call for an end to the blockade of Cuba. In Latin America especially, in the wider international community and especially in those countries where Cuba’s renowned health and disaster relief teams operate, Cuba is held in high regard.
For millions today throughout the world Cuba’s achievements in literacy, education, public health and environmental protection serve as a model for development.
A generation ago in Africa the armed military internationalist aid given to those struggling against the apartheid regime and its US and Israeli allies in Angola and Namibia sounded the death knell for the racist regime. The apartheid army was defeated on the battlefield by Angolan, Namibian fighters aided by Cuban troops and armour with air support plus military, intelligence and security assistance from Democratic Germany and the Soviet Union.
Contrast this to the image of the US and its western allies, chief among them Britain, as imperial war mongers intent on plundering the earth for profit.
These developments represent a defeat for the long standing US strategy. It has taken Obama two terms in office to recognise what the world knows – that the global balance of power is shifting in ways that increasingly render redundant the military supremacy that the US possesses but is increasingly unable to deploy.
Of course, the US war machine has the capacity to inflict enormous damage but it is, in the final analysis, impotent in the face of a people united. An earlier generation of US politicians and generals discovered this in Vietnam, and later in Iraq and Afghanistan. No sensible US general thinks that a military strategy would work in Cuba any better that the economic measures employed for the past half century.
Now the US is going for the soft power option.