If Condi can go to Libya, why not Cuba?

Unilateral sanctions on Cuba are probably the stupidest, least-effective U.S. policy going—and everybody knows it. And yet even though the Cold War is over, the policy stays due to an electoral quirk that has politicians like George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton “pandering to a cabal that has kept US-Cuba ties frozen in a 1960s ...

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Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi attends the 31st meeting of the Association of African banks 15 August 2007. Libya is stalling on a 2003 pledge to dispose of its uranium, with nearly 200 barrels of the material still in its hands, The Daily Telegraph reported earlier this week. Citing unnamed sources close to the situation, the newspaper said that the uranium is in the form of yellow cake ore and is being stored at a military base in the town of Sabha. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Unilateral sanctions on Cuba are probably the stupidest, least-effective U.S. policy going—and everybody knows it. And yet even though the Cold War is over, the policy stays due to an electoral quirk that has politicians like George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton "pandering to a cabal that has kept US-Cuba ties frozen in a 1960s cocoon," in the words of Steve Clemons. Cuban expatriates, you see, are a key segment of the vote in the electoral swing state of Florida.

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

I mention this because today, Libya proudly announced that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be visiting the country in October, the first such visit since 1953. Many pundits will no doubt beat up on the Bush administration for doing so, and there's plenty of ammunition in Libya's grotesque human rights record or its recent attempt to assassinate the King of Saudi Arabia. And then there's Muammar el-Qaddafi himself, a nutjob who is widely mocked across the Middle East—a region that knows a thing or two about terrible leaders. The mercurial Qaddafi refused to meet with Condi's deputy, John Negroponte, when he visited the country back in April. And still, the rapprochement marches on.

Unilateral sanctions on Cuba are probably the stupidest, least-effective U.S. policy going—and everybody knows it. And yet even though the Cold War is over, the policy stays due to an electoral quirk that has politicians like George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton “pandering to a cabal that has kept US-Cuba ties frozen in a 1960s cocoon,” in the words of Steve Clemons. Cuban expatriates, you see, are a key segment of the vote in the electoral swing state of Florida.

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images

I mention this because today, Libya proudly announced that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be visiting the country in October, the first such visit since 1953. Many pundits will no doubt beat up on the Bush administration for doing so, and there’s plenty of ammunition in Libya’s grotesque human rights record or its recent attempt to assassinate the King of Saudi Arabia. And then there’s Muammar el-Qaddafi himself, a nutjob who is widely mocked across the Middle East—a region that knows a thing or two about terrible leaders. The mercurial Qaddafi refused to meet with Condi’s deputy, John Negroponte, when he visited the country back in April. And still, the rapprochement marches on.

If only the Cubans were sitting on 39 billion barrels of oil reserves, perhaps Condi would meet with them, too.

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