Wednesday, November 23, 2016

War games - why do our leaders keep wasting their time?

War games: why do our leaders keep wasting their time?
HILDEBRANDO CHAVIANO MONTES | La Habana | 23 de Noviembre de 2016 -
11:40 CET.

The 2016 Bastion Strategic Exercises are finally over. A week marked by
the flexing of useless military muscle, an exhibition of political
paranoia. Perhaps no other Government in the world actually televises
its military exercises. Here we Cubans have endured, day after day, the
regime's response to the victory of Donald Trump in the US elections.

In reality Cuba is not threatened by invaders, foreign or domestic. The
maneuvers have been a waste of resources aimed at boosting the troops'
flagging morale, and that of the leaders of the Government and the
Communist Party too, who have still not recovered from what Obama's
visit to the island meant.

Since then the official rhetoric has asserted the need to increase
production to defend Socialism against the "new subversive tactics
employed by the empire." In Castro's ranks there is despair and
frustration. Its friends are gone, and the country is not just an
Island, but now an isolated one, surrounded by ambitious capitalists
from China and Vietnam.

The problem of Cuba has no military solution, because it is economic in
nature. Investors who are not willing to taking risks with Raúl Castro's
allegedly new economic policies are no enemies of the Cuban people. They
are potential friends that the archaic system of the socialist State
enterprise is actually driving away. People who, when they see a
bankrupt government spending money it does not have to conduct massive
military maneuvers, are further discouraged from placing their capital
on Cuban socialism's perpetual roulette wheel of waste, corruption and

Within, the effect of the maneuvers was varied: bravado, arrogance,
spending, the giving of chauvinistic speeches ... Outwards: the
perception was one of madness, a disconnection from reality, isolation,
and fear of accepting any change.

The results will soon be seen: a flight of potential investors,
decreased productivity, more impoverishment, more young emigrants, more
frustration and apathy, as "every man for himself" spreads as a moral
norm in the society that Cuba's Communists continue to spawn.

In politics, as in economics, a speech, a bad investment, an unfriendly
gesture or a military maneuver may have unintended consequences. And
Cuban rulers are too accustomed to bluster, bombastic speeches,
chestbeating in loincloths, and the exploitation of the people, as
hostages, to inspire a sense of sympathy.

It might said that for over almost 60 years the Cuban Government has
never been one of politicians. Or even technocrats. Rather, it has been
a Government of the "enlightened," a band of fanatics guided by voices
whispering to them that they are infallible, telling them to deforest
the country and plant sugar cane, to fiercely oppose cruise tourism, to
build an airport on the tiny island of Granada, or to create a new breed
of native, multi-faceted cattle, to incite guerrilla wars in Latin
America, to send troops to Africa, and hold Pan American games and then
declare a "special period for peacetime."

It is very likely that the voices that arouse mystical inspiration in
Cuba's leaders come from the spirits of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and

Otherwise there is no way to fathom how our leaders have not realized
that the trial-and-error method is based on discarding what produces
unwanted results. And, in the case of Cuba, wars have not been the
reason for the country's endemic poverty, so preparing for one that will
never happen is just a waste of time and resources.

Instead of reveling in games with a bunch of old weapons, our leaders
should try abolishing the country's centralized state economy. Maybe
this would produce results similar to those enjoyed by China, Vietnam,
the former Soviet republics and European socialist countries, which,
although also conducting military maneuvers, don´t broadcast them on

Source: War games: why do our leaders keep wasting their time? | Diario
de Cuba -

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