Thursday, August 2, 2007

The (geopolitical) greatness of Fidel

Via Cubapolidata, a good read in itself, here’s an item on Fidel Castro and Cuba from Stratfor, a commercial service that sells news and analysis with an “intelligence” cachet.

The thesis is this: that geography is destiny; that Cuba, being small and close to the United States, is destined not to oppose U.S. interests; and that Fidel Castro is a figure of world-historical proportions because he defied geography’s destiny and gave Cuba a geopolitical weight and importance far out of proportion to its size and incongruent with its location.

And that Raul will not fill Fidel’s shoes, so Cuba without Fidel will soon return to what Stratfor views as Cuban proportions. “Raul’s call for better relations,” the logic goes, “is not so much a bold stroke of statecraft but an admission of the inevitable.”

I’m not so sure. In my estimation, there’s a lot in the Cuban case that doesn’t fit the geography-is-destiny thesis.

I don’t think Raul’s discussion of U.S. relations was rooted in weakness or was a sign of resignation; if anything he was resigning himself to the fact that the current Administration won’t enter a dialogue no matter how many times Cuba offers.

As for threats, the military threat is gone already, and the ideological threat, such as it is, extends beyond Cuba, does not depend on Fidel, and is no longer Marxist-Leninist in nature. And if the United States can’t respond to the ideological challenge of Venezuelan largesse and Cuban medical aid, then we’re not as big as Stratfor thinks.

1 comment:

leftside said...

The ideological threat to the "Washington concensus" is very real and very much on the minds of US global policy makers. It extends far beyond Latin America and certainly is not dependent on Venezuelan largesse or Cuban medical aid (though it helps). But Venezuela, like Cuba, must not be allowed to succeed. Or if we can't stop that, at least the public perception of that success must be discredited. The same is true in any country that dares still challenge the dictat of neo-liberalism and money take all democracy (Belarus, Russia, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc.)