From a USA Today editorial:

If U.S. leaders were to pause and reflect as Fidel Castro has, they, too, would recognize that times have changed. Cuba is no longer the security threat that it was during the Cold War; it's just another failed communist state. The biggest threat now is the potential for waves of economically desperate refugees.

The five-decade trade embargo that was supposed to turn Cubans against Castro is an utter failure. And China model or not, Cuba is doing some of the things that the United States has long asked it to do.

In this lies a potentially transformational opening. Rumors have floated for months that the Obama administration is preparing to relax travel rules and revive people-to-people programs. It should be bolder. It should offer a dramatic initiative that would clear the way to ending the embargo, opening Cuba to Americans and American business.

Fidel Castro isn't the only Cuban who realizes the system is failing. As he fades away, his enterprising countrymen will invent a new system all their own. The only question is whether Americans will be there to help -- or instead lock themselves out, blind to the tide of history.