Cuban Missile Crisis

Trump Reversal Of Cuban Policy Of Obama A Massive Blunder And Sign Of Total Hypocrisy!

Donald Trump is continuing his mission of destroying the Obama legacy in every way possible.

So now, in Miami, and to appease Marco Rubio and the Diaz Balarts (one of whom is a Congressman), he has reversed Barack Obama’s policy of ending the embargo on Cuba, which failed for 57 years.

So now it will be more difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba, and business dealings designed to open up Cuban society after six decades of isolation will be curbed.

Ironically, this massive blunder and sign of total hypocrisy comes after the death of Fidel Castro, and the planned retirement of Raul Castro early in 2018.

This is precisely the time to work to open up Cuba, but the effect will be more Russian and Chinese intervention in economic terms in the island nation.

And to think we almost went to war in 1962 over Russian intervention in Cuba, and now we are promoting it by our narrow minded, outdated policy toward the Cuban regime.

Having isolated them for nearly six decades did NOT make Cuba a democracy, and doing that now will not help to democratize Cuba as much as interaction and influence.

We have people who condemn Cuba’s government because of violation of human rights, and in that, we all concur, BUT somehow, we have dealings and business with many nations that systematically violate human rights, including Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines, and innumerable others.

But an island 90 miles from the Florida Keys is too full of sin, apparently, that we spite ourselves, and deny Cuban Americans free access to their relatives and heritage in their home nation, all because of extremist right wing Cubans in America who have no concern about human rights, but only about their desire to take back property confiscated at the time of the Cuban Revolution.

Yes, that is an outrage, but after six decades, and looking at victims of despotic governments elsewhere, the only reason for such intransigence by our government toward Cuba is because of the political significance of Florida in the Congress and in Presidential elections.

Why, for instance, do we say nothing about violations of human rights on a much wider scale, and instead embrace such a brutal government as Saudi Arabia, from where the September 11 hijackers came from?

How does Cuba affect national security, when Russia and Saudi Arabia and China in particular do so, and yet we treat them as nations we are willing to work with?

Giant Historical Figure Fidel Castro Dies, A Transformative Figure, With Great Negative Impact On The World!

Fidel Castro of Cuba, the most significant figure in Latin America in the 20th Century, and one of the most vicious dictators of modern times, passed away at age 90 on Friday.

He left behind a legacy of a brutal dictatorship, which while making some improvements in health care and education, took away any semblance of civil liberties and civil rights, and imprisoned, tortured, and murdered dissidents in great numbers over more than a half century of rule.

Castro was the longest lasting leader of modern times, with only Queen Elizabeth II of England having come to office about seven years before Castro took over the capital of Cuba, Havana, on New Years Day 1959.

Who would have thought that someone who came to power on the island of Cuba, which had been a playground for wealthy Americans, under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, at a time when this author was in high school, would last in power for a half century, and then be replaced by his younger brother, Raul Castro, a decade ago, and still rules?

Castro became the dire enemy of the Unites States, and Cuban exiles fleeing to Florida in 1959-1960 and again in 1980 (the Mariel Boat Lift) and constant escapes since then, have affected the history and politics of Florida and the Republican Party, with Cuban Americans flocking to support of the party after John F. Kennedy failed in his attempt to remove Castro from power in the Bay of Pigs Fiasco in April 1961. This made Cuban Americans the one Hispanic group that would refuse to support the Democratic Party, as many Cuban Americans saw JFK as a Communist for failing to succeed to remove Castro. This led to the most dangerous moment in the Cold War years, as Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union’s leader, formed an alliance with Castro, who had declared himself a Communist, and installed Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, with the Cuban Missile Crisis bringing the world closer to the danger of a nuclear war than any other event in history before or since. Only with the cool headed leadership of JFK was nuclear war averted.

Castro was a maniacal figure, who also abused the rights of gays and lesbians in Cuba, and initiated aggression overseas by supporting national liberation movements in Latin America and Africa, and the people of Cuba suffered economically under his five decade rule. Few more influential and significant dictators have existed, and those he is often compared with–including Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini–only lasted 25, 12 and 21 years compared to his 47 plus years.

The question is how Cuba will evolve now, with brother Raul Castro, age 85, having said he will leave power in February 2018, only 14 months away, and also how Donald Trump will react to the death of Fidel Castro, after Barack Obama had begun new relations with Cuba in 2015.

In Crisis Moments, Should An American President Resign, As Reckless Republicans Are Suggesting? Of Course Not!

Think of how many times a crisis has arisen in American history during an administration of innumerable Presidents!

