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Why is a US-Cuba deal inevitable?

Aug 30, 2023


The United States has a long and troubled history with the island nation of Cuba. While Cuba lacks the power to become a threat by itself, it could easily threaten U.S. strategy and interests with hostile foreign sponsorship, as recent U.S. history proves.

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan argues that Cuba’s unique geostrategic position potentially gives it control over the Gulf of Mexico. That’s why this tiny island state has demanded U.S. and global political attention in the past, and it’s also why a future U.S.-Cuba deal is inevitable.

Excerpted from Peter’s Aug. 30 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Most people would scoff at the idea that Cuba could end the US as a major power, but that small country has something no one else does…

Looking back at the Cuban Missile Crisis, you might think JFK overreacted. In reality, JFK saw the Soviets’ move into Cuba for what it really was – a direct threat to America’s existence. Cuba straddles the access points to the Gulf of Mexico, and if they had the military power to shut it down, the US would be in big trouble.

Since the Cold War ended, I’ve expected a warming in relations with Cuba, and to some degree, they have. Obama struck a (shitty) deal with them, which Trump later repealed. Don’t focus too much on the deal, but consider these actions by opposite presidents an indication that Cuba is top of mind.

Cuba is still grasping onto any major power that will give them the time of day, aka Russia or China, but we all know how those countries are doing. Cuba’s position is simply too critical for the US to ignore, so a US-Cuba deal is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s imminent.

Hi everyone, Peter Zion here coming to you from the collegiate wilderness where I’m gonna bag a few fourteeners this week. Today, we’re gonna talk about Kuba. Now, Cuba, the island pinches access to the core territories of the United States. What makes the United States world power is not just the fact that it’s basically a continent in size. But he’s got the greater Mississippi right in the middle of it, which overlays the world’s most productive arable land. Water is the most efficient way by an order of magnitude to move things around. And so as long as you have a long waterway, in an area where you actually have things ship, you can’t really help but not mess it up. And believe me, we’ve been trying for decades, if you look, the last four presidents who yet we’re still here, now, Cuba, because it straddles the access points to the Gulf of Mexico has the possibility to end of that to enter the United States as a major power. But that would require a lot more military force than Cuba is capable of producing itself. So the biggest threat to the United States, going back well over a century has been that some foreign power will build a partnership with the Cubans that will break American power. And that’s one of the reasons why JFK reacted so strongly during the Cuban Missile Crisis, because he saw it rightly as a Soviet effort to on the cheap end to the United States. Now, since the Cold War ended, and Cuba lost its Soviet sponsorship, I have been expecting a warming of relations and a change in the bilateral relationship. For some time, under Barack Obama, we got a ham fisted attempt at that, that was basically negotiated over a short period of time with very little buy in from the president because he didn’t like to have meetings with anyone. And what we got was a deal of limited economic and opening, minimal political connections. And it was a bad deal from start to finish. It was sophomoric, it was lazy. But above all, it was stupid. And so when Donald Trump came in, he killed that deal, saying that, you know, we should have gotten a better deal. And he is right. But then he proceeded to not do a damn thing. And that was sophomoric. And that was lazy. And that was stupid. But consider in today’s political climate, that the two most polar opposite presidents that we’ve had, both recognize the opportunity, even if they proved completely incompetent at building something out of it. So there is movement, there is possibility within diplomacy and economic diplomacy, to shift this. Now, the window of opportunity we had after the Castro’s died, is obviously gone. And the new regime, which is the old regime, just with like the third stringers, has definitely thrown in its lot to a little bit with the Russians, but the Russians don’t have the money that they used to. So now the Chinese. Now if you’ve been following my stuff, you know that I don’t think that the Chinese and the Russians are going to be around all the much longer, it’s certainly not an ability to project power, a hemisphere way. So this is going to come up again and again and again, again. And hopefully the next time around, we will have a competent president, who is capable of making a basic deal with a country that has less than 1% of America’s economic and military half that is right on our doorstep that can’t possibly reach for support gives you an idea of just how little I think of both of the two previous administrations. I don’t think that’s going to happen under the Biden administration. However, there are a lot bigger fish to fry right now. And at the moment, the Chinese are still there. And as long as the regime in Cuba feels that it has a foreign lifeline, it’s going to grab on with both hands. So a deal on this is in evitable doesn’t mean it’s a minute. All right. That’s it for me, you guys. Take care

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