If you saw the CBC members' visit to the Castro regime and winced (I'm sorry, but I can't describe what happened there without using the word 'slobbering'), I'm afraid that I have bad news for you: there may be more provocations to follow. Via Kausfiles, a reminder about how this regime operates:
...whenever it looked as if Cuba was on the path to rejoining the world, Mr. Castro has done something to derail its progress. Recall that he relentlessly battled Mikhail Gorbachev over perestroika and glasnost. Mr. Castro warned that these changes would be the Soviet Union's downfall -- evidently missing the point. In a new, flattering documentary about Cuba's leader by Oliver Stone, ''Comandante,'' Mr. Castro dismisses Mr. Gorbachev as a man ''who destroyed his country.''
Or consider what happened in 1996, after the Clinton administration and Cuba had settled on migration and drug interdiction accords. Mr. Castro (after months of warnings) shot down two planes operated by the exile group Brothers to the Rescue, killing four people. The result was the signing of the Helms-Burton Act, which tightened the embargo. Did Mr. Castro know that Congress would react this way? Of course he did.
I will hide nothing from you: I have been waiting more or less patiently my entire life for Fidel Castro to die so that an American President can declare victory, and just end the damn embargo. I don't expect the embargo to stay in place after the man leaves this plane of existence, brother running things or no... Raul Castro simply doesn't have the same hypnotic institutional effect on the American government that Fidel has, and besides, he'll probably not last all that much longer, either. There's a lot of pride going here, on our part; and the Castro regime is pretty skilled at manipulating that pride to keep us from biting the bullet.
Because Kaus is right: the Castro regime directly benefits from our institutionalized ostracism of it. It gives them someone to blame, keeps the resources that would otherwise destabilize the regime at arm's length, and no doubt provides endless hours of personal amusement to the highest levels of Castro's government. It's also pure hell on the populace of Cuba, but then Communists never really care about that sort of thing in the first place, so that's not really an issue. So there's some indication that Castro might have to worry that the CBC visit actually reflects a change in American Cuban policy - one that would take place before his death by old age, which is probably the only goal left that really concerns him right now.
And as Mickey notes: when you've already made noises about hosting Russian bombers, what have you got left for an encore?
Crossposted to Moe Lane.