Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A reader asks...

A reader asks ... what I think about Obama's trip to Cuba.  From the wording of the question, it's obvious the reader thinks I will be appalled.

I am not appalled by the idea of normalizing relations with Cuba, dropping the embargo (which Obama can't do on his own; he needs the Congress for that) , and encouraging business to invest there (assuming the Cuban government changes their policies to allow it).  In fact I support these ideas, as it's been clear for 30 years or so that the 50+ years of Cuban embargo and isolation have been a complete failure in terms of their original goals (bringing the Cuban government to its knees).  It seems at least worth trying a different approach, especially when that different approach will bring at least a little more prosperity to the Cuban people.  It's also possible that it will bring changes in the authoritarian government.


I am appalled by the way that Obama has gone about it.  The optics of that portrait of him saluting in front of the Che Guevara mural are just horrible.  He's apparently obtained very little in the way of concessions or commitments from the Cubans.  He's allowed himself to be used by Raul Castro in a way that makes the U.S. seem like the supplicant.  He's managed to take an opportunity for America to shine and turn it into a moment of American shame.

But nevertheless I'm glad to see some movement on this front. 

Now if we could just get the U.N. out of the refugee business, we'd really be making some progress!

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