Biden received pressure from the EU, whose ambassador in Cuba asked for the US to lift the over 50 year old embargo on the communist island nation 90 miles south of the US’s southernmost point in Florida, at the origin of the Florida Straights releasing Gulf of Mexico warmer ocean water through a current running up the continental US east coast, to the North Sea and British Isles near northern Europe, as weather science fact website SciJinks says. Besides improving diplomacy, environmental issues, such as if the Gulf Stream will get even warmer, and human rights, are main policy concerns.
The relationship between the EU and Cuba is important due to how close the US and Europe are in their economic trade and security alliance, according to news from Cuban dissident blog 14yMedio. If the base of US support for a democratic world order, besides Canada, calls for Biden to take action on relieving pressure for punishment imposed since the US became hegemonic following WWII in the 1950s, then Biden must at least take this concern seriously —, like Obama making efforts to reduce tension and improve relations with a family presidential visit towards the termination of his second and last term in the Oval Office.
If Biden, who keeps an open foreign policy yet focuses on domestic concerns, more so now that coronavirus appears, especially in underdeveloped countries such as Cuba itself, even to begin to recede as a major concern, with vaccines soon to be ready there for common use, the international and political gamesmanship in Washington dealing with America’s priorities at home are increasingly intermixed with global concerns or priorities. While the US guarantees security for the Western Hemisphere and Europe, it remains tense in relation to leftist governments in Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
When a chance for rapprochement, as a new presidency entails, appears, actors like the major diplomat on this issue for the EU are predisposed to apply pressure for what they see as in their mutual interest with the US. At stake is a bigger question of if the US wants to continue improving ties with its major international trading block, as large as China and the US individually are, or if Biden will decide to leave Europe to deal with its own concerns, such as immigration or potential breakup of the supranational union of nation states altogether.
This last is evident in calls for independence at a reduced size in federalism dynamics that permit representation both at national and international federal levels. We see this occurring in norther Italy, Catalonia in Spain, and Scotland in the northern British Isles. If any of these pushes harder, EU reliance would enable them to have more power for their citizens, at the risk of loosing bargaining ground on international concerns. They gain larger say through more traditional, historic European powers, such as the UK holds, together with England, Wales, and Scotland, since a 1707 union with Scotland, and which is, as well as a nuclear power, along with France, in its own right, important for security concerns first of all; still, topics like US policy towards Cuba would be less viable to be influenced by these smaller nation states.
Leaving aside whether Cuba concerns the EU enough to warrant use of already limited diplomatic room to apply at least some pressure on DC to act, Biden may change US policy towards the island, indeed, and this small move then becomes an important play in a larger chess game of international diplomacy. In this game, both the EU and the US aim to further Western democratic ideals, against a rising threat from Asia in China’s growing economic importance, and security problems in the Middle East based on fossil fuel wealth accessible underground or already tapped there. Climate change applies to world topics for concern of every shade, and Cuba, as an island, feels this impact maybe more than others. Biden, on a side note, made inroads to Saudi Arabia over human rights, this week, an area also of interest from the US view in Cuba, highlighting the importance of both geopolitical areas for US concern.
For an average American, Cuba matters more today than in the past, as the US can risk less of alienating its neighbors in an increasingly interconnected world, as coronavirus spreading during 2020 has shown. Biden, who hopes to end the virus this year, as medical professionals attest is possible, can also spend some time pondering why we isolate a nation due to its ideology, when we could become commercial partners very fast. Europe, meanwhile, clearly sees this to its advantage, similarly, so decided to use one avenue to hold America’s feet to the fire, metaphorically, on an area of historic concern to them as well.