We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
But why the President seems to have this compulsion to bow to foreign low-lifes is beyond me. Americans bow only to God. It's not a masculine impulse.
Why do Americans even care about Cuba (except for the Cuban-American vote in Florida) other than to feel pity for them living under the yoke of their socialist masters in a police state? It's just another tiny, impoverished, God-forsaken Latin American paradise-turned-dump with psycho sadistic billionaire dictators. Population close to that of Haiti, and smaller population than the NYC metro area.
What Cubans need is American tourism and American investment. It's difficult to imagine today, but even Haiti used to be a tourist destination.
I think comparing the Castro handshake to Chamberlain is odd. Two very different scales - one was without a doubt already on a path to war, while the other is just a basic disagreement on ideals and purpose (though a substantial disagreement).
The handshake, however, is a much, much, bigger deal than the 'selfie' Cameron and Obama took with the wife of Neil Kinnock's son (who happens to be PM of Denmark).
Everyone wants to make the selfie thing into an issue. I think it's bogus. But sometimes trivial things are important to people.
What Cubans need is American tourism and American investment.
Cuba has tourism aplenty from Canada and Europe. There is also foreign investment in Cuba. In spite of foreign tourism and investment, Cuba remains a totalitarian poorhouse. If you don't believe Cuba is a poorhouse for the overwhelming majority of its citizens, check out the crumbling buildings shown in Michael Totten's recent posting, which MF linked to.
Why would American tourists and American investment improve matters?
As long as the Castro brothers are in control, it is a delusional fantasy to believe that tourism and investment will turn things around in Cuba.
Example why: the foreign-built hotels in Cuba pay the Cuban government $$ for Cuban employees. The Cuban government takes perhaps 90% of the dollars for its own coffers, and pays the piddling remainder in worthless pesos to the Cuban hotel employees.
It's difficult to imagine today, but even Haiti used to be a tourist destination.
It's difficult to imagine today, but in the first half of the 20th century Cuba was a prime destination for immigrants from Europe.
And regarding the alleged hellhole before Castro: Cuba's life expectancy is currently 5 years greater than Latin America. In the 1950s, Cuba's life expectancy was 8 years greater than Latin America.
I have to say I'm flummoxed as to why anybody would think this is a big deal. What was a big deal was all the bowing he did to everybody else. At least this time he didn't bow (and giving his proclivities, one might expect him to).
Still have a pic on my wall of my Dad's submarine entering Havana harbor back in the 50's when he was stationed in Key West. They used to take pictures to sell as souvenirs for the sailors. Dad told me they liked sailors in uniform going to the casinos and would let you win the first 2 bets on the house. Which was enough to pay for the rest of your leave there. The 3rd bet you're on your own and usually lost. Nice place before the commies took over. Hope to see it myself one day. The tourist business here in Tampa and Florida might dry up as people won't come to Florida or Vegas but go to Havana as the new sin city.
One must remember that to a leftie like Obama, Cuba is a paradise of equality and perfect government. the crumbling buildings there show the evils of capitalism, the block wardens and secret police show the virtues of unity, and the huge party rallies with 5-hour speeches are nirvana. consider Bill DeBlasio, new commie mayor of New York. He and his dyke wife honeymooned in Cuba.
First time I heard it, I expected the headline to be "Obama shakes Castro hand, GW spits on Castro and snubs him." (Was Bush even there?)
Should you shake his hand? Yes.
Should you even be at the funeral? Well, probably NO!
But as it is, it was a simple greeting of comrades.