U.S. government priorities and relations with Cuba

Photo: Illustration by Elnur Amikishiyev
To outline his administration’s national security strategy, President Joe Biden released the Interim Strategic Guidance report, thus announcing his objectives. The most recent public antecedent to the plans presented is his article published in the magazine Foreign Affairs, in which he proclaims the intention to take action to ensure that, once again, the United States leads the world.

In the same tone, Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in his inaugural address that the world is incapable of organizing itself alone, and that when the United States withdrew from any location, another country attempted to occupy it, and certainly not to promote U.S. interests. He likewise asserted that at no other time in his career had distinctions between domestic and foreign policy disappeared, as they have now, given the renovation and power of the United States.

Without even feeling the necessity to question the validity and viability of the above statements, the reader will agree that such ideas are not new, but rather totally consistent with the old, long-promoted “American” myth that presents the U.S. as the champion of equal opportunity and the exceptionality of a people who, chosen by God, received from the creator, as “manifest destiny.” the gift of ruling the world, to shape it in His image and likeness.

But it turns out that the world the U.S. presumes to lead, with its policies (domestic and foreign) and its priorities, is now characterized by the crisis of neo-liberal, post-globalization capitalism, made clear by its systemic crises and accelerated decline.

It is a world in which market fundamentalists lived (and some still live) convinced of the system’s self-regulation via Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” and “new monetary theory.” They underestimated the damage their policies caused the economy, creating deficits they assumed could be covered by “quantitative easing,” that is, issuing money and taking on debt, so much so that deficits are several times higher than the Gross Global Product, with predictably catastrophic results. To give readers an idea, citing the case of the USA, it is enough to point out that the country’s federal debt has reached 28.7 trillion dollars, while its Gross Domestic Product is 21.6 trillion. Moreover, total debt, including mortgages, student loans, credit cards, etc, has reached almost 82.7 trillion, figures that are increasing every second.

And speaking of priorities, shouldn’t the first be resolving the deep division and polarization existing in the U.S. between Democrats and Republicans, globalists and nationalists, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacists and “black, yellow and brown” citizens, between old, new and not-so-new immigrants; by eliminating structural racism, abysmal inequality, the denial of scientific evidence and rampant disinformation.

The new administration’s priorities include controlling the pandemic and its diffusion, which, although we all know is impossible without cooperation on a global scale, the U.S. insists on its own self-centered local control.

Reversing the deterioration of the country’s economy is clearly another key priority. This could begin with a tax reform that eliminates tax cuts by previous administrations (Democratic and Republican) that allowed “the rich to get richer,” along with the implementation of policies – fiscal and monetary – that, at the same time, would provide the trillions required to finance the fight against the pandemic, promote post-pandemic recovery and finance health care, also related to the pandemic and the real economy (which implies much more than growth in the stock market), which would also involve modernization of the country’s seriously deteriorated infrastructure, the fight against global warming, and the improvement of education promised during Biden’s campaign.

But, of course, always assuming “exceptionality” and following Blinken’s speech, the above would only be achieved by “ensuring that the global economy provides security and opportunity for as many Americans as possible over the long term,” with “appropriate policies” such as “the aid package the President is pushing” and managing: “the global economy in a way that actually benefits the American people,” the U.S. role in the world, according to Blinken.

Since for Blinken the “lessons learned” by advocates of free trade would shape the world economy “the way we want,” trade agreements (imposed by Trump on Mexico and Canada) that were signed by the U.S. should be revised on the basis of liberalism and the classical theory of international trade from which everyone allegedly benefits. But it is also clear that, in order to revise the agreements to meet U.S. interests, other signatories must agree, including China.

To achieve all of the above, the new administration needs to increase workers’ purchasing power, which, in order to reach a level equivalent to that of the 1950s, according to all estimates, would require wages to be more than doubled, a proposal made by the President during his campaign. Of course it is imperative, from their point of view, that the huge issuance of fiat dollars, necessary to finance all of the above, do not contribute to further depreciating the U.S. dollar which remains the world’s most widely used currency, eroding the country’s privilege of having the rest of the planet finance its economy, an advantage it enjoys in the current world order (disorder).

Among the foreign policy priorities is undoubtedly what the U.S. considers its “backyard.” On March 16, 2021 the Admiral heading the country’s Southern Command issued a statement “warning” of the need to counter the influence of foreign nations such as China, Russia and Iran in the region… and also Cuba, given “its corrosive influence inspiring autocratic regimes in the hemisphere” (sic) in what he calls “our neighborhood.”

Also included among the “priorities” are the “renewal of democracy threatened by the rise of authoritarianism and nationalism (in which, as we saw, Cuba is included); the establishment of a migration system (which will surely be selective and guarantee the theft of talent); revitalization of the alliance system, reinventing the partnerships that were created years ago, adapted to the meet the challenges of today and tomorrow” (in what Blinken calls enlightened self-interest); the climate crisis, promoting the green energy revolution and guaranteeing leadership in the global technological revolution that is currently underway, a goal that appears unattainable today.

And since we are talking about priorities, a final reflection is required. Small-time journalists – and worse politicians – in the U.S. seem to enjoy insisting that Cuba is not a priority, and that the current administration has no interest in resuming the bilateral relations interrupted by Trump, his promoters and admirers. Of course, it is difficult to know exactly what policy makers in the country think, but what we do know is that honorable Cubans – and that includes the vast majority of those living in the U.S. and the rest of the world – are guided by the teachings of Martí: “The best way to be served is to be respected. Cuba does not go about the world as a beggar: it goes as a sister, and acts with the authority of a sister. By saving itself, it saves.”

Although we do not know whether we are a priority or not, we do know how the U.S. prevented our independence from Spain, how its many military interventions led to the loss of a part of our territory…

Precisely because of all this and more, and apart from the history of conflictive relations that during our common history they have encouraged – and in which we Cubans have clearly demonstrated our convictions – we also aspire to relations with the world, and with the United States, relations that are respectful, civilized and mutually advantageous.

It is because of the above that we Cubans are interested, and have confidence, in the relations which, sooner or later, we will maintain with the U.S., we will be able to learn the best from each other, about human rights, in particular comparing efforts to resolve problems related to racial discrimination; women’s rights, such as abortion, equal pay for equal work; the proportion of the population economically active, in all professions and trades, including university graduates and scientists; the rights of children; the quality of education and health, their cost and availability… here and there.

Our resilience, our prestige, our relationship with the world, based on respect, the decline of the empire and our capacity to produce novel scientific achievements and provide highly competitive tourist and medical services, could surely, and at a very early date, make the “American” market unnecessary for Cuba, despite its proximity and the immense potential benefit for both countries. This will not be our decision either.

U.S. government priorities and relations with Cuba
The Biden administration’s first major report on foreign relations contains nothing new in terms of Cuba, despite increasing opposition to the blockade in the United States and around the world

Author: Jorge Casals Llano | internet@granma.cu
april 12, 2021 13:04:44