Wow. Wouldn’t that be a kicker, if Fidel picked this moment to shuffle off the mortal coil?
Everybody knows that US Cuba policy wins no prizes for rationality. That the US has maintained the same policy vis-a-vis Cuba for 44 years is impressive; most countries, seeing no results, would have given up before 20, or 35 at the limit. Does anyone know the last time that a major presidential candidate has advocated a serious change in Cuba policy? The sheer inertia of the policy suggests to me that it won’t be altered until Cuba itself changes. Even then, there are no assurances. As Yglesias noted a while ago, statutory US policy takes seriously the fantasy that Cuban exiles will get all of their property back after Castro is gone. The President at the time of the transition seems to have considerable latitude regarding how and whether the embargo will be lifted. Operating under the assumption that any administration, Democratic or Republican, has to be more diplomatically capable than this one, I can’t help but wonder whether it would be better if Fidel lingered on a couple more years before kicking off. I also have no doubt that a Democrat would be better on Cuba than a Republican, given that the truly psychotic elements of the anti-Castro movement (I recall one guy asserting, on Fox News, that Castro had a hand in 9/11) seem more strongly tied to the GOP.