Should James Madison have resigned as he fled the capital as the British invaded Washington, DC  in August 1814 during the War of 1812?

Should Abraham Lincoln have resigned when various times in the Civil War the Confederacy won major military battles from 1861-1863?

Should Franklin D. Roosevelt have resigned when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941?

Should John F. Kennedy have resigned when Russian missiles were discovered in Cuba in 1962?

Should Ronald Reagan have resigned after the loss of 252 Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983, due to Islamic terrorism?

Should George W. Bush have resigned after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon by Al Qaeda?

In these and innumerable other situations, of course the answer is NO!

But now, suddenly, reckless Republicans want Barack Obama to resign due to the Paris terror attacks, which they blame Obama for, even though ISIL (ISIS) is the outgrowth of the disastrous and unnecessary Iraq War waged by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

This demand for resignation occurred after “Jihadi John”, who slaughtered foreign hostages by knife, including Americans; and a leading figure in ISIL (ISIS) in Libya, were killed by American air strikes, but before the tragic Paris terror attacks, as if the Republicans have s simple answer to the threat of Islamic terrorism!

So in a crisis moment, the nation should rally around the President, as is typical in most cases historically.  But even when not unifying around the President, no leader should bow to political attacks, and instead go to work and face the crises that arise, as so many Presidents have done throughout American history!

The End Of A Dangerous Situation: The Resignation Of Richard Nixon In 1974

When one looks back at crises in American history, the top of the list are the Civil War, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, and the Cuban Missile Crisis up to that time in our history.

But in all four situations mentioned, we had a strong, decisive President who handled the situation extremely well.

We were fortunate to have Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy as our Presidents at the times of these crises.

But once one goes beyond these four transformational moments in our history, then we come to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon on this day 41 years ago.

Yes, the argument can be made that Richard Nixon had a dramatic and positive effect on areas of domestic and foreign policy, during his five and a half years as President.

But Richard Nixon was also, without question, the most corrupt, dangerous President we had ever had in our history, bar none.

Richard Nixon had mental issues, and saw opponents as enemies, and seemed willing and able to allow aides to abuse power, and for himself to set out to destroy opposition in any way possible.

There was concern in the tense times of the summer of 1974 that Nixon might try to declare martial law, and his Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, had already told the Pentagon to ignore any potential order from Nixon to suspend the Constitution, which would have established a dictatorship.

This is not to say that Nixon actually would have done so, as he was well aware of the need to do what he could to protect his damaged legacy in history, in any way that he could, but still, the threat, and the sense of mental instability was terrifying at the time.

And this lesson of Richard Nixon makes clear that the news media must be aggressive in pursuing the truth about the true character of all Presidential candidates, and despite attacks, make us aware of their shortcomings, particularly in the mental health area, as the nation cannot afford to elect a man or woman who might be dangerous to our national security and safety due to mental instability.

No one is entitled to be President, and we do not need an unstable person holding the powers of the most significant political position in the entire world!

Presidents And Difficult Diplomacy: TR, FDR, Truman, JFK, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Obama

Presidents have to deal with recalcitrant nations in diplomacy, including nations that are our adversaries.

The key is to promote agreements, with the ability to verify and hold nations accountable, under international agreement. It is not an issue of trust, as many nations see other nations as rivals, but rather the ability to come to agreements with the understanding that violations can lead to a confrontational situation if they are not kept.

Presidents have regularly taken bold steps in diplomacy with other nations, whereby they suffered from strong criticism as being naive and weak, but history tells us they actually demonstrated courage and principle, that international agreements could be upheld if both sides wish to avoid military confrontation.

So we have President Theodore Roosevelt negotiating agreements with a newly ambitious Japan after the Russo-Japanese War.

So we have President Franklin D. Roosevelt deciding to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union after 16 years of non recognition.

So we have President Harry Truman deciding to recognize Israel, and in so doing, alienating Arab nations in the Middle East.

So we have President John F. Kennedy agreeing to the Nuclear Best Ban Treaty in 1963 with the Soviet Union, and it is still in effect today. This came after the Cuban Missile Crisis, which many believed the result would not be obeyed by the Soviet Union, but they did precisely what was required under the settlement.

So we have President Richard Nixon, who made arms limitation agreements (SALT I) with the Soviet Union, and opened the door to contacts with the People’s Republic of China, both moves that are now hailed, although criticized at the time.

SO we have President Jimmy Carter accomplishing something no one would have believed, an agreement between Israel and Egypt, and mutual recognition, in what became known as the Camp David Accords. Additionally, Carter decided to recognize the Communist government in China as being China, rather than Taiwan.

