Thursday, November 1, 2007

Communist Foe to Friend Playbook

Cuba needs to read the tea leaves. United Nation's votes for the U.S. to lift its embargo of its neighbor to the south are meaningless. For the 16th consecutive year, the international community condemned America's shuttering of the Cuban economy. Only Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands supported the U.S. position.

A State Department representative spoke boldly to the 183 countries critical of the United States. He urged the world to press Cuba towards democracy instead of voting against US policy.

"It is long past time that the Cuban people enjoy the blessings of economic and political freedom."

As the United States has open diplomatic and economic relations with the most populous communist country in the world, China, what can Cuba do to emulate their success? I suggest the following:

1) Allow students to rally in a downtown historic square for weeks as the world watches. Then send in tanks, arrest the dissenters, torture them in prison, and continue making cheap goods for American companies. Offer to do the work of Mexican maquiladora's for $1.50 a day vs. $30. Stir the pot for ten years and then watch as exports to your democratic U.S. friends explode.

2) Take all the dollars your capitalistic friends send and invest part in politically connected private equity firms, Blackstone, The Carlyle Group, KKR, Texas Pacific Group etc.

3) Don't be surprised when your top down, hierarchical leaders smell money and do anything, including making poor, even dangerous products, to obtain more. Be prepared to execute offenders, arrest, and jail others. Should someone come around espousing Dr. W. Edwards Deming's teachings on quality, throw them out of the country. Knowledge can be constrained by visa cancellation and controlling internet content. Drive in greed and use fear!

The following suggestion is a bonus, garnered from watching America's shining light of freedom on actions in Burma.

4) Allow U.S. oil companies a small stake in highly profitable oil and gas fields in your country. Get them to slip in a grandfather clause for whatever capital investment they plan to make in your country, preferably under a Republican President from an American family dynasty. Once the project is finished, use the billions in cash payments to build your army, buy weapons, and further oppress your people. Don't worry, the U.S. foreign policy is economically driven. If your natural resources are making ka-ching for U.S. companies, the price for abusing your people is small. To help 760 local employees making good money under Chevron, the U.S. will sacrifice 47 million.

There's the playbook Cuba! Open your eyes if you want U.S. trade. But your oil and gas better be sold in dollar denominations. To do otherwise is fighting words!

As for the wise words of the State Department employee, Chinese students still await political freedom...