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Opening Arguments

Cuba libra

A prominent Republican comes to the right conclusion about Cuba, and it happens to be Richard Lugar:

The U.S. policy of shunning communist Cuba by imposing a strict trade embargo has failed to prod the island nation toward democracy and should be re-evaluated, according to the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"We must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests," wrote Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., in a report dated Monday.

The report lends new weight to a bipartisan view in Congress that Raul Castro's rise to power has opened a window for U.S.-Cuban relations.

Embargoes, especially unilateral ones, seldom accomplish what they set out to accomplish, and there are often unintended consequences. They can't even claim much of a moral high ground, since their aim is to put pressure on rulers by making things as miserable as possible for ordinary people. About the only accomplishment of the Cuban embargo has been to give Castro a scapegoat for the failings of his own policies.

 Priesdent Obama, like presidents before him, still thinks the embargo provides leverage with Cuba's leaders, but at least he seems open to talking about the issue.