Do Cubans want to become Americans?

That was 50 years well spent then. It's always worth trying out a policy for a bit, to see if it comes off. And if you try bringing a country to ruin for half a century by blowing it up and starving it and trying to assassinate the leader and blockading it and it doesn't quite work, there's no harm done and at least you can say you tried.

You have to admire the charm of America. After doing all that, they're now saying to Cuba: "As you seem to have changed we'll think about trading with you again."

It's like Tiger Woods saying to his ex-wife: "All right, I might have you back, if you promise to be a bit more responsible."

One person you have to fear for now is Fidel Castro, as I expect it's only the assassination attempts on him that have kept him going this past 50...

read more
Terrorism the biggest bane afflicting the Muslim world
Aijaz Zaka Syed
It would be an epic tragedy and an affront to the memory of all those who fell to the terrorists’ bullets if, after the initial shock wears off, it is business as usual

Of a petition for education
Gordon Brown
In Afghanistan, Colombia, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria, at least 1,000 schools and colleges have been bombed or raided

A happy ending for celebrity memoirs
Katy Guest
To be fair, predicting bestsellers is not easy – if it were, nobody would ever work for a living

Putin's bubble may have burst
Paul Krugman
The ruble has been sliding gradually since August, when Putin openly committed Russian troops to the conflict in Ukraine

More in Columns
Has Cuba really won in the bargain? Well...
Jorge G. Castaneda
Cuba seems to have given up very little in exchange. There are concessions, to be sure, but not large ones in view of what Cuba stands to gain with the resumption of diplomatic relations
Pakistan passing through a seminal moment in history
Kamran Rehmat
Operations have been conducted before as well, with ambiguity in targeting the enemy. Sharif however, vowed that there’s going to be no distinction between the so-called “good” and “bad” Taliban
SMEs need more encouragement
Mark Pudwell
The current economic climate is now putting greater expectation upon the performance of the SME market in Oman
It is liberalism which would pass the test
Six years after the start of the global financial crisis, many are beginning to ask uncomfortable questions. How can liberal democracies remain globally competitive?
Will the most horrific attack unite Pakistan's squabbling politicians?
The Pakistani Taliban has a sinister and cowardly calculus. It believes that if it raises the human cost of Pakistan mounting military offensives against its fighters
Confronting an ugly killer
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the estimated number of Americans with the disease will rise from more than five million now to as many as 16 million in 2050
Please do not listen to the cynics
Bob Geldof
The child stares in mute pitiful confusion, not knowing why her parents dare not approach and comfort her tiny dying body
We ought to give time to let Russia be Russia
Shlomo Ben-Ami
Putin’s defiance of US hegemony could attract support from countries and peoples worldwide that resent American-imposed values and norms
'Lone wolf' attackers will still remain a security nightmare
Kim Sengupta
The police and security services face obvious difficulties in foiling the threat, lacking the advantage offered by others affiliated to known terrorist organisations
Narendra Modi gets leg-up from falling oil prices
Oommen Kuruvilla
When Modi was touting his development shtick at election speeches some seven months ago perhaps he himself was clueless on how to go about achieving it
Mainstream politicians endanger Britain
Gary Smith
The outcome of any future EU referendum may also spark renewed calls for a fresh Scottish independence referendum
Torture is a symptom of America's reality
Yasmin A. Brown
Like an intense preacher at a pulpit, Barack Obama intoned: ‘That is not who we are’. With due respect, sir, what has just been revealed is not an aberration of the American ideal, but its reality
Zardari-Bilawal tiff leaves PPP in an utter disarray
Kamran Rehmat
Zardari didn’t give any timelines for when the Bhutto scion will resume political activities, but did say he himself would run the ship until then. This is a setback for the restless ranks
Who are the Americans?
Charles M. Blow
We are America — impossibly strong, illogically optimistic, eternally hopeful. This is a laboratory in which one of the greatest experiments in human history is still underway
Why is Pakistan a pariah at the Lords?
Nazim Zaka
Pakistan needed one of its sons to make a cameo appearance but alas, none of these were there to represent Pakistan’s contribution to cricket’s more than 100-year-old history

