Weekend Roundup: Between Engagement and Terror

This week we witnessed a world coming together and a world falling apart, a world between engagement and terror. For the first time in nearly 90 years, an American president visited Cuba, turning upside down the anti-Yanqui narrative that has been the raison d’être of one of the Western Hemisphere’s most longest-lasting dictatorships. In Havana, President Barack Obama promised to work toward lifting the embargo on Cuba just as he has done in Iran, where the advance of reformists in last month’s election has already demonstrated the fruits of that opening.

In Brussels, it appears that some children of Muslim immigrants expressed their explosive alienation in terror attacks in the very city many of them grew up, which also happens to be the capital of Europe. As the French scholar Olivier Roy has insightfully noted, we are not so much seeing radicalized Islam in these European attacks as the Islamization of radicalized native youth who have been marginalized and deemed superfluous by mainstream society.

Blogging from Cuba, President Obama says, “I’ve come to Havana to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. I’m here to bury the last vestige of the Cold War in the Americas and to forge a new era of understanding to help improve the daily lives of the Cuban people.” Howard Fineman contrasts Obama’s policy of opening up to the world with the demagogic stance of the leading Republican presidential candidates, stiffened further by the Brussels attacks, that would close America off.

Writing from Havana, Miriam Leiva, one of the dissident leaders of the Ladies in White who met with Obama, says she is confident the president’s visit will facilitate change. “Above all,” she writes, —> Read More