Castros 1, Obama 0

"I can wait."

“I can wait.”

Today, the United States is telling the world that we can be outlasted, even when endurance requires next to nothing from us.

That is the unmistakable message in President Obama’s decision — apropos of absolutely nothing — to begin normalizing relations with a country that has made no substantive changes to merit such a change. Not one.

There’s nothing from Havana on the central issues of democracy, human rights or economics that led Washington to impose the sanctions in the first place. Moscow split up the Soviet Union (the contrast between this and the end of the Cold War is instructive). China embraced some tenets of capitalism, albeit a state-managed model that remains far too restrictive.

Cuba is still ruled harshly by a Castro, half a century after the embargo was put in place.

Havana’s release of one American held prisoner, as happy as that news is for Alan Gross and his family, doesn’t cut it. Not when this is precisely why regimes like Cuba take hostages like Gross, and not when Cuba will receive back three Cuban spies involved in an attack that resulted in four deaths. (The claim that the spy release has nothing to do with Gross’s release is LOLable.)

As for Obama’s argument that our Cuba policy hasn’t led to the Castros’ ouster: I look forward to the day he embraces the same logic for welfare programs that haven’t eliminated poverty, or rising education budgets that haven’t spurred more educational achievement. I would also point out that thawed relations between Cuba and both Europe and Canada haven’t worked out, either. Nor have our overtures to Iran yielded any actual success.

The argument for unilateral trade liberalization is that it benefits consumers at the very least, and in some cases producers. That’s not what’s happening here. The first reason is that trade, except in limited cases, isn’t on the table because Obama needs Congress to do that … although Raul Castro’s recommendation in his own speech today was for Obama to do it by executive action anyway (you can’t make this stuff up). Second, the things that are on the table benefit the regime in Cuba more than ordinary people here or there. Those increased remittances exiled Cubans will be able to send back home? All but bound for the Cuban treasury.

Fidel Castro is 88. Raul Castro is 83. A window for Cubans to move in a different direction was finally approaching. Instead, Obama is handing the regime an opportunity to claim, however shamelessly, a victory to justify their circle’s continued rule. That’s a crying shame, most of all for the Cuban people.

Closing question from the Washington Post’s Charles Lane:

Reader Comments 0

136 comments
lvg
lvg

Hilarious to watch Rubio act like he is representative and child of Cuban immigrants who fled communism and Castro. Parents came here in 1956 to get away from Batista and went back after Castro took over for a while. Typical anchor baby who had every US benefit since birth. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

Looks like I was dead wrong about the North Korea hack


I'm usually wrong once a year so I was due. It does trouble me they have shut the whole thing down.


It takes two for terrorism to work and Sony and the Theatres just gave in


Sad.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@HeadleyLamar I'd have an F22 Raptor drop Ipads preloaded with The Interview right on kim ill kooks palace.


See how he handles that^^.


Unfortunately, we have no president at this time, so all I can do is speculate.

WAW
WAW

Jeb announces and the next day Obama "tears down that wall" with Cuba, aided by the Pope and Canada.  Coincidence?  The fact is that this Chicago politician is not easily bullied.  Personally, I'm very pleased, I had much rather my Hanes underwear be made in Cuba than Vietnam (you guys seem to have no problem with that) so why not some used car exports?

Trefusis
Trefusis

Not so fast, smartypants.  The Beard tried to nuke me in bed when I was a little boy, and I've sort of taken it personally since then.  Moreover I never admired his and Raul's policy of Commit Librarianship, Go To Jail for Life.  It's true that Cubanos are about the coolest persons on the planet but it's their damn fault and no one else's that they cowed to that regime for generations.  It's not about CIA or AID or any of that; it's because the Cubans themselves lacked balls to seize the strings of their own self-determination.  Please don't make them out as victims; they're not victims, they're cowards and failures.  And also, very lovable. 

Trefusis
Trefusis

They'd all have starved had it not been for Soviet sugar supports, which Putin resumed not long ago with reference to nothing really economic.  I have no idea why the younger correspondents here are so ignorant of the fact that Castro's, and Cuba's, reckless conduct brought the world closest to nuclear annihilation than anyone else had reached.  Thank goodness Premier Kruschev and President Kennedy were, despite their difference in years, immensely more mature than President Castro, who damn near ended the planet because, after all, Cuba is so pretty and its people, so nice.  My God, the younger correspondents here have no notion of history. Don't they understand the point that Fidel and Raul still are our President's negotiating partners, and that he has no business talking with them without asking us, all of us, first?  It's as though Barack Obama were raised in another country. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar @Trefusis Well, he did spend five years of his childhood in Indonesia.

