Thursday, January 3, 2008

Is AIPAC an isolated example?

I got to thinking (always a dangerous activity for me) about AIPAC and its power over the American foreign policy and its impact on national elections. The thought process went something like this:

"The first thing to discover is whether AIPAC is an isolated example of a political and/or religious and/or racial minority with political power out of all consideration to the population percentage of American citizens it claims are supporting it/are members of." (run off sentence alert!).

'Of course not!', say I as I slap my forehead with my hairy, caveman, goy paw.

Ever hear of the Cubans? No, not the ones in Cuba, but the ones who live in Florida?

These are the people who escaped from the communist "paradise" and also some criminals and that Castro released from prison (and now their descendants) during the famous "Mariel Boatlift." And, as many who lived under the joys of a cummunist system will tell you, most normal, sane people want to NOT live under a communist system. Whether in Cuba, East Germany, Soviet Union or Kampuchea. And so after Mariel Cubans kept on escaping (this time without Castro's permission) to a better life in the US.

All these people (justifiably) hate Fidel Castro.

And so they organized themselves into political associations, informal groups, etc, to focus on one issue. That issue was an United States embargo on Cuba.

Simply put, these Cubans (now Cuban-Americans) in FLA want to punish Fidel by placing an economic stranglehold on the island nation.

How has it worked?

Not so good. From 1962 to the present, an economic embargo is in force that prevents American business to operate or trade with Cuba, and American citizens to visit the island, even as tourists. While the goal of the embargo is the removal of the communist dictatorship, the end result is that the Castro family are living very well indeed (along with their secret police and Army protectors), while the majority of the population lives in abject poverty.

Since Florida is a key political state in a presidential election year due to the system's idiosyncrasies (that big "i" word means simply that the system is fucked up, y'all), and every presidential candidate has taken the view that the embargo on Cuba must continue.

It is an immutable law - like the US support for Israel.

This is the power of a very small percentage of a population that is concentrated in one state and has a stupendous (that means big y'all) effect on national politics and foreign policy.

And these people are not Jews y'all and have nothing to do with AIPAC.

And they are doing all this from one state of the union.

There is an inertia at work here: since the embargo is not working to remove the communist dictatorship from power but is mostly making the majority of the Cuban population poor and miserable, perhaps it would be better for Cuba and Cubans to lift it and, by regulating US aid and business involvement in Cuba, to force a sort of a transition to democracy on the island.

But no politician running for president would suggest such a course of action.

First, because the Cubans in Florida would react negatively to this proposal (herd instinct I think) and secondly, the media in the US made up of "experts" and pundits has trouble with politician's statements which are longer than 4 seconds in duration.

The statements that are longer than 4 seconds usually do not make it on TV "news" shows and are called nuanced (which is a word that means that the argument's logic and purpose flies over the "expert's" head - whoosh!).

So it is a much simpler and safer option to not rock the boat (pun?) of American politics, let the sleeping dogs lie, and for the Cubans in Cuba (not in Florida) to suffer. Year after year.

End Game:
This leads your favorite idiot to a conclusion (surprise! there is a point here I think... somewhere...).

It looks like the American version of democracy is incredibly vulnerable to minority groups that are smart, organize themselves well, and agree on one (or a few) central issues. Keep in mind that the Cubans are in one state, and they have had an effect on international US policy for 5 decades (give or take a few years - I am bad at math, and as an American not ashamed to admit it...). Secondly, the children of the immigrants retain their parents views on those issues, and vote (and pressure the political establishment) accordingly.

These Cubans now think of themselves as Americans first, but STILL their stand on US relations to communist Cuba is not changing.

And, in my view, their political power is used to effect a BAD policy (I believe that the embargo is counter productive, as I noted before it makes ordinary Cubans suffer, while those in power do not), just as (again - in my view) the power of AIPAC and the pro-Israel lobby is used to effect another BAD policy, in effect bad for USA international standing and global opinion and bad from Israeli security standpoint (do you think that the settlements populated by a few fanatical Jews in a sea of Arabs, protected by a huge chunk of Israeli Army, costing billions of $ is good for Israel?)

Soooooo.... kids... do y'all see any similarities to Jews, AIPAC and the US support for Israel and the Cuban embargo politics?

Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

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Anonymous said...

Nice post, but you got one thing wrong ;]
Not all presidential candidates want to keep embargo on Cuba. And not all of them avoid talking about it. Ofcourse by "not all" I mean only one ;]
I think you should know that candidate, 'cause if you don't...
well if you don't, it's the one whose name anagram is OUR PLAN ;))

AmericanGoy said...

I am sorry is he running?

Because I see the media only covering Obama and Hillary, with Obama running for the Dems and Hillary for the Republicans (hee hee).

But seriously, the political coverage bias in this country is beyond a sick joke.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you noticed, but each of your posts has two comment lists. On your front page, it says zero comments on this post, but if you open up the post seperately, then you can see these comments. This might be one reason why not many people are leaving comments ;]

AmericanGoy said...

That must be a blogger/internet cache refresh issue there.

When you go to the blog main page, the comments show once you refresh the page.


Anonymous said...

Ron Paul FTW!!!

(Yeah, I know he's not gonna win.)