Does anyone remember the Cold War?

Sure you do. It started about the time the Soviet Union ordered a blockade of the Western-controlled sectors of Berlin, and ended shortly after Ronald Reagan offered a solution just six words long: "Mr Gorbachev, tear down that wall!"

Mr Gorbachev's immediate response was not recorded, but I suspect it struck him as a good idea, and anyway the wheels of inevitability had already been set in motion. In 1989, two years after Mr Reagan issued his challenge, the wall around West Berlin was indeed torn down. A year later, Mr Gorbachev managed to work himself out of a job — and on January 1, 1991, the Soviet Union itself was gone.

I mention all this because we've had ten years to get used to the fact that the war is over, and guess what? We won. It wasn't even all that close, though the Russians deserve a lot of credit for going more or less gracefully. And ever since the Kremlin got out of the business of enforcing revolutionary discipline, the last Soviet client state, Cuba, has been in dire straits. Four decades of rule by Fidel Castro have brought Cuba no closer to being a workers' paradise, and with no successor in sight, it's just a matter of time before the island goes back to being a world-class tourist trap. Even The Daily Oklahoman, not known for its firm grip on reality, has called for an end to the US economic embargo against Castro's crumbling regime.

So why this flap over a six-year-old boy? Because the Cuban exiles in south Florida, still bearing a grudge after all these years, continue to look for ways to embarrass Fidel, questions of right or wrong be damned. Does anyone seriously doubt that had it been a Haitian kid washing up on the Florida shore, he'd have been on the next boat back to Port-au-Prince? This is exploitation at its worst, and the general bumbling ineptitude of the Justice Department isn't helping matters. Someone is going to have to come up with a bold stroke, a solution in very few words, to put an end to this endless yammering. Unfortunately, Mr Reagan isn't available, and Mr Gorbachev is busy.

The Vent

#193
16 April 2000

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