USA*Engage Blog

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How Russian sanctions could cost US energy dominance
Tuesday, 4 July 2017
by Richard Sawaya
An obscure provision tucked into the Russia sanctions legislation under consideration by Congress could have the unintended consequence of giving Russian energy firms a competitive edge over American companies. The provision in question could exclude U.S. oil and gas firms from over $100 billion in investment opportunities over the next 10 years, costing Americans well-paying jobs and hurting the 401(k)s and investment portfolios of nearly every American.
The Way Forward With Cuba
Monday, 1 June 2015
by Richard Sawaya, Vice President of USA*Engage
The May 20 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “Cuba: The Way Forward” provided a valuable, if rare, moment of clarity about U.S. hemispheric policy. In his testimony, Ambassador Thomas Shannon, one of our most able and accomplished career diplomats, quoted Hans Morgenthau: “Our purpose is not to defend or preserve a present or restore a past, it is to create the future,” emphasizing that U.S. global engagement is meant to defend one kind of future against another kind of future.
The New Status Quo and U.S.-Cuba Relations
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
by Richard Sawaya
The position of those in high dudgeon about President Obama’s negotiated change of policy with the Cuban regime can be summed up by former Texas governor Rick Perry’s declaration: “We got a bad deal. This administration basically empowered the Castro regime with no thought of the Cuban people.” While this may work as an applause-seeking sound bite, does it stand up to reason?
The U.S. embargo and its bilateral appurtenances are more than a half-century old. Brothers Fidel and Raul have seen nine U.S. presidents from both political parties come and go. During that time, the challenges born by the Cuban people are inarguable. But the embargo has compounded the problem.
What to Make of the Cuba Handshake
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
by Jake Colvin
For as much as the media made of the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro, it's not nearly as juicy as other aspects of the U.S.-Cuba relationship.

The handshake itself is small potatoes.  President Obama was right not to have snubbed a handshake at a memorial for Nelson Mandela, which would have turned into an even bigger story. 

The reality is that there are much more important developments in the U.S.-Cuba relationship, and strong potential for principled engagement to further benefit the Cuban people and America's national interest.