Sunday, February 24, 2008

Castro’s Quiet Exit

For half a century, there were people who talked about ways to get Fidel Castro out of office. There were plans for invasion, civil war, and assassination. Today, Castro is quietly retiring from his various positions as leader of Cuba. It is better that it happens this way.

It’s easy to say now that the people who thought war was necessary to unseat Castro were mistaken. Cuba never did become a disaster zone under Castro, nor did it become an ongoing threat to its neighbors. Its economy may have progressed at a painfully slow pace, but it never crumbled.

It is easy to criticize the Cuban government’s management of the country in recent decades, yet whatever faults they had were not so costly as to justify a war. Patience has its price, but the price of war is much greater. With the benefit of hindsight, if you imagined a war undertaken in Cuba just to hasten this day by a few years, you would say, “For what?”

No one knows what will happen next in Cuba, and the people who want a more effective government for that country are not satisfied with the mere departure of its longtime leader. I imagine that some are saying that now would be an opportune time for the war they have been waiting for. Yet uncertainty and impatience does not add any weight to the case for war. If there were a war, the aftermath would be more uncertain and could easily take longer to clean up than the current situation. Those who are foolish enough or desperate enough to seek the aid of the god of war never know what their reward will be.