Posts Tagged ‘foreign policy’

Fidel’s and my birthday

December 17, 2014

is  August 13th, along with Alfred Hitchcock, Tony Cloninger, and Ben Hogan.   Having tried baseball and golf, because my birthday was covered in those endeavors, I also decided to forgo careers as movie producer or communist dictator.

In full disclosure, I was a high school junior when Fidel came to power in Cuba.  I may outlive him yet.   But that’s not today’s story.  Here’s one from those years.

It’s a little know fact, but Cuba did not just fall, nor was seduced into the russian/communist orb.   It spent a few seasons testing the then non-aligned nation role.   Fidel traveled to Indonesia and more notoriously India.   Here’s what happened there:

Fidel was scheduled to meet Jarawhala Nehru, India’s Prime minister.  He was expected in Delhi, but went to Bombay instead.  Making no move towards Nehru, he traveled elsewhere.   I don’t know if they ever had an amicable meeting.  The moral of the story:

While Fidel roamed, Nehru burned.

Which brings us to this day:  Dec 17, 2014.   On which the US took the first step — thanks, President Obama — to normalize relations with Cuba.  Add my voice to those who say:  “Our policy of the last 50+ years hasn’t worked.  Anything different has to be better”.   And to those who say we’re giving the Castro brothers a free pass, I’d ask, “what do they have tomorrow that they don’t already have”?   Other than citizens who can call their family in the US, or vice versa?   Duh?

And, while I’m thinking of it, those who oppose this openness belong to a certain segment of American political thought which believes opportunity is dispensed by the powerful, it is never won by the majority, the people, the “man” in the street.   Today’s US Republican can’t bear the test of the idea that freedom arises from the people.   No, our freedoms are dispensed by the Walton’s, the Koch’s and god-willing, if we grant them the lever’s of government, the Bushes.  Heaven forfend that the citizenry would ever establish its right to determine its course.   That’s what rankles the Marco Rubio’s, the Jeb Bushes, etc…

God willing, Fidel and I will celebrate another birthday together.  He’ll be no less free then, but the people of Cuba will be more free.

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A or B vs/or Yes or No

September 21, 2014

I’m tired of the opinion questions of the sort: “Do you prefer A or B?”    Today’s NYTimes offers a good example:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling: His job as President?

The strong implication is you have to choose.   Today, it’s difficult for the informed person to be short of opinion on matters of national opinion, but maybe not always.  For each of us there are varying degrees of how strong an opinion we can muster.

Years ago (’02 – ’06 ) while i was at Benedictine Academy, I thought I was having a joke with the sophomore geometry students when we examined boolean expressions such as:  A is True or B is True.   I’d answer “Yes”, if it was apparent they were mutually exclusive.   e.g. when straight ahead is not an option, the question “do we turn left or right?” i now answer “Yes”.   You might spend a little time thinking about how to rephrase the question to elucidate either “left” or “right” as an answer.

So, back to the pressing question, and my opinion:  “Do you approve or disapprove …?”    For most of the questions under the above link, my answer would be “No”.   The truest statement I could make, on Obama’s handling of foreign policy, “that i certainly don’t approve is not a statement that i therefore disapprove”.    I take the wishy-washy position since (I believe) in today’s hostile political climate,  disapproval implies from the right.   My unverifiable assertion is about one-third of Obama’s disapproval comes from the left.

So, for this class of opinion question, my answer is a resounding “NO”.