Not to mention that "It's as though" usually means, this isn't the way it is, but things wouldn't be any different if it were.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar @Trefusis I don't think that is what he was implying. Maybe i'm wrong but I doubt it ( See North Korea ) Other Presidents have spent time overseas


How many had their nationality brought into question or had to release birth certificates. ?

ByteMe
ByteMe

Hey, Kyle, I wonder if you'll go back and adjust your opinion to include that we also got a very effective spy back from their prison in exchange for 3 of their ineffective ones.  I think the trade was a great one for America.



lvg
lvg

Just wait until all the Repub donors with factories discover they can get cheap labor by outsourcing to Cuba with minimal shipping costs.. Just like Romney and Perdue did in communist China. No wonder the Chamber is in favor of normalizing relations.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Not a big BHO fan here but I heartily applaud this (normalization of relations w/Cuber) move, it will be one of the signature achievements of his administration. Shoulda been done several presidents ago.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Buyer beware, the United States has always had a policy of containment against Russia since the end of WWII and this is no different.  Russia is friends with Cuba and Vladimir Putin and President Obama do not get along.  Do you know that the closest the United States ever came to a nuclear war was over President Kennedy learning that Russian was secretly installing missiles in Cuba?  It was called the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Russia announced in July that it is re-opening a spy base in Cuba right next door to us.  People please study this country's history before you start to make comments on US foreign policy, the President nor the United States Congress do not give a hoot about Cuba or having a relationship with them its all about Russia as it has always been with Cuba.

St3mpy
St3mpy

Who is Kyle Wingfield, and why should I care about his half baked opinion on Cuba, the education system, and social safety nets? 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

US relations have been strained with Cuba ever since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959 and gained the support of the Soviet Union.  My guess is this move by the President has a lot to do with Russian re-opening a spy base right on America's doorsteps and nothing to do with trade or an embargo. As the old saying goes "keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer."

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

We boycott the super small communist country Cuba and do a great amount of business with Big Communist China...Why do we have sanctions against Cuba again? Waste of time, lift the embargo, all the other countries are doing business with them, American people need to stop acting like we are sending a message to small country. For those folks who were in power 60 years grow up!"

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@HeadleyLamar


DirtyBird-Rise-up 1 hour ago

We boycott the super small communist country Cuba and do a great amount of business with Big Communist China...Why do we have sanctions against Cuba again? Waste of time, life the embargo, all the other countries are doing business with them, American people need to stop acting like we are sending a message to small country. For those folks who were in power 60 years grow up!


You stealing from the other blogs now? Or is it a cut n paste coincidence?

Tiberius Constitutionus
Tiberius Constitutionus

@IReportYouWhine @HeadleyLamar Computers have glitches, IReport.  As do Republicans.  For example, the glitch about normalizing relations with Cuba, all the while forgetting about the vastly  more substantial relations with the equally communist (and much more repressive) China.  Can you spell "gotcha"? 

Mick11
Mick11

Nice try kyle but I'm not buying;  even republican jeff flake wants to seize this opportunity.  We can do a lot more for cuba if it is opened up instead of taking in their refugees who will end up in miami or jersey and immediately on the dole...isn't that what cons hate the most???

TicTacs
TicTacs

What next,  Yankees in Atlanta ?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

When Bush was done with Iraq it was safer for AmeRicans than the south side of Chicago was. And isn't that what the liberals are after with their Ferguson type protests? The entire United States to become the southside of Chicago? A place where the law can only be found peering on the scene from cameras mounted in bullet proof enclosures? With little sirens that wail at the criminals as they make their escape? A place where the thugs rule and the law is abused. Kinda like cuba. 


If some evil needs to be done, the democrats are on it.



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine When Bush was done with Iraq it was safer for AmeRicans than the south side of Chicago was.


What is scary is this guy probably actually believes that. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@IReportYouWhine @HeadleyLamar 300 troops die in Chicago, 900 kids die in Chicago. Iraq is much bigger than one part of Chicago is. Do the math.


Your math is severely flawed because you aren't comparing apples to apples.


hint : its about the ratios not raw numbers 


Its ok i dont expect you to get it.