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November 05, 2010

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For an alternative Republican approach, here's Steve Clemons:
"On a personal note, I am happy that Republican Jeff Flake won in Arizona. I chatted with Dick Armey last night about the Pacific Island-loving, hunky Congressman -- and we may try another push getting him on the House Appropriations Committee. Flake is one of the sensible Members who believes that the American right to travel is a human right and that the government ought not to interfere as it has in blocking travel to Cuba."

Nor does it make any principled sense to have warm relations with Communist regimes in China and Vietnam, while applying a glaring double standard to Cuba.

Whoa whoa whoa! All Vietnam did was kill more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers in a useless war, and China's got people willing to work for pennies a day (or less!). What has Cuba accomplished in the past or offer us these days? Sure, it's got some nice beaches, but that just proves it's a subsidiary of the "bi-coastal elite" and deserves what it gets.

Castro’s most ferocious opponents here in the U.S. keep doing what they can to help keep Cuba poor and Castro in power.

As always, the enemy of the radical is the moderate, to the point of tacitly cooperating or enabling radicals on the other side.

Thanks for this.
Since the Commies fell (and the anti-knowledge right gained ascendancy) most Americans don't think about foreign affairs/foreign policy at all, or if they do its in the usual black, white and wrong terms that Larison correctly excoriates.

I mean, foreign policy is HARD. Thinking about the world in relation to the US is HARD. Thinking about changing anything is HARD. "I can see Russia from my house" is pretty much all most of us need to know, while the metaphorical world gets smaller and smaller and...

Well, other than simply having something (else) to crow over in the wake of the election, why should Diehl - or anybody else, for that matter - give a flying what the "Latin Left" thinks or does? Unless one thinks that another Bay of Pigs is in the offing, there's not much we can do to affect Castro, Chavez, Morales, or really any Latin American regime: and as for Cuba, it's pretty much a win-win for the Communist government: there's no danger of direct "action" against them, and they have been able to muddle through without US relations for 50 years now: so not much downside.

Of course, tough-talking hard-line rhetoric will play well in the usual venues, and keep Republican electoral prospects up, which is all that they care about, so what can one do?

I've said this before, but the eternal grudges against Iran and Cuba seem to derive entirely from anger at their expropriation of property belonging to multinationals.

You can be an authoritarian dictatorship, you can murder your own people with death squads, you can subjugate women, and we'll declare it's none of our business. But don't interfere with the property rights of international corporations or you'll be ostracized until the end of time.

@Jacob Davies
But don't interfere with the property rights of international corporations or you'll be ostracized until the end of time.

Excellent point.

"...expropriation of property belonging to multinationals."

To be precise, official US animus towards Cuba also has more than a little to do with the Castro regime's expropriation of property belonging to Cubans: basically, any Cuban who had any: with large numbers of the thus dispossessed now being American residents/citizens/voters - and who view vengeance restitution for their losses as the sine qua non of US/Cuban "policy".

Multinational corporations have long since written off their losses of 1960: the Cuban exiles (and, to a lesser degree, their descendants) not so much...

But if the expropriation goes unpunished forever, others could be tempted to do the same. Let's call it (eminent) domain theory. ;-)

This Makes Sense How?

Because our half-century-long policy of denying Cuba our love, friendship, and money in the hopes of inspiring the Cuban people to throw Castro out has been such a rousing success so far.

Just like it's been a success every other place we've employed it.

Really, why stop now?

Plus, they're making Cohibas in the DR now, so screw Cuba.

The surge of the Latin left over the past decade or so has brought actual independence to South America (with the somewhat exception of Colombia, which receives massive amounts of US military and logistical aid).

That has even increased the degree of South America's dismissal of the US 'embargo,' and in particular Venezuela, who doesn't give a flying fuck about the US' claims.

For example, Venezuela will this year likely complete an undersea direct high speed communications line system to Cuba (internet and phone, for example), which currently Cuba can access only via expensive and spotty satellite connections to Europe and other distant locales.

In addition, nations of the EU are pursuing closer trade relations as well.

The surge of the Latin left over the past decade or so has brought actual independence to South America

This is basically right, in my view, and it's this independence that Washington (most definitely including the Obama admin.) interprets as 'adversarial'. The whole truth is more nuanced than that, but essentially, that's it. Washington doesn't like an autonomous LatAm. And it's hardly just Chavez.

As for the Cuba stuff, Larison is right, of course, but I do wonder how much longer clowns like Rubio and the congresswoman will be able to extract power from this sort of flattery. I don't think the Miami Cuban bloc is as solid as it once was, and will surely get progressively less so over time.

