IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Necessity, cooperation and Cuba

I saw this story from the New York Times the other day.   There are, if memory serves, many other examples of this sort of cooperation among states that “officially” do not have much to do with each other for political reasons.  For instance, I can remember during the Cold War that the North Sea got so polluted that East and West Germany (remember the Wall, etc…?) had to start cooperating to do something about it.  Also, about the same time the Mediterranean was in the process of dying ecologically (the beaches were becoming very hazardous as well), that a commission was set up including just about all the coastal countries.  The Europeans and, inter alia, the Libyans sat together on this body and worked effectively to save that important sea.

Still, in our era, it is hard not to see burgeoning (albeit grudging) cooperation expanding between the U.S. and Cuba as an especially interesting, and possible portentous development.  What has always been hard for Americans (and Cuban exiles and others) to admit is that despite the negatives associated with the Cuban government, they have very respectable achievements in education, drug treatment, medicine generally and, as indicated here, disaster preparation…achievements from with others could benefit.   Cooperation, in this area can only be a good thing.  As the article explains:

“With coastal communities in both countries vulnerable, meteorology could bring the longtime adversaries closer together, especially with the policy of increased engagement pushed by President Obama, experts argue. Wayne Smith, a former American diplomat in Havana who is now a fellow at the Washington-based Center for International Policy, has brought an array of American officials to Cuba in recent years to look at how Cuban disaster preparedness programs manage to keep the number of hurricane deaths on the island so low.”

Hmmm…well, as a card (or rather diploma) carrying political scientist, I can tell you that politics come and politics go, but natural disasters seem to remain.  And when Mother Nature wallops you, you need all the help and expertise you can get.  This has always brought people together, and everything indicates that it will continue to do so.


August 23, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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