Lugar Blasts Cuba Embargo, and He's Right; But Will Obama, Congress Follow?

Let's move past the Cold War once and for all.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Steve Clemons got hold of an advanced copy of a new report on U.S.-Cuba relations from the GOP side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and it looks like good stuff.

The—sensible—conclusion is that the Cold War-era U.S. embargo doesn't work.

After 47 years, however, the unilateral embargo on Cuba has failed to achieve its stated purpose of "bringing democracy to the Cuban people," while it may have been used as a foil by the regime to demand further sacrifices from Cuba's impoverished population.

The current U.S. policy has many passionate defenders, and their criticism of the Castro regime is justified. Nevertheless, we must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests.

I look forward to reading the entire report. The U.S. embargo of Cuba was outdated even during the Cold War, which is now a couple of eras ago.

Steve notes that the Obama administration is undertaking a comprehensive review of U.S.-Cuban relations.

Hillary Clinton promised a full administration review of US-Cuba policy which Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Tom Shannon is leading now. What is also interesting is that someone close to Shannon and those potentially contributing to this policy review told me it would be important for the administration "to hear from Congress."

That sounds like the administration is willing to move on a change in policy, but don't view it as politically important enough to get out in front on. In other words, they'll move with Congress but not ahead of Congress.

Hopefully Lugar will be able to push things along on that end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Cuba

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