The late William Rusher used to criticize our Cuban embargo because he liked to smoke Cuban cigars, and rightly reasoned, “Well—if we can’t bomb their cities, at least we could burn their crops.” To which I added, if blue jeans helped bring down the Soviet Union, imagine what a boatload of Spandex will do to Castro’s Cuba.
We’ll see how much of this Obama can implement on his own. Much of our Cuban policy is a matter of statute passed by Congress, and while Obama might be violating some parts of the law, this may be another one of those legal no-man’s lands where no member of Congress will have standing to bring an action in federal court.
Not surprisingly there is a lot of blowback against this development coming from . . . the Left! Cultural lefties worry that with normalized relations and trade Cuba will be ruined by American fast food, big league baseball contracts, sitcoms, etc. Another bit of evidence that it is the Left that is the most reactionary and nostalgic faction in the modern world today (“Downton Democrats” as George Will puts it), pining for a romantic vision of egalitarian poverty.
I think the real fear is that Cubans, like so many eastern Europeans, will eventually be very pro-American, and will dish on how awful the Castro years have been, which will deflate the last limp leftist balloon. Who have they got left after Cuba? Venezuela? Argentina? Bolivia? Pffffffttt.
Our friend Stephen Knott notes the situational ethics of Obama on Cuba. Sanctions haven’t worked, we’re told, but when it comes to Iran and Russia, Obama’s position is, “Give sanctions time to work.” Steve also notes this:
Raul Castro said sanctions “caused enormous human and economic damage”
Obama says: “50 years that didn’t work.”
It strikes me that Castro had the more accurate assessment.
P.S. Brian Williams opened with NBC Nightly News last night with a surprising phrase: “Four out of five Americans alive today have never known a free Cuba.” (Emphasis added.) Curious that he didn’t say “Non-Communist Cuba,” or some other euphemism. Someone must have misplaced the Liberal Media Style Book and screwed up.