The United States and Cuba took definitive steps to end a half-century of animosity and icy relations this holiday season, after reportedly 18 months or so of back-channel discussions between high-level representatives of each country’s presidential administration, as well as the Vatican.  The two countries used the swap of intelligence assets and an American aid worker to move forward in the initial phases of what looks to be an inevitable rapprochement between Cuba and the United States.

As noted in the Washington Post, the secret diplomacy took place largely in Ottawa, Canada, which has friendly relations with Cuba, and with the help of Pope Francis at the Holy See, and revolved around the exchange of intelligence assets being held by each country.  It is no surprise that the talks centered on the intelligence world, as relations between the two countries have largely existed solely in that milieu for decades now, with each country tirelessly trying to keep eyes and ears on the other in order to constantly gauge intentions.

As I briefly argued on back in October, in discussing the need for a new American Grand Strategy, re-establishing ties between the United States and Cuba is in America’s strategic interests for a number of reasons.  First and foremost, the ideological battle between American capitalism and Marxism/communism is as decisively over as that between round- and flat-Earthers.  Can you guess which one represents Marxism/communism?

America need no longer fear a communist country on its doorstep.  Rather, we should fear an isolated, economically disadvantaged neighbor forced to coddle up to Russia, North Korea, and Iran, given that it has no relations with its larger, more prosperous northern neighbor.  In other words, we should not allow an ally of Russia to be 90 miles from our shore, if simple diplomacy can prevent it.