Promoting the spread of information technologies, including Twitter-like social media services, is not a substitute for a strategy to advance the causes of representative government and individual liberty. But, it will be a component of any successful attempt to build a better world. Notwithstanding the half-baked notion of using USAID for that purpose, the Keystone Cops-like implementation of it, or the subsequent insistence by White House officials that a program meant to remain covert is not, legally, a covert program, a Twitter-like service for Cuba would be good for Cubans’ ability to communicate with one another outside the constraints of their government, good for Cuba, and good for the United States. It was “dumb” for USAID to launch a program in which the American people had to hide their involvement; efforts to help Cubans (indeed, anyone living under a dictatorship) communicate with one another outside the restrictions of their government is something in which Americans should take pride.
Eric Sterner is a fellow at the George C. Marshall Institute. He has held senior staff positions for the House Armed Services and Science Committees and served at NASA and the Department of Defense.