Tag Archives: US

Transforming US-Cuban relationships through interaction

cuba

In his article “The Relational Paradigm and Sustained Dialogue,” Harold Saunders speaks of the importance of “continuous interaction” in transforming the United States’ relationships with even “distant hostile” countries. His “relational paradigm” assumes that politics are based on open-ended, cumulative, and multi-level interactions between the “body politic” of two countries (including citizens in and out of official institutions). An example of how the United States’ relationship with one officially very “hostile” neighbor is being transformed through these sorts of “continuous interactions” is described in this Boston Globe article about recent US-Cuba relations:http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2014/04/20/cuba-and-united-states-are-warily-slowly-thawing-relations/LDEqbKk2hkk4cVn22PuYDO/story.html

The article discusses how, through the “US interests section” in Havana, US and Cuban diplomats and experts are working quietly behind the scenesto cooperate on a range of issues, including combatting human trafficking, improving airline safety, and working on joint public health and environmental efforts. At the same time, American visits to Cuba have increased rapidly, and Americans are now the second largest nationality to visit the island, after Canadians.  Nearly 500,000 Cuban Americans visited last year (thanks to relaxed restrictions on their travel in 2009), as well as another 100,000 visitors on State Department sponsored cultural and educational exchanges. And a surprise announcement by the Cuban government last year that its citizens will now be allowed to apply to travel outside their country means that this exchange could become a two-way street. Despite the continued official hardline of the State Department on Cuba, these sorts of exchanges and cooperation are giving hope to many that relations are experiencing a thaw.

U.S. – Canada ‘Loser Keeps Bieber’

"Loser Keeps Biber" Billboard in Chicago
It was a sad day for Team USA. The Canadian men’s ice hockey team has defeated the United States 1-0 in the semifinals. Looks like the U.S. lost the ‘bet.’

While Barack Obama and Stephen Harper were busy betting a case of beer on the U.S.-Canada men’s Olympics hockey semifinal game on last Friday, one Chicago billboard company was making the gutsiest bet of all time with Canada.

According to CBS news, the billboard, owned by Skokie-based freight broker Command Transportation, said that the loser of the highly anticipated contest “keeps (Justin) Bieber.” The pop star was born in Canada but resides in the States. After America’s loss on Friday, the company quickly admitted to making the “worst bet ever,” and put a photo of a bald eagle with a “Belieber” gold chain around its neck for good measure.

However, even though the Team USA lost the game and President Obama owes two cases of beer to Canada PM Harper, the two country connects even tighter through the fast-reacting media, especially social media like Twitter, and I am sure the Team USA would do a better job if knew the bet earlier.