After a long 59 years of old Cold War animosity, the U.S. and Cuba held summit talks. U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro held an unofficial dialogue between two states during the Organization of American States (OAS) summit meeting on April 11, 2015. This was the first time the U.S. has ever invited Cuba to an OAS meeting.
This “historic meeting” between the two heads of state is indeed a step forward in clearing the hostility, which has lasted more than half a century, and normalizing relations between the two countries. Many now agree on one point: This normalization of diplomatic relations is the turning point in the current international geopolitical landscape. It represents the failure of containment policy for the U.S., which it intended as a means to bring forth regime change in Cuba, and represents policy changes for Cuba, which will certainly bring economic reforms and pragmatism to its society. A call for a fresh beginning — from a 20th century that was marked by the American occupation of Cuba (1902) and the Socialist Revolution in Cuba (1959) — this was a big moment for both sides.
This meeting creates momentum for the restoration of diplomatic relations. Currently, the two countries are in talks for the re-establishment of embassies and for the matter of removing Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. With such a long history of animosity, some are doubtful about whether this negotiation will proceed without dragging on. Even still, there is dissent within the U.S. government, with arguments that diplomatic normalization and the removal of Cuba from the terrorist sponsor list are separate matters.
Nonetheless, only 10 days ago, the U.S., permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (plus Germany) and Iran reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. The news of positive changes continues to emerge from the international sector. Ever since President Obama took office in 2009 his policy of ‘handshake with the enemies’ has shown visible results. While we may not be able to adopt his method word for word due to a different situation, it still sends a message we cannot ignore if we are to bring peace and closure to the North Korean nuclear threat, a process which we ought to start by improving the relations with Pyongyang.