So we have President Ronald Reagan, after calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire”, negotiate arms agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev.

So we have President Bill Clinton bringing about peace between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, an event that seemed impossible of achievement, known as the Good Friday Agreements of 1998. He also established diplomatic relations with Vietnam, a generation after the end of the divisive war in Vietnam was lost.

So now we have President Barack Obama negotiating an agreement to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons, with five other nations engaged in the process, and to prevent war, while guaranteeing the security of Israel and Arab nations. Like all the others, it is a gamble, as no one can be sure of Iran’s ultimate actions, but it has worked out in all of the other cases. He also has established diplomatic relations with the government of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.

And yet, nothing is a panacea, as Russia and China still present a challenge, but progress was made to avoid war, and that is happening again now, with the understanding that if the agreement is broken, war is always an ultimate alternative!

Obama Supported By Chambers Of Commerce, Catholic Church, Public Opinion Polls, And Many Others, On Cuban Policy

President Obama has taken a gigantic step in changing Cuban policy, and his initiative will overcome the opposition of Cuban American Senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, along with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and many other Republicans and some Democrats, other than Menendez.

This Cuban initiative was promoted by Canada’s Conservative government; Pope Francis; Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona; and many other rational people who knew that the policy against Fidel and Raul Castro, beginning under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and lasting through what is now eleven Presidencies, was having no real effect on the Cuban government, and harming its citizens. The Chambers of Commerce and the Catholic Church in America have also endorsed the change in policy. And, interestingly, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has also backed the Obama policy as rational and reasonable, which it most certainly is! And public opinion polls show about 60 percent support a change in Cuban policy.

Yes, the Castros have been horrific on human rights, but we have have relations with many oppressive governments, which are more than half the nations in the world. These have included Communist governments, as in China and Vietnam, for instance; but also numerous right wing dictatorships in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the decades.

If we can deal with Vietnam, where 58,000 Americans died, then we can deal with Cuba a half century after the Cuban Missile Crisis!

Either we accept that fact, that it is time to change a Cuban policy which has never worked, or we need to cut off relations with most of the nations in the world, and live in isolation, and our own “dream world” of reality!

Gerald Ford Presidency And Reputation Saved By Losing Election In 1976 To Jimmy Carter!

Just as we are commemorating the 90th birthday of former President Jimmy Carter, we have news from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and the National Archives, that Ford’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was plotting to have the US mount a full scale invasion of Fidel Castro’s Cuba, due to that nation’s military intervention in Angola, which infuriated Kissinger.

Appparently, the plan was to wait for the Presidential Election Of 1976 to be resolved, with the belief that Ford would defeat the former Georgia Governor, but that did not happen!

Carter’s victory led to a decision not to intervene in Cuba, and Henry Kissinger was retired as Secretary of State when Gerald Ford left the Presidency on January 20, 1977.

This was a lucky development for Ford, who apparently was preparing to support Kissinger’s invasion idea.

While some would have applauded the overthrow of Fidel Castro, the idea that this nation, unprovoked directly by Cuba, would have used military action, show recklessness, as there was no certainty how the Soviet Union of Leonid Brezhnev would have reacted, is startling. The Soviet Union in 1976 was a lot stronger militarily than it was in 1962!

We could have had another Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought us closer to World War III, again in 1976 or 1977!

Ford’s judgment was wrong on this, and the fact that Jimmy Carter, has saved Gerald Ford’s historical reputation by his defeat of Ford, is an amazing story!

Gerald Ford’s reputation in his brief Presidency has risen lately, but the revelation of this plot against Cuba, unprovoked, MIGHT bring down his reputation long term, which is regrettable.

But, literally, Jimmy Carter saved Gerald Ford from a massive mistake, by defeating him!

The ISIL (ISIS) Threat To The Western World Is Real! Far Greater Than The Soviet Union During The Cold War!

The horrible news emerging that a Western journalist, who had been captured two years ago, has been beheaded, with the disgusting video broadcast with a threat to the United States and the Western world, is yet another alarm bell in the night, warning of the successful spread of the worst Islamic terrorist group in existence, ISIL, also known as ISIS.

This terrorist group has taken over portions of Iraq and Syria, and has declared a Caliphate. It has declared war on Shiite Muslims, including those in Iraq and, most notably in Iran, as well as against Christians, Jews, and all minority religious groups in the Fertile Crescent, and by implication against Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations that oppose their wave of vicious terrorism. Even Al Qaeda, which brought about September 11, has denounced them and their tactics, including mass murder, rape of women, beheading of children, and destruction of mosques and historic sites.

