For decades the U.S. wrestled the Soviet bear for international primacy in a long and bitter Cold War. Finally, the bear and its Communist system succumbed, driven into the deep freeze of insolvency in 1989. Yet remnants of international Communism persisted, most stubbornly in Cuba.
Throughout the Castro brothers regime in Cuba, an American trade embargo has been in place crippling the Cuban economy. Now, in his final year in office, President Barack Obama has flown to Havana to meet with Cuban leaders, including President Raul Castro. This makes Obama the first sitting U.S. President to visit the island nation since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.
Even as we struggle to combat the barbaric jihadists in the Middle East while trying to re-boot the political hard drive in our own hemisphere, there are those who say a stronger hand is what’s needed, not a conciliatory one.
But as we should have learned in Vietnam, in a battle for hearts and minds against an asymmetrical enemy, might alone will never be the deciding factor — and as suggested in a previous post (Our Sorcerer’s Apprentice) may actually work to our disadvantage if in the wrong hands.
And so while attempts to define us by our faults may reveal shortcomings, whenever others question America, I suggest we revert to the appeal that worked so effectively against the Soviet Communists. I speak of the Charmin Supremacy.
We may have holes in our program, it’s true. There may be losers in our free market system in an increasingly globalized economy. But, ladies and gentlemen, I place in evidence one roll of 2-ply Charmin bathroom tissue, and stand by it as among the most powerful embodiments of American hegemony.
The first time Russian athletes came to compete in the U.S. in the late 1980s at the Los Angeles Marathon, they were put up in the posh L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills. Each suite was loaded with luxurious amenities. Yet all the Russians could say after looking around was, “Yuri, did you see? 2-ply!”
Yes folks, the Charmin Supremacy. We may not be perfect, but what do our foes have to put up against us, wipe-wise? In the end (or on it), sometimes the battle lines lie south of hearts and minds.