Cuba Si Yankee Si

We’ve been through a long history of “Cuba Si, Yankee No.” President Obama along with our Congressional Representative, Cheri Bustos, are in Cuba building on restored relationships, but our history with Cuba dates back to the Ostend Manifesto before the Civil War. After the Civil War, Cuba became a U.S. protectorate and we permanently acquired Guantanamo Bay. FDR’s “Good Neighbor Policy” changed that, but relations deteriorated when Castro came to power.  The economic embargo is still in place, but dilomatic relations have resumed and changes initiated by Pope Francis are taking place. For more background on Cuba, watch my Guantanamo series. I think it was time for change. What do you think?

How Did We React to Refugees in the Past?

Is there anything in our history comparable to our current refugee situation? Yes, the year was 1798.

A bit of necessary background first–The French Revolution which began in 1789 reached its most radical and horrid stage with its Reign of Terror from 1792-5 which unleashed an exodus, many to the U.S. and others to Canada. As a two party system began to develop in this era, most of these refugees gravitated to the party of Jefferson and Madison which will impact our story. Continue reading How Did We React to Refugees in the Past?

What Do the Iranian Election Results Mean?

Iranians are proud of their democratic elections, though we would hardly call them “democratic.” They’re rigged as much as possible against regime opponents. Still, moderates won a fairly decisive victory. It looks from early idications like Obama’s gamble is working. Don’t get me wrong, the levers of power are still in the hands of the hard-liners, but I’m not sure how long they can hang on. A good part of the youth of Iran is disaffected. Women are gaining ground.  If you look closely, you can see a parallel in our policies toward Cuba and Iran. That’s my opinion. What do you think? Please comment.

Is Political Ideology Responsible for Detroit’s Woes?

Despite the attempts in last night’s GOP debate in Detroit to politicize Detroit’s problems, the history is quite diferent. Detroit’s decline was the result of business decisions going back to the 1950’s. A utomakers ignored threats on the horizon and continued business as usual. Japan climbed from the ashes partly by applying Edward Deming’s quality concepts. By the 1980’s, Detroit woke up, but its market share had already plummeted. During part of that time, Michigan had a solid conservative Governor, George Romney. Add to that the fact that Detroit never fully recovered from race riots following the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the impact of Ralph Nader, who pointed out that some of the cars being produced were “not safe at any speed,” and it becomes clear that much more is at work than political ideology. This ideological obsession really keeps us in the dark as far as solving the problems American cities face. That’s my opinion. What do you think?

Why and How Do We Have Prisoners at Guantanamo?

Why and how do we have prisoners at Guantanamo? As part of the war on terrorism, President Bush issued an order that suspect terrorists are not entitled to the rights of the Geneva Convention. To try to get useful intelligence suspected terrorists were subject to renditions at black sites off the radar in places like Egypt. How much useful intelligence was gained is a matter of debate. The Gitmo prisoners end up in a “no man’s land” because of the lack of choices. What now? I’ll take that up next. What do you think?

Why Do We Have Guantanamo in the First Place?

The deadline for a decision on what to do with the Guantanamo prisoners has come. But why are we in Guantanamo in the first place? We have had a protectorate over Cuba since the Spanish American War. Our Guantanamo Bay base has unmistakable strategic importance. Even Castro’s Cuban Revolution didn’t change this. It is a secure military base, actually an ideal place for detaining potential terrorists.

Do We Have Anything Like This Election in Our History?

It seems like everyone and his brother is running for President. In 1912 we had four different parties running. Teddy Roosevelt was the first ever to use the primaries to try to gain the nomination, and he managed to split the Republican Party and started the Bull Moose Party. In that election, Eugene Debs was a true Socialist riding the high tide of socialism in the U.S. In the volatile political environment of 1912, anything could happen, and the same is true today. What are your thoughts?

Election of 1912

 

Will Sanctions Work to Restrain North Korea?

There’s a lot of noise lately from North Korea. Execution of a General is nothing new, but we should pay attention to their reaction to sanctions in response to their recent ICBM launch. The escalation currently happening shows North Korea’s unpredictability and willingness to take actions that are to the detriment of the North Korean people. I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this? What do you think?