Unfinished Business: America and Cuba after the Cold War, 1989-2001

Unfinished Business: America and Cuba after the Cold War, 1989-2001

Unfinished Business: America and Cuba after the Cold War, 1989-2001

Unfinished Business: America and Cuba after the Cold War, 1989-2001

Synopsis

In this first comprehensive study of U.S. policy toward Cuba in the post-Cold War era, Morris Morley and Chris McGillion draw on interviews with Bush and Clinton policymakers, congressional participants in the policy debate, and leaders of the anti-sanctions business community to argue that Bush and Clinton operated within the same Cold War framework that shaped the Cuba policy of their predecessors. They also demonstrate that U.S. policy after 1989 was driven principally by domestic imperatives. The result was the pursuit of a policy that had nothing to do with its stated objectives of promoting reforms in Cuba and everything to do with dismantling Castro's regime. This study also addresses the international consequences: the extraterritorial applications of national laws to America's allies; and a willingness to put in danger the operations of the global free trade regime. Few issues more starkly revealed the degree to which U.S. policymakers exhibited a striking lack of realism about America's capacity to impose its will globally. Morris Morley has taught at SUNY-Binghamton and American Unversity. He is the author of Imperial State and Revolution (Cambridge, 1987) and Washington, Somoza and the Sandanistas (Cambridge, 1994) He is a senior research fellow with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Chris McGillion has taught at the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales, and Macquarie University. He is a former editorial page editor of the Sydney Morning Herald and has written for the Political Science Quarterly. As a journalist, he has made several trips to Cuba.

Excerpt

The Cuban Revolution was a watershed in United States-Latin American relations, posing the most serious challenge to U. S. regional hegemony in the previous 100 years. Washington poured billions of dollars into an initially successful effort to politically isolate the revolutionary regime and restabilize the hemisphere in a manner conducive to U. S. interests, and mobilized resources and personnel on a global scale to sever the island's economic ties with the rest of the capitalist world. In the process, U. S. policymakers sought to foreclose the possibilities that the new Cuban socioeconomic “model” might be viewed by the rest of the Third World, especially Latin America, as a viable noncapitalist path to development. Over four decades, American presidents, whether Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, exhibited a marked reluctance to accommodate themselves to the permanence of Cuba's symbol of resistance to U. S. imperial ambitions. At minimum, each has maintained the core economic and political sanctions put in place in the early 1960s while searching for the right mix of coercion and diplomacy to achieve the consensus goal: the demise of Castro's government and its institutional structures.

The changing global context that followed the end of the Cold War, however, eliminated the key security concerns that were presumed to underpin U. S. policy in the early 1960s through the late 1980s. Although Cuba took measures Washington had repeatedly argued were necessary conditions for any move toward normalized relations - withdrawing its troops from Africa, halting the export of revolution to Latin America, and drastically reducing its military security ties with the former Soviet Union - the White House in the 1990s failed to respond in a measured and reciprocal fashion. George Bush and Bill Clinton refused to contemplate any reassessment of the fundamental premises undergirding America's Cuba policy, or any resolution of outstanding differences, in the absence of major changes in Cuba's political economy. In fact, neither shifts in Cuba's foreign policy nor the end of U. S.-Soviet rivalry lessened . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.