That President Richard Nixon made his signature breakthrough to China with the help of "ping pong diplomacy" is one of the verities of U.S. diplomatic history. Since that achievement over forty years ago, those who would like to see an end to the long conflict between Cuba and the United States have often looked to baseball, both nations’ shared national pastime, as a bridge for mutual understanding. While baseball has done its part to bring both countries together on various occasions over the years, the diplomatic impasse remains.
In the United States, opposition to the Cuban embargo has been constant and growing. This has been especially true since the collapse of the Soviet Union, which spelled the end of communist Cuba’s dreams of supporting armed revolution around the world. Yet, there remain real differences today that cannot be wished away by bromides about how excessive and even counterproductive the policy may be. The embargo consists of a smothering mass of statutes, regulations, and practices that stifles much that could prove useful in addressing those differences. Change will come only through a concerted effort to change the infrastructure of inertia underlying relations, and cultural diplomacy can help a determined president make that effort.
To read the entire article, click here (subscription required).