Thursday, December 18, 2014

Only I can run but I can't walk

All night I tried and tried
I could not master the Cuban Slide

So we're going to normalize relations with Cuba, apparently. It's in all the papers:
The United States and Cuba ended more than a half-century of enmity Wednesday, announcing that they would reestablish diplomatic relations and begin dismantling the last pillar of the Cold War.

The historic move, following 18 months of secret negotiations and finally made possible by Cuba’s release of detained U.S. aid contractor Alan Gross, fulfilled one of President Obama’s key second-term goals.
Why normalizing relations with the Castros would be a key goal is puzzling, but we'll set it aside. The invaluable John Hayward has some fun with the reaction:
One consequence of the Cuba deal that Obama might not have gamed out all the way is the incandescent rise of Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio, who instantly emerged as his leading critic, at least temporarily eclipsing fellow Floridian Jeb Bush’s declaration of consideration of the possibility of a presidential run.  Bush isn’t happy about normalization either, but his mild statement of protest – “I don’t think we should be negotiating with a repressive regime to make changes in our relationship” – was drowned out by the thunder of Rubio’s thermonuclear eruption.  Rubio is so utterly beside himself that he appears to have replicated, appearing simultaneously on every media outlet.  He might be able to serve as his own running mate on the 2016 presidential ticket.
A few thoughts:

  • The timing is, shall we say, interesting, to say the least. In recent years, Cuba's primary benefactors have been such key U.S. allies as Russia, Venezuela and Iran. These countries, particularly Venezuela, have been able to help the fellas out because they are all oil producing countries. Thing is, oil prices are way down right now and maintaining Fidel and Raul Castro had to be a drain on the ol' finances. So that's a little curious.
  • The Castros aren't likely to change their ways, but apparently that concern doesn't matter.
  • Apparently the agreement was brokered by the Canadians and Pope Francis. I'll be curious to see what the Pope's role was and what the Vatican hopes to accomplish. 
Meanwhile, there are a few little details that deserve some attention, especially the five Cuban spies who are going back to Cuba in exchange for Alan Gross. Back to Hayward:
Ah, yes, the small matter of the Cuban Five, whose story the U.S. media seems completely uninterested in telling, because it makes Barack Obama look just awful.  They were part of a Castro terrorist network whose targets also included the U.S. Southern Command.  They helped Barack Obama’s wonderful new Partners in Peace shoot down two unarmed Brothers to the Rescue planes in 1996.  No word on whether the humanitarian pilots had their hands up in the “Don’t shoot!” position when Cuban ordnance hit their planes.  Don’t expect the media to pay much attention to what their families think about the Cuba deal; they matter about as much as people who got rooked by ObamaCare.
We don't know how normalized relations will change Cuba, other than getting some newer vehicles on the road. The Castros are old men -- Fidel is pushing 90 and is rarely seen any more; Raul is well into his 80s. I would hope that some day Cuba Libre won't just be the name of a mixed drink, but there's reason for skepticism.


Bike Bubba said...

I hope Brad is right about people in Cuba seeing the rest of the world for the first time (hey, why not sneak radios in there so they can listen to the world?), but I was just appalled at the so-called "journalism" I heard on this topic last night. Nobody was asking obvious questions like "is it really OK there, seeing that 10% of the people fled with the risk of being killed for doing so?". Just appalling lack of curiosity.

R.A. Crankbait said...

"Of course the embargo is stupid. It gives Castro an excuse for everything that's wrong with his rat-bag society. And free enterprise is supposed to be an antidote to socialism. We shouldn't forbid American companies from doing business with Cuba, we should force them to do so. Bring them ashore with Marines if necessary. Although I guess we've already tried that."

- P.J. O'Rourke, from "Eat the Rich"

R.A. Crankbait said...

Free enterprise is the antidote to socialism, which is why it is officially discouraged in the U.S. by the government.