A reversal of a bad decision

No, soldiers aren't coming back from Iraq, and taxes aren't being raised on the rich, and Alito's nomination hasn't been pulled in favor of a person with, you know, a soul, but it's something.

Some time back (and I'd have sworn I blogged about it, but I can't find the reference), the US government decided to deny Cuba's baseball team the needed entry visas for them to compete in the World Baseball Classic. Why? Because, in the words of Scott McClellan, "Our concerns were centered on making sure that no money was going to the Castro regime and that the World Baseball Classic would not be misused by the regime for spying."

Oooo-kay.

Well, the money end of it was taken care of when Castro said that any profits would go to victims of Hurricane Katrina, so that only left the spying angle. I don't know if Cuba actually did anything to alleviate the State Department's concerns over spying--my guess is that this statement had more to do with the decision.

After the initial rejection, the International Baseball Federation threatened to withdraw its sanction of the tournament if Cuba was not allowed to participate. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said this week that any future U.S. bids to host the Olympics would have to ensure there would be no restrictions on participating nations.

Due in part to our nation's general ability to see beyong the parameters of its own ass, our interest level in the Olympics seems to correlate directly with its being hosted in the US. For instance, how many people outside hardcore winter sports fans know that the Winter Olympics crank up in less than a month and that they're being held in Torino? If they were being held in Lake Placid again, like they were 22 years ago, we wouldn't be able to escape it. So I'd be willing to bet that NBC, among others, head Rogge's statement, and let the administration know that they'd sure appreciate it if Cuba got the visas they needed. Call it a hunch, but it fits well with Friedman's general structure of the flattened world--the US doesn't want to take itself out of the Olympics supply chain, so it concedes on the smaller issue of the ridiculous Cuba embargo.

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