The Russian invasion of Ukraine “is in many ways bigger than Russia, it’s bigger than Ukraine,” State Department spokesman Ned Price recently declared. “There are principles that are at stake here.… Each and every country has a sovereign right to determine its own foreign policy, has a sovereign right to determine for itself with whom it will choose to associate in terms of its alliances, its partnerships and what orientation it wishes to direct its gaze.” United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated last year that he does not recognize “spheres of influence,” adding that the concept “should have been retired after World War II.”
Those are noble but empty words—because they obviously do not apply to the Western Hemisphere. Take Cuba, which continues to suffer under an embargo that has been enforced for 60 years. That, plus the pandemic and President Donald Trump’s reversal of Obama-era liberalization—a crackdown sustained by the Biden administration—has bludgeoned the island’s economy. Food and medicine are scarce; many young and entrepreneurial Cubans are leaving the island in droves. The pressure contributed in large measure to the protests that stunned the island last July.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.