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President Obama Right to Call for Trade with Cuba: Half Century of Failed Embargo Is Enough

December 18, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

President Barack Obama used negotiations over bringing home a couple of imprisoned Americans as an opportunity to refashion the entire U.S.-Cuba relationship. He’s aiming to reopen the embassy, relax trade and travel restrictions, and improve communication systems.

Of course, sustained caterwauling began immediately from the usual suspects, hardline Cuban-Americans, Republican neocons and uber-hawks, and obsessive Obama-haters. The president wasn’t just aiding the Castros. He was hurting America, they claimed.

For instance, potential 2016 presidential contender Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida declared: “Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office. As a result, America will be less safe as a result.”

It’s an astoundingly silly claim. If Sen. Rubio hasn’t noticed, America has engaged in years of on-and-off discussions with North Korea’s Kim dynasty stretching back to the Clinton administration. Under President Obama Washington has been negotiating with Iran’s government for months: most people recognize that a diplomatic settlement, no matter how difficult to achieve, would be better than war. And it’s hard to fathom exactly how the national wreck known as Venezuela could hurt the U.S.

Yet Rubio and others charge the administration with appeasement and even surrender.All because the president is proposing to treat Cuba like the U.S., under Republican as well as Democratic administrations, treats China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and a host of other repressive states. President Obama suggests that government officials talk to one another. And that peoples visit and trade with one another. Nothing more.

Republicans once attempted to present themselves as the Daddy Party, the serious folks who got things done and accepted the world as it was, rather than treated it as they wished it to be. They set priorities and made tough choices. They adapted their approach as circumstances warranted. And they adopted policies which actually achieved what the stated objectives.

Well, no longer, if ever. And certainly not in Cuba today.

If conservative Republicans believe in recognizing reality and getting results, as they claim, they should back trade and engagement with Cuba.”

More than a half century ago Fidel Castro took power in Havana. In the midst of the Cold War the Kennedy administration understandably feared that Cuba would serve as an advanced base for the Soviet Union, as evidenced by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Moreover, Soviet aid …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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