The somewhat extraordinary final day of President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba was eclipsed by news of the attacks in Brussels, First there was the joint Obama-Castro news conference in which the Cuban leader actually had the novel experience of having to answer freely asked questions. Then there was the overlooked story that those notorious communist sympathizers at Google have agreed to provide the country with cheap and fast Internet, confirming fatuous Newt Gingrich’s point that President Obama is a suspected traitor, or something like that. Finally, there was a feel-good photo op: a baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays, which Obama described accurately as, well, “somewhat extraordinary.”
Tag Archive for Barack Obama
The meeting of the two presidents–and the dissolution of the six-decades long Cold War between the two governments–was accompanied by the announcement that the Starwood Hotels and AirBnB are competing in Havana.
You could say the evolution of Cuban socialism has taken a new turn. You could say that the wall of economic embargo and diplomatic hostility that Washington built between the American people and the Cuban people is coming down. Either way, President Obama is making good on a signature promise of his 2008 campaign: to sit down and talk to America’s enemies in an effort to find a more productive relationship. Read more
While Obama will not shy away from discussing human rights, “the difference here is that in the past, because of certain U.S. policies, the message that was delivered in that regard either overtly or implicitly suggested that the United States was seeking to pursue regime change . . . or the United States thought we could dictate the direction of Cuba,” Rhodes said.
In a “blunt” speech at American University, President Obama “aggressively” defended the international agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program by invoking the daring diplomacy of President John F. Kennedy.
The polemical fire in Obama’s address targeted the many critics of the deal who supported the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. The setting invoked JFK’s “strategy of peace” speech, delivered on the same campus in June 1963. The analogy of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal to JFK’s Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty took up much of the speech.
But the historical strength of Obama’s argument came from another source: Read more
This was the moment President John F. Kennedy was angling for 52 years ago: reconciliation between the United States and Cuba.
President Obama met yesterday with Cuban president Raul Castro, the first face to face meeting of the country’s leaders since the mid-20th century. Obama said “Cuba is not a threat to the United States.” His appearance was condemned by Obama’s Republican critics just as JFK’s Cuba policy was condemned by his opponents.
“By 36, two of his brothers were stolen from him in the most tragic, public of ways. By 41, he nearly lost a beloved child to cancer. And that made suffering something he knew. And it made him more alive to the suffering of others. ” Read more
At the heart of the tortured relationship between the United States and Cuba over the past half century is–or was–the assassination of President Kennedy. Now that the two countries have agreed to a more normal relationship, symbolized by President Obama’s upcoming visit, maybe, just maybe, a more detached, realistic and informed view of November 22, 1963 is possible.
“Todos somos Americanos.” We are all Americans.
With those words, President Obama made an epic and overdue announcement today: the United States and Cuba will normalize relations that were broken off in January 1961 as President John F. Kennedy took office. “These 50 years have showed that isolation has not worked,” the president said.
Not only will the United States open an embassy in Havana, it will release three Cubans imprisoned for decades on trumped-up spying charges. The Cubans will release U.S. government contractor Alan Gross, held for five years on trumped-up charges, and a previously unknown U.S. intelligence agent imprisoned for many years in Cuba.
British historian John Simkin adds important detail to the story of Ben Bradlee and CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton after the assassination of President Kennedy.
I find Simkin to be a credible and knowledgeable writer. If he has made any mistakes, please let me know via email.
In a commentary on the diminished hope of President Obama’s second term, Cathleen Carroll, executive editor of Associated Press, said Monday that Obama should not use ‘National Security’ to conceal transparency.
Once upon time, journalists expected more of the president.
From the NYTimes:
“When President Obama took office in 2009, he promised an ‘unprecedented level of openness in government.’ In a memo issued the day after his inauguration, he wrote, ‘The government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.'”
When I first read those words in 2009, I took hope that the new president’s thinking would exercise a positive benefit on my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for the JFK assassination records of deceased CIA officer George Joannides.
The president “will meet privately at the White House with leaders and volunteers from the Peace Corps program Kennedy established.”–Businessweek.