It seems that America is trying to move past the days of imposing our ideals on other nations as part of our international relations policy. Maybe we are finally learning that we cannot enter a country and begin to restructure their policies to meet our own standards. This week, Pres. Obama is visiting Cuba. It’s a monumental trip since he is the first U.S. president to enter the country in 88 years and it seems that he has gone with the intent of understanding the Cuban citizens and culture in order to know how we can move forward, working together. Pres. Obama stated that his visit “demonstrates that [Cubans] do not need to fear a threat from the United States” and called for a removal of Cold War-era feelings between our two countries. It is a refreshing approach in a world of politicians moving too quickly to pass judgements on cultures and behaviors that are foreign and thus perceived as a threat. Our government cannot continue its trend of forcibly changing countries in order to be more reflective of the American ideal. We do not have to be the policemen on imposing what we believe to be the best for people that don’t see the world in the same way as us. That only leads to instability and frustration over time, as we’ve seen in places like Iraq or Vietnam in the past. I am proud of Pres. Obama for trying to respectfully deal with our differences and push for a way to have a cooperative future.
At the same time, Pres. Obama encouraged free speech of Cubans and urged the Cuban government to listen to its people’s voices. It seems that the rising generation of Cuba was his true target. There is political power seen in millennials. Power to actually change policy, even in a country that has experienced communist’s reign for decades. Pres. Obama also did not back down from his American stance, saying “I can’t force you to agree, but you should know what I think,” which was a respectful approach. I am tired of Americans believing they know what is best for other people, so I appreciated Pres. Obama’s approach to his visit to Cuba. We should “leave behind the ideological battles of the past” and learn to move forward together. Shouldn’t that be our approach to dealing with every country?