Banning alcohol will impact Sultanate’s tourism industry
Oman would probably become a hardship posting location once more, and this would drive up labour costs, and scare off a lot of current expats working here
Freddie Sayers of
Educate the youngsters about the effects of alcohol
Given that increasing tourism is a primary focus of the government I believe this ban would have a detrimental effect and reduce visitors to this lovely country
Tonia Gray
Why are the Western youth joining Isis?
Internally, there is widespread disengagement from the political system and a growing sense of radical disaffection among some citizens, especially the young
Eva Hoffman
Humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in focus
The Day After, now cited as the highest-rated film in TV history, left then-US President Ronald Reagan “greatly depressed” and caused him to rethink his nuclear strategy.
Sebastian Kurz
The zero-sum game of global currency wars
The cause of the latest currency turmoil is clear: In an environment of private and public deleveraging from high debts, monetary policy has become the only available tool to boost demand and growth
Nouriel Roubini
To pay or not to pay? That is the question
Additional military strength that terrorists gain from ransom revenue is not the only harm caused by paying ransoms. Ransoming one Western hostage creates an incentive for militants to capture another
Peter Singer
CIA pursued the wrong targets
The continuing threat from Al Qaeda was exaggerated and the outfit was presented post-2001 as a sort of mini-Pentagon with senior officials who could be regularly eliminated or captured providing
Patrick Cockburn
Driving Ukrainians into Putin’s arms
The unpalatable reality is that a significant portion of east Ukrainians - the very people on the ground living and suffering through this conflict
Lev Golinkin
Need to clean mind as well
Modi has given the idea of cleanliness a whole new emphasis. He has co-opted celebrities from different walks of life to spread the message of a clean India even as media adverts
Oommen Kuruvilla
CEC at last, but it’s going to be a tightrope walk now
After leading massive shows of strength across the country, Khan is now planning to shut down the country as part of his protest campaign unless the Sharif government forms a judicial commission
Kamran Rehmat
Dam to benefit the poor or the elite Ethiopians?
The mega dam is being built not to meet the future needs of the Ethiopians. Neither is it being built to sustain growth of the nation. Grand Renaissance Dam will benefit only a handful — the Ethiopian elites
Wars over water will be everywhere in Africa
Wars over water may not break in immediately in Africa but a more dangerous game of throwing counterweights or proxy wars have already started to bleed the continent, especially in its northern and central regions
Far-right nationalism strikes roots in India
The rise of the far or extreme right polity is a reality in India today, strengthening the threat of ideological contamination of politics. Social mosaic of the subcontinent is now in serious jeopardy
Why I won’t feel proud of my ‘prime minister’
We in India will probably get a man at the top office in about less than a fortnight from now, one who has denied a section of our population their very fundamental right — the right to live
Sisi cannot get away murdering Egyptians
Egypt is getting soaked in blood virtually every day. Within a trifle over 48 hours of killing over 600 people the trigger-happy forces mowed down at least 70 more
Afghanistan awaits a visionary leader
If Abdullah Abdullah, a blue-eyed boy of the American media wins the election, he will, no doubt, stir a new wave of ideologically motivated anti-Pashtun sectarianism in Afghanistan.
Salvation of the Kurds
Kurds, partly because of the Stalinist ideology they are following, and partly because of the pains they suffered in the past, wish to have an independent country
Musharraf’s story needs closure
Today, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his trial are unquestionably the most destabilising factors after Ziaul Haq’s gifts.
EU supporting military occupation
For thirty eight years the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco has been largely ignored by the rest of the world.
General Sisi is stoking the flames in Egypt
Holding Mursi somewhere at an army base is angering Egypt more than the illegal manner in which he was toppled. He needs to be released to prevent the situation from further exacerbation. But, Al Sisi isn’t expected to do so as he fears Mursi’s release will only magnify army’s illegitimacy