Part of the problem is that Cuba has become so politicized, especially in the key swing state of Florida, where many exiles live, that it’s all but impossible to have a dispassionate discussion about what the US approach should be. Key players in the debate who oppose another opening, like Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez — a New Jersey Democrat — and Sunshine State Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, have deep familial ties to the island and antipathy to its communist heritage. And the past affinity of some liberals to the Castros, not to mention left-wing strongmen in Venezuela, has fueled GOP claims that Democrats are “socialists” — a politically potent insult in much of the US.
Things are not just getting dicey in America’s backyard.
China claims that international voyages through the region by foreign navies, including that of the United States, unnecessarily spike tensions. Rival Pacific powers argue they are assuring the lawful principle of freedom of navigation.
Tensions are likely to further spike in the coming weeks when the new British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth sails through the South China Sea at the head of an international flotilla — with all the colonial echoes that voyage will bring.