Permanent interests

THE bizarre world of international relations is guided by Benjamin Disraeli’s dictum that there are no permanent friends and enemies in politics — only permanent interests. Yet, it is hard not to be surprised by Fidel Castro’s revelation that despite their strained relations, Cuba and US extensively exchanged confidential information about terror networks in the 1990s.

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Published: Sun 22 May 2005, 10:24 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:47 PM

The legendary Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez was reportedly used by Castro to pass on a message to the then US president Bill Clinton in 1998. Ruing the fact that the hardliners in the US torpedoed the attempts to bring about a formal US-Cuba agreement on anti-terror cooperation, Castro now claims if the US-Cuba engagement had continued, the September 11 attacks would not have happened. The uneasy US-Cuba relationship has always been a source of fascination and interest to mandarins and students of international relations. Under Castro, the tiny communist Cuba has managed to retain its ideological and political independence for the past half a century despite being situated cheek by jowl, next to the US, the world’s only superpower and leader of capitalist world.

There have been serious crises like the Cuban missile crisis when it appeared as if the American giant would crush the Marxist state but in the end the US and Cuba have learned to live together. But this uneasy tolerance for each other has not matured into a healthy, normal, mutually benefiting relationship, which is unfortunate considering there are tens of thousands of people of Cuban origin in US today. It’s strange that there are no diplomatic relations between the next door neighbours. Now that the Cold war is over and Communism is long dead, shouldn’t the neighbours be more reasonable in their approach to each other?

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