This is organized insanity, with a threat to the United States and the Western world unmatched in danger since World War II and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Those that would say the Soviet Union during the Cold War was an equal threat forget that Communism was not based on religion, and in fact, was atheistic, and that the Russians wanted to triumph, but were not suicidal as many of these Islamic terrorist are. So when they saw they could not win, despite much stress and tensions, they stepped back from the brink of destructive war, as in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Imagine that we could see the Cold War as not as dangerous as Islamic terrorism in the second decade of the 21st century, but this threat from ISIL (ISIS) requires that America do something they cannot imagine, after being sick of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That is, the Western world must unite against this dire threat, and it will require military action, and it makes one wonder how we are going to afford it, and also deal with domestic needs!

It is enough to make one scream, that we cannot seem to avoid war and military operations overseas, and this author was opposed to the war in Vietnam, the war in Iraq, and had doubts about the war in Afghanistan, while supporting the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein.

But what choice do we have, as it is estimated that 100 Americans have gone over to fight for ISIL (ISIS), and maybe a thousand Europeans have done the same, and these trained terrorists can likely return to their home countries and wage war on Western civilization! The US and the European nations are in dire danger, with these terrorists ready to sacrifice themselves in their cause, reminding us of the Kamikaze pilots of Japan in the waning days of World War II!

So it will be necessary for President Obama to abandon his view that we can and must avoid conflict with ground troops in the Middle East, and accept the reality that this time, whatever the past criticisms, we MUST intervene with other nations and fight the ISIL (ISIS) group, as if we do not, there is more certainty of their infiltration of American and European nations to the detriment of all decent people!

The Ultimate Legacy Of American Presidents

American Presidents deal with dozens, if not, hundreds of issues while in office, and they have ups and downs, highs and lows, unavoidably.

But, ultimately, they are remembered for one action in office that either puts them in the great, successful category, or in the disastrous, unsuccessful category, and they may be praised or bitterly criticized for others, but they will always be remembered for one specific policy or event, which has the greatest effect on their legacy.

So when we look at Presidents since FDR, what stands out as their primary legacy?

Franklin D. Roosevelt–his New Deal programs that saved millions of Americans, and gave them hope for the future.

Harry S Truman–his courage in his dealings with the Soviet Union through the Cold War policies.

Dwight D. Eisenhower–the steadfastness of his Civil Rights policies, enforcing court orders and promoting the end of racial segregation.

John F. Kennedy–his forthrightness in dealing with the greatest threat in world history, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson–his Great Society programs that advanced civil rights, education, health care, and a war on poverty.

Richard M. Nixon–his paranoia and illegal activities, leading to Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald R. Ford–his appointment of Justice John Paul Stevens, who became a giant on the Supreme Court for 35 years.

Jimmy Carter–his promotion of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Camp David Accords, which have brought peace for 35 years.

Ronald Reagan–his tripling of the national debt through excessive military spending and massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

George H. W. Bush–his exceptional conduct of the crisis of the Persian Gulf War.

Bill Clinton–his promotion of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, between Anglicans and Catholics, and with Great Britain.

George W. Bush–the prosecution of the Iraq War, a war that was based on falsehoods, undermining the Middle East and emboldening Iran.

Barack Obama–the promotion of the Affordable Care Act, giving millions of Americans their first time coverage for health care.

Nate Silver And Senate Predictions: Stop Panicking, Democrats!

Nate Silver, formerly of the New York Times, and now running the website 538, is considered a genius on statistics, and his predictions were spot on in 2012.

Therefore, his new prediction that the Republican Party will win six seats and a total majority of 51 in the US Senate gets a lot of publicity.

YES, it is possible what Silver projects, BUT saying that a party will win six seats and have a bare majority of 51, means that if he is off by one, then the Democrats keep the majority.

Silver may be brilliant, but he is not perfect by any means, anymore than anyone, so for Democrats to panic based on what he says seven and a half months before the midterm elections, is ridiculous!

If anything, it should make the Democrats work ever harder, and back with pride what they stand for, as there is nothing to be ashamed of, in backing ObamaCare.

Better to go down in principle, than abandon one’s beliefs, is the best advice.

Besides, foreign policy crises may intervene, and can turn things around dramatically, as it did in 1962, when the Cuban Missile Crisis in October affected the midterms, preventing a major loss of seats by the Democrats, the party of John F. Kennedy, who looked great in that crisis! The Democrats gained three seats in the Senate, and only lost four seats in the House of Representatives!

So, as Yogi Berra said, “it ain’t over until it’s over!”