Millennium Post

America embraces Cuba, Obama scripts new world order

A lameduck president, with plummeting approval rates and no qualms about staging a comeback, can have superlative powers to act on his gut feel. The 44th US president Barack Hussein Obama has shown exactly that gumption which creates history, because it’s not too busy surviving it.

After the audacious Affordable Care Act in his first term, Obama, since the beginning of the end of his presidential tenure – he’s currently in his penultimate year – has been on an assertive overdrive, throwing his formidable weight behind a more hospitable immigration law, even as America’s domestic politics has been split wide open with incidents of white police atrocities targeting hapless black men going unrecognised by a predominantly white judicial apparatus.

In addition to such trigger-happy gunmen holding American peace to ransom, the constant assault on its self-proclaimed idea of exceptionalism has come not only from the much discredited Nato’s military adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also Washington’s inability to come to terms with Beijing’s economic and Moscow’s diplomatic thrusts slowly and surely paving the way for a uniquely multipolar world order.

It is in the midst of such a fractured international fabric that Barack Obama declared on December 17, 2014 that the United States of America would lift the 53-year-old embargo on diplomatic relations with Cuba. In a moving speech from the Oval Office in White House, blandly titled ‘Statement by the President on Cuba Policy Changes’, Obama said, “We will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our countries. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americans.”

Five decades back, when the US tried to overthrow the still nascent communist regime led by Fidel Castro through the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion, swiftly followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis, the crack between Washington and Havana became too wide for comfort. In fact, the scrapping of relations with Cuba is often touted as the beginning of a long and difficult Cold War between the communist countries and the West.

Separated by only 90 miles from the southernmost tip of Florida, Cuba has been made to suffer inordinately under the harsh climate of economic and geostrategic sanctions, which basically affected its poor. Now, with the US no longer in the absolute ascendant, Washington has been focusing on walking a more pragmatic path. Much like starting the slow but steadying talks with Iran on nuclear energy, mending the broken bridge, of course with Pope Francis’ blessings, will be Barack Obama’s indelible imprint on the forgetful pages of history. 
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