Somebody ought to inform the U.S. Treasury Department that the Cold War is over. The decision to bar a Cuban team from playing next year in the inaugural World Baseball Classic is, in a word, ridiculous.

This editorial page has long maintained that the United Stateshead-in-the-sand policy toward Cuba is counterproductive. If the United States could open up its diplomacy during the Cold War with Russia and China, it could do the same with Cuba - then or now. Some might recall what was called "ping-pong diplomacy" during the Nixon administration, back in the early 1970s.

If the U.S. government really wanted to undermine Fidel Castro's regime in Cuba, it would allow American citizens to travel there, American businesses to operate there and Cubans to come to this country. Instead, our policy is dictated by narrow partisan motives, namely not offending the anti-Castro crowd in Florida.

Besides, some of the best baseball players in the world deserve a chance to display their skills here.