This morning, the United States officially removed Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list. This represents a crucial step in moving forward on a establishing a more effective Cuba policy. It was also an appropriate measure, as Cuba’s presence on the list has long been considered questionable, and threatened to dilute the meaning and effectiveness of that list.
Though there are still many areas of disagreement with the Cuban Government, it is clear that the previous half-century of U.S. policy towards Cuba has not produced a desirable outcome. ASP welcomes this opportunity for change.
The next steps will include further efforts to officially reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba. This is not something that should be seen as U.S. “approval” of Cuba’s policies—but rather as a necessary matter of international relations and national security in a globalized world. During the Cold War, the United States maintained relations with the “Evil Empire” of the Soviet Union, a country rife with human rights abuses, and posing an existential threat to America. In the 70s, America pursued a policy of re-engagement with China, another country seen as antithetical to American ideals. In both cases, transparency and official relations, including military-to-military, have seriously benefited both U.S. national security and the security of the world.
A new Cuba policy may not guarantee rapid advancement on issues like human rights, as any scholar of Russia and China may tell you. These issues certainly should never be ignored. But it does provide an avenue to constructively advocate for U.S. interests in an official capacity. It also provides a means for coordinating security in the Caribbean, which affects American and Cuban security alike. With this, there will be countless opportunities for people-to-people exchange and relationship building, something for which the populations of both countries are clamoring.
We therefore support this effort to reestablish relations and advance on areas which benefit the security of people in both countries.