Friday, April 17, 2009

When to Quit

Although America’s restrictions and embargoes on Cuba have seemed superfluous for years, they have been locked in place by the sheer weight of Cold War rationale. Now America seeks a “new beginning” with Cuba; in fact, Obama has gone out of his way to amend Cold War policy, e.g., normalising relations with Russia and changing the discussion on nuclear weapons.

Obama has also made a concerted effort to undo Bush’s policies, e.g. lifting restrictions on stem cell research and closing Guantanamo. Lately, amidst new abuse claims at Gitmo, Obama released four of Bush’s top secret memos that “legalized” torture.

Although Obama’s moves make sense in terms of revitalizing the U.S. (and the world), some Americans feel threatened by them, even non-existent policies: in response to a suspicion that Obama may restrict guns many Americans have been stockpiling them. Some have expressed their discontent by promoting Palin, others have attempted to rekindle the glory days by staging tea parties. These tea parties, however, made little impact despite (or because of) Fox News’ sponsorship. The most audacious protest belongs to the members of the Bush administration who defended the physical abuse of prisoners detailed in the memos. Fortunately, given the new climate, these rationalizations sound like voices in the wilderness and not reason.

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