“But we do business with other repressive regimes.”
Hm, I’m aware.
a) The “America might as well trade with Cuba because we do with X, Y, Z” is simply hogwash. Do eight wrongs make a right? Also:
– Is a single ONE of those nations in the Western Hemisphere? No. (Hard truth: we do care more about what happens in, say, England, than in Tibet. Sorry.)
– Do we have strong cultural and historical ties with any of those nations, dating back over 200 years? No.
– Did any of those nations confiscate over $1 billion dollars in US property at the time, done by the very same regime/family in power now? No.
b) More importantly, though, we’re bound by reality. Are some of our oil-supplier partners not exactly good guys? Sure. But our economic realities prevent us from ignoring that market. Ditto with China. Cuba, however, we can realistically shun.
c) Speaking of China (which anti-embargo proponents love to bring up, thinking it’s their pièce de résistance), China is not a fully Communist model in its economic approach. Unlike Cuba, a surprising amount of private enterprise and ownership is allowed. And, a surprising amount of the wages paid to factory workers, for instance, end up in the workers’ pockets. Meanwhile, Cuba has been busy passing legislation this year (no doubt in anticipation of the Obama-deal) dictating the government will keep over 90% of a worker’s wages derived from a foreign company. In any event, thanks to this business, the Chinese government is now the most well-funded tyrannical regime in history. Is that something we want to do again? Just askin’…
On the China issue, Noah Rothman points out,
First, as The Federalist’s Sean Davis pointed out, the parallels between the extension of diplomatic relations to Cuba and similar overtures toward China and Vietnam are misguided. The American interest in “opening” China was primarily political; exacerbate Sino-Soviet tensions, bifurcate the communist world, and provide America with a freer hand to prosecute the Vietnam War.
China under Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping engaged in dramatic market-oriented economic reforms in the 1970s, and there was no “normalization” of relations between Beijing and Washington until 1979 – well after Kissinger and then Nixon had famously visited the reclusive communist giant in 1971 and 1972 respectively. Reforms first, normalization second.
Moreover, the suggestion that the opening of bilateral diplomatic ties and business relations between America and China helped to transform the People’s Republic into a human rights paragon overnight is complicated by the 1989 massacre of peaceful pro-Democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. Even today, despite a booming and markedly capitalist economy, China remains one of the world’s leading human rights abusers.
No, Cuba is not China.
No, you can’t have free markets without free peoples.
No, objections to Obama’s “normalization” are not caused by our “outdated Cold War perspective”.
Yes, those who oppose the embargo were vociferous about South Africa’s apartheid, even when Cuba’s communist regime is blatantly racist, and practices a de facto apartheid medical system.
But, as A.J. is aware, when it comes to Cuba, you can’t cure stupid.
Parting question, has anyone found the list of the 53 political prisoners that were supposed to be released yet? I’m still looking.