In a speech last Wednesday, President George W. Bush, like many U.S. presidents before him, called for change in Cuba.
“When Cubans rise up to demand their liberty, you’ve got to make a choice,” Bush said. “Will you defend a disgraced and dying order by using force against your own people? Or will you embrace your people’s desire for change?”
At a separate European Union Summit meeting later in the week, Russian President Vladimir Putin – using Cold War comparisons – again voiced his opposition to America’s anti-missile system to be set up near Russia on the boarders of Poland and the Czech Republic.
“Analogous actions,” Putin said, “by the Soviet Union, when it deployed rockets on Cuba, provoked the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
Still, this is not the Cuban Missile Crisis again. However, America is making similar mistakes now because lessons were not learned then.
As the world prepared for nuclear war in late October of 1962, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev wrote to President John F. Kennedy, “Öwe and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied Ö even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot Ö”
Yet, 45 years later, Bush and his administration have tied new knots and tightened old ones. He has pulled the rope hard with the Middle East – specifically Iran. He has made knots with European allies who now adamantly oppose the U.S. government due to the Iraq war. And he has retied knots with Russia and Cuba.
Bush himself is defending a disgraced and dying order of armaments build-up and Cold War foreign policy. After wasting billions on the unproven and limited missile defense system in Alaska, the creation of a similar system in Eastern Europe, to guard against Iran, will only waste more money and provoke conflict.
Most doubt Iran’s missile capability and Russia strongly opposes U.S. conflict with Iran. Bush’s actions will only further tighten the knot of war and opposition. Talk of peace and reason, not antagonism, is needed from the United States.
The president is not embracing his people’s desire for change.