25 April 2007

Spot The Difference

Read the following in the latest International Herald Tribune and then replace Cuba with Iran. Sound familiar?

It's time to trade with Cuba

Two things should be clear concerning America's Cuba policy: Everything the United States has tried over the past five decades has failed, and it is high time that Washington does something to help transform the country's Communist system. ...

All of this is not bad in itself. The danger is that this Cuban-Venezuelan axis will stimulate anti-American populism across the whole region.

If the risks of keeping the status quo in place seem obvious, it is even more evident that Washington's travel bans, economic sanctions, and the refusal to extend diplomatic ties to Cuba have not only failed, they have damaged Washington's interests.

These tough measures have harmed both ordinary Cubans and Washington's relations with Latin America and Europe. They have strengthened Cuba's Communist regime by increasing the state's grip on key economic resources, and they have helped cement Cuba's alliance with Venezuela.

Since we have not succeeded in bullying the Cubans into submission, we should try to woo them by offering trade with the United States and integration into the international market system. How long could the Communist economy - or the Communist government - survive such an opening?
As the article goes on to note about Iranian sanctions, "U.S. sanctions imposed in the era before President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power blocked Iranian reforms, undermined the country's liberals, strengthened the clerical regime's grip on the economy and perpetuated its rule."