President Obama is intent on making nice with one of the most oppressive regimes in modern history. It’s what he wanted to do since he no doubt learned from his professors in college about Dependency Theory and the evils of Yankee imperialism.
Here’s why his move to normalize relations with Cuba is such a mistake.
1. It bails the Cuban regime out right when things were really looking bad.
The Castro brothers had two pressing problems: Their money is running out, and they are going to die soon. Obama’s policy change solves the first problem and can make them feel better about the latter.
As the Washington Post noted in its – and this is incredible – critical editorial against the normalization, Obama has come to the rescue just when the lifelines to the Castros were drying up:
In recent months, the outlook for the Castro regime in Cuba was growing steadily darker. The modest reforms it adopted in recent years to improve abysmal economic conditions had stalled, due to the regime’s refusal to allow Cubans greater freedoms. Worse, the accelerating economic collapse of Venezuela meant that the huge subsidies that have kept the Castros afloat for the past decade were in peril. A growing number of Cubans were demanding basic human rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly.
But now, through tourism, remittances by American Cubans, investment and so forth, the Cuban government, which runs the economy, will receive a desperately needed influx of cash.
And whomever within the oligarchy the Castros hand the reins of power to will now have the money to perpetuate their tyranny-enforced socialist paradise. And American recognition gives them newfound legitimacy to hold power and pass it on.
2. The argument the White House makes is that engagement with a totalitarian regime will help loosen its hold on power and create freedom and democracy. But where, exactly has that worked?
We’ve tried “engagement” with China, Vietnam, and Iran, while the South Koreans have tried it with North Korea. Where is the freedom and democracy in those countries? What we’ve succeeded in doing is propping up regimes that might have fallen by now.
To dust off an old chestnut, did appeasing Hitler work?
3. True, it’s been 50 years with Cuba, but isolating and opposing totalitarian regimes is what works.
Is this White House under the impression that the Soviet Union fell because Pepsi starting selling sodas there? Because of Nixon’s detente? No, it went down because it saw in Ronald Reagan that the United States stood implacably opposed to its oppression and its imperialist aims just as it finally was running out of money. And it took longer than with Cuba – 70 years – but the patience paid off.
Similarly, the downfall of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas in 1990 occurred after they were forced by U.S. pressure to call elections.
4. The reversal on Cuba is a sure sign to our allies and enemies that we lack resolve and are looking to befriend bad actors around the world and trying to nice them into reforming themselves. This is particularly true with respect to Iran. If the surrounding Sunni nations have ever had more incentive to start constructing their own nuclear arsenals to oppose Iran’s inevitable atom bomb, this is it.
5. The U.S. is now in the Deal-for-Hostages business.
Despite the dissimulation coming out of the White House Wednesday, the freedom granted Alan Gross was obviously in exchange for U.S. Cuban intelligence agent prisoners, for diplomatic recognition, or both.
In the latest blow for White House credibility, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest absurdly tried to deny that this was the case, even though both he and President Obama suggested otherwise.
So the President has long sought to make this change, and the chief impediment to his ability to make that change was the unjust detention of Mr. Gross. And because he was released today on humanitarian grounds, because through the work of this administration we were able to secure that release on humanitarian grounds, we removed the impediment to being able to implement some of these policy changes that the President clearly believes are in the best interest of this country, they’re in the best interest of our economy, and they’re in the best interest of our national security . . .
What I’m telling you is that Alan Gross’s release on humanitarian grounds is something that this administration insisted upon. And once that agreement was reached, it opened the door for additional negotiations and additional agreements to be reached. So by removing the impediment of Mr. Gross’s unjust detention, we could engage in a conversation with the Cubans about the spy swap.
While I have been prepared to take additional steps for some time, a major obstacle stood in our way –- the wrongful imprisonment, in Cuba, of a U.S. citizen and USAID sub-contractor Alan Gross for five years.
Sounds like quid pro quo to me. What’s the mystery about it?
Once again, President Obama has shown the world we are weak, naive, and inconsistent. Not only will Cubans suffer because of it, but Americans ultimately will too.