BENDINELLI: Sorry to be so selfish



Ryan Bendinelli

I understand that politics is supposed to be about all of us. We accept the fact that we have a government because it is best for everyone. Even though my philosophy is that we should have a small government, I still recognize the fact that we need laws for a stable society.

Now, it is time for the part where I say to the government, “Stay out.”

Every once in a while, I enjoy a nice cigar. I realize that it is not the best thing for my health. That is why I don’t smoke one every day. I also understand that second-hand smoke is rude at best and dangerous at worst, so I am kind enough not to smoke around people that do not want it around.

This past week, I was outside our borders and had the good fortune to indulge in a cigar that began its journey on a small island south of Miami that most of us know as “Cuba.” It was certainly one of the better cigars I have ever smoked, though perhaps overpriced. Even if I had decided to bring another back to the United States, I could not due to a decision made in the Kennedy administration. Yes, John Fitzgerald Kennedy is still making foreign policy decisions. Yes, those decisions go so far as to tell me I cannot smoke a cigar because the tobacco came from 90 miles outside of our borders.

Allow me to give a pretty basic explanation of the Cuban embargo. It began during the 1960s while Cuba was a close ally of the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union placed missiles in Cuba, and this did not sit well with the United States. As the Soviet Union presented a major threat to the United States, it made sense to dissuade other countries from dealing with them.

The biggest problem with this embargo is that the Soviet Union does not exist anymore. The Evil Empire is not the threat it once was. We won the Cold War. We do not need to dissuade other countries from becoming allies with a country that no longer exists. Furthermore, the fact that the United States held off on trading with Cuba for this long should prove the point that this country does not take kindly to dealing with enemies.

Last month, Cuba’s longtime dictator Fidel Castro officially relinquished power. This provides the United States with a perfect opportunity to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba.

While my own judgment on this issue may be clouded by cigar smoke, it seems like the United States has little to lose. At this point in time, my biggest fears of Communism taking over have more to do with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama than either of the Castro brothers.

The United States is at war with terrorism. It makes sense to turn Cuba into an ally, rather than give it an opportunity to provide a safe harbor for terrorism. I am not suggesting that will happen, but it hardly seems worth the risk.

I could easily forego a better cigar if it was in any way useful to this country. However, I think it is time to reap the benefits of our victory in the Cold War and celebrate with a few good cigars.


Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].