Thursday, March 20, 2008

Belatedly, Once more, On Cuba

by Ken Houghton

UPDATE: De Long responds, accurately, here. Though I'm still inclined to believe that, at best, the U.S. fallout would have been even worse, his scenario is at least plausible from the Cuban perspective.

Catching up on my skimming (in preparation for having a while with time for reading), I find this Adam Clymer op-ed on the Panama Canal:
THIRTY years ago tomorrow, the conservative movement lost a major battle on the way to winning a larger war. On March 16, 1978, the Senate approved — 68 to 32, with just a single vote to spare — the first of two treaties that transferred the Panama Canal to Panama. Conservatives lamented the result, saying it threatened national security and might put the canal in Communist hands.

But losing the canal led to important victories for conservatives. The transfer of the canal to Panama provided the margins for defeat of five Democratic senators in 1978 and 1980, enough to give Ronald Reagan a Republican majority when he took office in 1981. That majority was essential to Mr. Reagan’s legislative successes.

And I am reminded once again of Cuba, and Brad De Long's reply to Jessica (#5) when she noted that "once that die was cast, I don't see where Castro ever had a chance to switch directions without risking not only US invasion, but vindictive and brutal US invasion":
As to when Fidel could have switched to a eurocommunist or social-democratic model without immediately losing his head--well, 1968 with Dubcek, or 1975 with Sadat, or anytime in the Carter administration, certainly.

The man who barely had enough political capital to get rid of an aging, increasingly less valuable resource does not seem likely to have been able to repel the Cuban Mafia's Calls for a Takeover.

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