The Obama Administration has been praised and vilified for its legendary caution, typically depending on whether the speaker supports or opposes the direction in which caution is being applied.
But a recent proposal by the State Department to the Organization of American States regarding Cuba's re-entry to the OAS rises to the level of ludicrous understatement. The US proposal, along with proposals from Latin America for Cuba's re-entry, is to be considered at the OAS meeting in Honduras next week.
The US proposal concedes that "some of the circumstances since Cuba's suspension... may have changed," the Miami Herald reports.
Cuba was suspended from the OAS in 1962, based largely on its alliance with the Soviet Union.
Do they take newspaper delivery at the State Department? The Soviet Union has not existed for almost twenty years. Does that count as a circumstance that "may have changed"?
The Obama Administration has tacked back and forth. Many in Congress, the Cuban-American community, and the U.S. business community want the U.S. embargo on Cuba to be scrapped or substantially eliminated. But a diehard gang of aging Cuban-American Republican dead-enders is determined to make the Obama Administration pay dearly for any steps towards sanity.
Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is under intense pressure from Latin America to scrap the embargo. Cuba is the only Latin American or Caribbean nation excluded from the OAS, and the U.S. is the only country in the OAS that doesn't have full diplomatic relations with Cuba.
In March, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said Cuba should be readmitted.
Insulza, in an interview in Medellin, Colombia, said the 1962 OAS resolution that banned Cuba from the Washington-based assembly because of its links to communism, China and the Soviet Union no longer makes sense.
"One of the countries has disappeared and the other is buying a lot of U.S. Treasuries," Insulza said at the Inter- American Development Bank's annual meeting. "Please, if they're going to be excluded, let's come up with some better criteria."
The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is at least one proof that the Obama Administration is not always easily cowed by what Secretary of State Clinton once called "the right-wing noise machine." Could a sane Cuba policy be added to this list?