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Opening Arguments

Viva Cuba

Alrighty then, let's get us a stash of them Cuban cigars and ice up the Cuba libras before somebody changes his mind:

 Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cuba on Friday to raise the flag above the U.S. Embassy for the first time in 54 years.

The day before, Cuban state media put out an article in the name of Fidel Castro, writing on the occasion of his 89th birthday, in which he made no reference to the historic resumption of U.S.-Cuba relations but instead waxed on about the damage the American embargo has caused Cuba and the anniversary of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on Japan.

Kerry's visit marks the symbolic end of one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

I'm not generally a big fan of economic sanctions. Sometimes it seems there are no better options (like to put pressure on Iran), but they often either don't work as intended or have unintended consequences or both. And they're not exactly planted on the moral high ground. They hurt ordinary people, the very ones we're supposed to be working in favor of. At least when we send soldiers they try to engage only other soldiers.

So I think some good things can come from normalizing relations with Cuba. I just wish it were a different administration pursuing it. The Obama team sees not to have even tried to negotiate a good deal with things in it we wanted, and it's not a good sign that they're allowing Cuba to keep dissidents away from the ceremony.

I'm old enough to remember what a big deal the Cuban missile crisis was. Even those of us in school could pick up the abject fear that seemed to wash over the country. And when that famous magazie cover appeared -- "We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked" -- there wasn't just a nationwide sign of relief. Everybody had the sense that we really had been at the brink of Armageddon. (But that "eyeball to eyeball" moment has since been debunked a bit.)