But don't wait for their thanks.
Cuba is graciously allowing its citizens to buy DVDs and bigger televisions, not to mention computers and microwaves. I know, I know it's a shock, to all you trendy Che-humpers out on the Left Coast and in Kos-land, but most Cuban citizens had no idea of your solidarity with them. I find that terribly ironic!
Ya'll thought that the Cubanos couldn't have nice things because we wouldn't let them. Well, our evil embargo never stopped the rest of the world from trading with Cuba. The Cubans did without many things because Papa Fidel didn't want them to have them until he could provide enough electricity for them. It's 2008, Hollywood, and your adoring fans in Cuba can finally appreciate your courageous politics:
HAVANA (Reuters) - Communist Cuba has authorized the sale of computers, DVD and video players and other electrical appliances in the first sign President Raul Castro is moving to lift some restrictions on daily life."
Based on the improved availability of electricity the government at the highest level has approved the sale of some equipment which was prohibited," said an internal government memo seen by Reuters.
It listed computers, video and DVD players, 19-inch and 24-inch television sets, electric pressure cookers and rice cookers, electric bicycles, car alarms and microwaves that can now be freely bought by Cubans.
Never let it be said that Fidel engaged in gross, Capitalistic nation-building... not even in his own nation. You gotta marvel at that kind of purity, that resistance to growth and change, in the face of the pressure of Western Civilization and Culture. The Amish would be proud.
In other news about nations not quite ready for prime-time Democracy:
Henry Kissinger has it exactly right, although that small article in no way reflects the whole of his thoughts on nation-building. But he's dead-on. And it's why our efforts in Iraq are important now, but will be more important 20 years from now. But like Castro, the Liberal Left and its media counterpart in the U.S. does not have the patience for growing things. Growing things is not exciting, usually. It's mostly boring, expensive, and calls for sacrifice more often than not. It's not for the faint of heart. An excerpt:
U.S. policy has been to urge President Pervez Musharraf into forming a coalition government with one or more civilian parties, which would then pursue the anti-fundamentalist war in a more coherent and determined manner. That outcome was what the election was supposed to produce.
The goal was laudable. But the results of the election (as in Gaza) show that theoretical preconceptions do not necessarily provide practical remedies, especially in the short run.
In the absence of a civil society, the losers in a political contest have few motives to subordinate their convictions to the general good, since the definition of the "general good" is precisely what is at issue. In such circumstances, crises are more often sharpened than solved by elections.
Though elections were held periodically, they usually reflected regional populist loyalties. Civilian and military government alternated with each other. No elected government has ever served out its term.
In such an environment, the relation between Pakistan's three feudal-type organizations - the military and the major political parties - has more of the character of those among Italian city states during the Renaissance described by Machiavelli than of the party politics of traditional democracies.
The difference between feudal leaders who wear uniforms and those in civilian clothes is in their constituencies, not in their commitment to a pluralistic process as we understand it.
At this point, any attempt to manipulate the political process that we have urged is likely to backfire. A wise policy must recognize that the internal structure of Pakistani politics is essentially out of the control of American political decision-making. Construction of a centrist coalition is a commendable goal, but the conditions for it can only be nurtured by Pakistani political forces and, in the absence of a center, require patience over a period of time.
If we're going to have some sort of relationship with the Middle East or Cuba that can be built on a common human goal of freedom, it's going to take years of investment to allow ancient paradigms to fade and for people to embrace something better at the loss of something familiar.
Letting folks buy computers is a start.