What concerns me is that by the time the US revises this idiotic policy it will no longer matter all that much anyway. Actually, that scenario - too little too late - playing out in many other contexts worries me. Our political system is so absurdly sclerotic - IMO, the correct word is 'corrupt' - that you can easily imagine many different contexts in which what the US finally gets around to doing or not doing proves not to matter so much. Too bad that doesn't include climate change..

Marco Rubio's views on US relations with Cuba given here, in an interview.

Notable:

HE: So I take it you mean the recognition of the end of the embargo has to come with the end of the Castro brothers?

Rubio: Not only the end of the Castro brothers, but also political reform in the return of political freedom to the people of Cuba. The embargo gives us leverage to negotiate that. Cuba trades with every other country in the world. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. embargo is not the reason their economy is failing. Their economy is failing because they’ve embraced a combination of socialism and incompetence, which may be an oxymoron because they’re both the same thing. The point being that I would love for the United States to have a close economic relationship with a free Cuba. I think we’re going to see that very soon, God willing.

Just for conversation fodder.

The embargo gives us leverage to negotiate [Rubio's conception of freedom for Cuba]. Cuba trades with every other country in the world. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. embargo is not the reason their economy is failing.

Why don't politicians at least flush, if not blush, when they say stuff like this? Plausible lies are one thing, but this is just embarrassing.

Castro’s most ferocious opponents here in the U.S. keep doing what they can to help keep Cuba poor

This was a Good Thing in the minds of the Old Right (and might still be -- hoe many of the anti-Castro crowd still smoke illegal Cuban cigars?). They longed for the days of brothels and plantations. I'm not so sure the New Right is much different.

Our government tells us
We're doing all we can
Constructive engagement is
Barack Obama's plan
Meanwhile people are dying
And giving up hope
This quiet diplomacy
Ain't nothing but a joke

I, I, I ain't gonna play Sun City
I, I, I ain't gonna play Sun City

Are you being intentionally obtuse?
The whole point of this saber-rattling is to empower authoritarian hard-liners. Authoritarian hard-liners like Rubio, Ros-Lehtinen, and co. Just as saber-rattling towards Iran is intended to empower hard-liners like Cheney etc.
If Castro didn't exist, the far right would have to invent him. (Waging the good fight for corporate profits and CEO freedom is kind of a bonus).

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. embargo is not the reason their economy is failing. Their economy is failing because they’ve embraced a combination of socialism and incompetence

Rubio's got a point, but that doesn't mean our policy toward Cuba isn't stupid. Or, more specifically, non-productive - not really achieving anything useful or of value.

We have open relations with countries who are far worse, by any and every metric you care to choose, than Cuba. Human rights, civil rights, press freedom, economic freedom, you name it. We are great buddies with lots of countries that make Cuba look like a model of personal liberty and open governance.

Our policy toward Cuba is a holdover from Cold War days, and as far as I can tell, it achieves no useful purpose. Maybe it never did. But it sure doesn't now.

y81: Yeah, Bush's diplomacy was much better. No one getting killed, Cuba ousted Castro, Iran relations thawed, etc.

We have open relations with countries who are far worse, by any and every metric you care to choose, than Cuba.

We lavish billions of dollars in aid on countries who are far worse, by any and every metric you care to choose, than Cuba!

Their economy is failing because they’ve embraced a combination of socialism and incompetence, which may be an oxymoron because they’re both the same thing.

Um, no, that would be the opposite of an oxymoron. If you're going to migrate to this country, at least learn to speak the language.

Yeah, he also failed in the redundancy department of redundancy.

"both the same thing"

All tautologies are tautologies.

Aren't those immigrants silly? How I love to jeer and laugh when they commit an solecism. My superior English skills prove my intellectual superiority to Cubans! That's what it means to be a man (or woman) of the left.

All tautologies are tautologies.

Captain Obvious is obvious!

Aren't those immigrants silly? How I love to jeer and laugh when they commit an solecism. My superior English skills prove my intellectual superiority to Cubans! That's what it means to be a man (or woman) of the left.

Oh fercrissakes, he was being ironic because of the anti-immigration/English only attitudes on the Right.

Get over yourself.


Aren't those immigrants silly?

Dude, what are you talking about? Rubio was born in this country! Anyone with a Spanish surname must be an immigrant? That's what it means to be a man (or woman, or hideous genderless creature) of the right


I wouldn't bet on the Cuban exiles weakening in the forseeable future if the German example is any indication. The grudge must be hereditary or we would not have 3rd generation exiles from Silesia etc. that still have influence in Southern Germany and are still able to occasionally poison the climate between Germany and Poland (and, although more rarely, the Czech Republic).
Ironically the chairman of their organisation for many years was not actually born in Silesia but Ceylon. It has btw been a running joke for decades that the worst thing that could happen to them was an end to the Cold War and a peace treaty with Poland allowing them to return to their 'home' (same as an overturned Roe v. Wade would be a desaster for the REligious Right).

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