It may have, at some point in your life, possibly occurred to you that the United states of America has, on occasion, been perhaps a wee bit hypocritical in the things in does. For instance, there's this little island sitting in the Caribbean by the name of Cuba (actually, as far as islands go, it's fairly damn big). In case you didn't know, this island is run by one of the last holdout communist governments on this planet. (Communism is this idea invented by a bunch of guys with bushy beards roundabouts last century; it looked really swell on paper, but the implementations we've seen of it leave a lot to be desired--not unlike the marketing departments of large corporations which hype unfinished products to ridiculous levels months or years before their release.) This island is basically run by an ex-baseball player with a rather large and bushy beard himself. Now, logically, since baseball is "the national pastime", you'd think we might just love the guy, but it's not so. Politics rears its ugly head, and the US goes about imposing sanctions on this little nation because of that communism thing. The big-shot politicians claim that since the most everyone in Cuba lives in abject poverty and has no freedoms of speech or assembly (thanks to the wonderful law-enforcement officers who will beat the living hell out of you if you try to do this), the government there must be doing something wrong. Fairly reasonable, if you ask me. Now, they think that trying to convince this government to change its ways is a good thing. Again, not overly objectionable. But, they feel that the best way to do this is to seal Cuba off from the rest of the planet, so as to punish them. While this is certainly not good for the Cuban government, it tends to screw over the average Cuban even more, what with not being able to import any needed materials or export any products that might bring some money to the island. In fact, this (combined with a healthy dose of government propaganda) results in many Cubans not being too fond of the US. So, at this point, you may be thinking of the US government as a well-meaning but misguided entity. However, if you look elsewhere, you'll notice that the country enjoying Most Favored Nation trading status is China, a rather large and ostensibly communist country. To be precise, recent economic reforms have resulted in a much more capitalistic economy, but China's population still lacks many basic freedoms taken for granted elsewhere. The US has on numerous occasions mentioned to China that it really needs to do something about that atrocious human rights record, but seems to do so with all the teeth of an octogenarian who just lost her dentures. Why? Because trading with China is a very profitable experience for the US. It makes heaps of money off of China every year. And, while espousing your ideals is good, turning a grotesque profit is even better. In a different situation from Cuba, there's another island called Taiwan, which would really like to be known as a separate country, but which China claims is part of it. Taiwan nowadays is far more democratic than mainland China, but the US does nothing to help this ideological comrade, because doing so would really, really piss off China. So, if the US is so unconcerned with promoting its way of life abroad, why so much fuss over Cuba? Let's take a look at the history involved. Cuba was a Spanish possession until the Spanish-American war at the turn of the century, a ridiculous rout where the US provoked a war with a weakened Spain and proceed to strip it of many overseas possessions. Among these was Cuba, now liberated, except for an American-written constitution that allowed the US to intervene in Cuban affairs as it wished. Fast-forward half a century, and we find Cuba a lovely island paradise, if you happen to be rich and visiting. In actuality, the country is a playground for the American mob, and the Cubans are mighty tired of being trampled by foreigners. So, they rally together, have a little revolution, and throw the US out. To make a long story short, things don't improve too much, but at least they're now getting screwed by fellow Cubans, not foreigners. So, the real reason the US refuses to let up on the Cuba issue is not that they won't tolerate communism nowhere, noplace, no-how, but rather that they're intent on screwing over the upstart little shit of a banana republic that dared to kick Uncle Sam in the balls. And as to China, don't forget still-lingering racism; those human rights violations aren't really that big of a deal, since they're happening to tan people with epicanthic folds and not red-blooded flag-waving god-blessed Americans.
Addendum: The US has finally realized that the embargo on Cuba is ridiculuous, and has started lifting it. (This is probably related to the fact that most of the Cuban exiles here in the US that actually remember the revolution are starting to die of old age.) I guess some things really do change after all...
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