It is undeniable that the world has long looked to the United States for guidance to maintain peace and prosperity across the globe. It’s a heavy burden and certainly a thankless job, but because of the efforts of American leaders, untold millions have enjoyed a better life and better economic and political stability because of the efforts of America.
This endeavor has, regrettably, demanded a compromise of principle. We make deals with despots to keep bigger despots from power. We encourage the imposition of regimes that may not be egalitarian and share our belief systems in order to suppress more-dangerous governance that threatens the free world and global commerce.
It’s an imperfect system, but one from which millions have benefited.
One plain truth, however, that most-certainly is not one of these ethical gray areas of foreign policy is that our condemnation of the Castro Regime in Cuba must remain fervent and unwavering… No matter how much one might yearn to one day see American shelves stocked with fine Cohibas.
Though, in hindsight, it would have been terrific if John F. Kennedy had not been so weak as to botch the Bay of Pigs operation, we settled on the next best solution for dealing with Cuba: we suppressed their influence in the Western Hemisphere.
Our sanctions did not topple Castro, but they kept communism from spreading. Now, President Obama, evidently recognizing a fellow comrade, has cozied to the despotic regime to “thaw” relations with the fanatically-murderous government.
While many arguments can be approached from many different angles, there is only one clear right and wrong in this discussion: we cannot warm to the despotic regime who has threatened us for over fifty years and which has unleashed suffering upon untold millions.
On Thursday, it became clear that the Republican response to Obama’s weak policy with regards to Cuba is not so cut-and-dry.
2016 presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio sparred on the issue of Cuba during Thursday night’s Republican debate. Rubio, a senator of Cuban heritage, has firmly supported the continuing of sanctions against the communist regime.
Trump, however, indicated that he would be open to making a “good deal” with Cuba.
“We have to make a good deal. I would want to make a good deal. I would want to make a strong, solid, good deal,” Trump said.
Rubio did not hesitate or equivocate; he promptly shot-back,
“I know what a good deal is. Here’s a good deal: Cuba has free elections, Cuba stops putting people in jail for speaking out, Cuba has freedom of the press.”
Trump claimed that he did not agree with Obama’s approach, claiming, “I think I’m somewhere in the middle.” He supported closing-down the recently-reopened embassy in Havana and mainly explained his opposition to any deal with Cuba that would include repaying reparations to the communist regime for the economic effects of the half-century embargo. “We don’t want to get sued after the deal was made,” Trump said.
Rubio pounced and used the opportunity to assume the higher ground on the intellectual battlefield.
“First of all, the embassy’s the former consulate, it’s the same building, so it could just go back to being called a consulate, we don’t have to close it that way,” Rubio noted.
“Secondly, I don’t know where Cuba’s going to sue us, but if they sue us in a court in Miami they’re going to lose,” he assured.
Rubio also blasted the Obama Administration’s handling of Cuba, saying,
“The fact of the matter is that after these changes were made, there are now millions and hundreds of millions of dollars that will flow to the Castro regime.”
“The only thing that has changed as a result of this opening is that now, the Cuban government has more sources of money from which to build out their oppressive apparatus and maintain themselves there permanently,” Rubio said. “And we asked nothing in return.”
Rubio put-forth a sensible plan for urging reform in Cuba from a position of strength, like the U.S. did to help Burma transition to a more stable country. Rubio also added that Burma is far from serving as a perfect place, but highlighted the country as a success that could be repeated in Cuba.
For conservatives, there is much to like about Donald Trump and there is much to dislike about the establishment-backed Rubio. However, in this scenario, it’s clear that Rubio dominated the discussion concerning Cuba and the moral, political and cultural consequences of negotiating with a despotic regime from a place of weakness.