New Approach to U.S.-Cuba Policy Needed, Experts Say
A book written by Peter Kornbluh and William M. LeoGrande aims to create
a “historical foundation for a dialogue,” to help policy makers change
By Paayal Zaveri
(TRNS) At a Tuesday briefing at The Brookings Institution, scholars of
Latin America and foreign policy said that in order to achieve a better
relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, President Barack Obama needs to
look at the history of dialogue and diplomacy between the two countries.
The discussion centered around a book written by panelists Peter
Kornbluh and William M. LeoGrande, entitled Back Channel to Cuba.
Kornbluh, a senior analyst from the National Security Archive, said
their goal with the book is to create a “historical foundation for a
dialogue of the present and a dialogue of the future,” which policy
makers can use.
The book also discusses Cuba’s desire for better relations with the
U.S., Kornbluh said. This issue has come up recently during former
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s book tour, he said, as Clinton said
she pushed Obama to lift the decades long U.S. embargo on Cuba.
“She spins the issue of the embargo by saying that we should lift the
embargo because really Cubans want the embargo to stay so we would be
doing something against their interests” by lifting it, Kornbluh said,
adding that this view leaves out a significant part of the story.
He said his book shows that Cuba has actually reached out to every new
President to see if better relations were possible and understanding
this part of the narrative will help shift U.S. policy towards Cuba and
Julia E. Sweig, another panelist, said Clinton has been voicing her
support for changing foreign policy towards Cuba now, before the 2016
presidential elections, as it presents campaign finance opportunities
from Cuban Americans who are also eager for change.
Sweig, a senior fellow on Latin America at the Council for Foreign
Relations, also said that changing relations with Cuba could be a
foreign policy legacy for President Obama.
In recent years, although the U.S. and Cuba have been able to
collaborate on smaller issues, the overarching issue of bettering the
relationship between the two countries remains, said LeoGrande, a
professor of government and Latin America.
LeoGrande said that Cubans want a change in the relationship and ”Obama
has said repeatedly that he too wants a change…and sees the existing
policy as a failure. But if he’s serious he has a relatively small
window of opportunity.”
Domestic politics have always played a factor, LeoGrande added, and it
remains to be seen if the current domestic situation in both the U.S.
and Cuba will allow for change.
Source: New approach To U.S.-Cuba Policy Needed, Experts SayTalk Radio
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