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Commentary: Rapprochement with Cuba requires renunciation of U.S. arrogance

by Xinhua Writer Zhu Dongyang

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Cuba is seen widely as a historic move of Uncle Sam, but ultimate rapprochement with Cuba requires the United States to refrain from imposing its ideology on others and to treat others as equals.

Both nations have shown strategic vision and goodwill in their efforts to end half-century-old rivalry and make Obama's visit possible. The rapprochement is set to become a legacy of Obama's presidency.

However, it is too early to predict a full-fledged thaw in Havana-Washington relations, given the tremendous and deep-rooted differences between the two countries.

Obama's journey, in the eyes of many observers, is arguably an ice-breaking gesture at best and nothing more than a discord-sowing maneuver to disintegrate the left-wing league in Latin America.

Obama has been dragging his feet in lifting the decades-old embargo against Cuba, which has taken its toll on the island's economy and the Cuban people's livelihood.

Furthermore, the trip, together with other fence-mending efforts by the Obama administration, has triggered enormous backlash from U.S. demagogic presidential contenders. Given Obama's lame-duck status, it would not be surprising that the restoration of U.S.-Cuba relations might meet with twists and turns ahead if the United States chooses not to renounce its arrogance.

As Henry Kissinger said in his book "Diplomacy," there was no other country like the United States that has stuck in the wishful conviction that its institutions are universally viable.

Harboring such ideas and seeing itself as the beacon of the so-called free world, Washington has long gruffly and habitually forced its ideas on other countries with different cultures and conditions. And the outcome? A war-torn Middle East, a nuclear Korean Peninsula, and the radicalism-stricken West, to name just a few.

Yes, Obama's visit is commendable for indicating the possibility of communication and collaboration between countries with divergent ideologies. But Washington needs to offer substantive and sufficient compensation to the island country to pay for its past wrongdoings.

Now that the United States has taken its first step and further progress is also expected in this respect. But much remains to be seen what the Western world would do.

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