The Clinton administration's policy toward Cuba needs to be placed in a historical and political context in order to be properly evaluated. Liberal and conservative commentators have seized on particular policies at different moments, concluding that Clinton is "opening up" relations with Cuba or that the administration is "caving in" to the right-wing Cuban-American lobby. Others insist that the White House has no policy, that it wavers according to electoral calculations ("winning Florida" in 1996) or to short term pressures from Cuban lobbyists. The argument made here is that Clinton has a policy that is consistent in its general outlines with both his global and domestic policies, even as his tactical moves vary from circumstance to circumstance. In this perspective, the important point is the overall historical and political context in which Clinton's Cuba policy takes place and the political dynamics that it unleashes. The critical issues are to identify and evaluate the major policies undertaken as they affect the Cuban economy and the U.S. domestic political climate.