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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Fidel almost as crazy as a fox

    Mike Morefield/columnist
    Mike Morefield/columnist

    Last week, when Fidel Castro welcomed his second-place World Baseball Classic team home, he announced that he would donate the island’s prize money. In a strangely altruistic move, he donated it to Hurricane Katrina victims. For a country ravaged by poverty, it was an odd move to donate the little money it received to the country whose embargo had helped propagate its poorness.

    But here’s the major twist in this already complex situation: Cuba isn’t getting any money from the WBC; it never was.

    Before the tournament, in order to be permitted to play, Cuba signed a crystal-clear contract that gave away all its rights to an earnings percentage.

    But that contract was not well-known. So, in a brilliant move, Castro gave away money he knew he could never get. Major League Baseball denied his right to donate the prize money to charity and furthermore said it would choose what charity, if any, the money would go to. From a public relations standpoint, Castro just beat MLB.

    This isn’t the first time Castro has tried to “”help”” the United States. After Hurricane Katrina, Castro pledged 1,600 medics and over 83 tons of medical supplies to the U.S., only to have the offer declined. Though the official response was that the U.S. already had enough relief workers, that was obviously not the case. Castro knew that the U.S. would never accept his offer, but he came out looking like a saint.

    By using the media in his favor, Castro is slowly trying to move away from his international image as a ruthless dictator. He picked a prime opportunity – the WBC – to show his “”compassion”” for others in the international media. He might have even known that Bud Selig, the MLB commissioner, is known for badly handling public relations. By the time people fully realized Castro could not have accepted the money, he made MLB look heartless and uncaring, and he looked like someone extending an olive branch – one he knew would never be taken.

    Castro is not
    an anomaly when it comes to dangerous leaders … we can’t equate fanaticism or tyranny with stupidity.

    Castro is not an anomaly when it comes to dangerous leaders using brilliant techniques, and he provides a lesson that we can’t equate fanaticism or tyranny with stupidity. Castro is college-educated, and has intelligently manipulated his people since he was 33 years old. The case is similar for many al-Qaida leaders, almost all of whom are highly educated men.

    The creator of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, Ayman Al-Zawahri, was a practicing physician for years. No matter how good you are with a scalpel, the completion of medical school requires a great deal of intelligence. Many of the officers involved in planning the operations of the terrorist network even studied here in the U.S. In fact, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a former Taliban information officer, is now receiving a first-class education at Yale University.

    Al-Qaida uses remotely activated bombs, planned attacks at separate locations, well-developed Web sites and television propaganda. One look at a terrorist training video and it’s hard to view the network of terror as a ragtag operation.

    Terrorists rely on the fact that many people think they are just a disorganized, irrational group with bombs, and they use that perception to their advantage. Instead of thinking of them as a highly organized, highly educated network, governments see them as mob-mentality-based fanatics with no intellect. That means terrorists have the advantage of being underestimated, a costly mistake.

    Castro, bin Laden and a host of other enemies of the U.S. are motivated, educated and well-trained, but they hide under the blanket of fanaticism or tyranny. Before thinking that acts of “”kindness”” by Castro, or “”random”” acts of violence in Iraq and Afghanistan are just that, look more closely. You will see these are anything but kind or random; they are actually heartless and calculated. Don’t see “”crazy”” as stupid, or “”disjointed”” as irrational – they are counting on that.

    Mike Morefield is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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