Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) has long been a voice of reason on foreign policy issues. And now via Steve Clemons, I see an important new report titled “CHANGING CUBA POLICY — IN THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL INTEREST” (PDF) that his staff has prepared for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on which he serves as ranking minority member. The opening:
Economic sanctions are a legitimate tool of U.S. foreign policy, and they have sometimes achieved their aims, as in the case of apartheid South Africa.
After 47 years, however, the unilateral embargo on Cuba has failed to achieve its stated purpose of “bringing democracy to the Cuban people,” while it may have been used as a foil by the regime to demand further sacrifices from Cuba’s impoverished population.
The current U.S. policy has many passionate defenders, and their criticism of the Castro regime is justified. Nevertheless, we must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests.
This is not much more than common sense, but in political terms it’s extremely bold. I can only hope that Senator Kerry and the Obama administration will show some boldness of their own and work toward implementing the sort of approach Lugar is talking about.