What Is the U.S. Getting for Normalizing Relations with Cuba?

 

It appears that President Obama has decided to normalize diplomatic and trade ties with Cuba. Cuba stands to benefit greatly in terms of investment in tourism, tourism revenue, and sales of cigars and sugar. This boost to the Cuban economy make up for the lost subsidies from its patron, cash-starved Venezuela. This action will serve to stabilize the wobbly rule of the Castro brothers and their inner circle.

It appears that the United States is imposing no conditions on this boon for the Cuban economy and for Cuba’s communist leadership. There has been no hint of a quid pro quo from Cuba in terms of releases of political prisoners, conversion to a market economy, democratization, or Cuba’s political support for America’s many enemies in Latin America.

The Obama administration has decided to give Cuba the biggest prize of all, asking nothing in return, other than the release of one American prisoner.

I would suggest that this action reflects President Obama’s view, which is widely shared by the American left, that Cuba is just a normal country that has been unjustly singled out by past U.S. administrations.

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  1. Herbert Woodbery Member
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    We will have to see how it plays out, investors won’t tolerate confiscatory tax rates. The Cuban people might demand a free market.

    • #1
  2. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    We won’t know for sure until President Obama declares who is on what side of history.

    • #2
  3. Redneck Desi Inactive
    Redneck Desi
    @RedneckDesi

    I for one would like to play Obama in poker… Between the berghdahl deal and this one, US interests are always always secondary.

    • #3
  4. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Yes, our President is an idiot.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure what we gained from Cuba’s poverty. The embargo has been in place my entire life, yet the Castros remain in power after all that time. One might argue that their weak economy kept their military weak, but they were only ever significant as a port host for Russia anyway. It’s not a necessary entry point for terrorists while our border with Mexico is practically non-existent. We can deter another Cuban Missile Crisis the same way Kennedy did: threaten to destroy any major weapon shipments or emplacements.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m young and not living in south Florida, but I need a reminder of what the embargo was supposed to accomplish.

    • #4
  5. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Redneck Desi:I for one would like to play Obama in poker… Between the berghdahl deal and this one, US interests are always always secondary.

    Only if he were playing with taxpayer money

    • #5
  6. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    “Wobbly” regime? I’d say any regime that can keep the same man in power for over 50 years is anything but “wobbly.”

    Not long after we opened trade with China, the Communist leadership all but abandoned the Marxism of Mao and became more capitalist in many respects than us.

    I hope for a free Cuba one day, but maintaining an embargo was not going to lead to that. I think the best we could hope for would be a Pinochet-style gradual introduction of a market economy.

    • #6
  7. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    I’m no expert on Cuba, and I have no ammunition for an argument one way or the other. I just hope it works out.

    However, it strikes me that Russia is suddenly on the ropes. Obama will probably claim credit for that, but I’m more inclined to believe that Russia’s problems are much more caused by the price of oil, which happened in spite of Obama. I can’t help but suspect those two developments are tied together in some way, even if I can’t draw any fine lines.

    Maybe Obama didn’t create the opportunity, but if he can stop being an arrogant fool long enough to take advantage of it, maybe we can make something positive here.

    The middle east is a fiasco, and the Islamic world is lost cause right now. I don’t know where we stand with China. But we have a lot of places to keep an eye on: Iran, Russia, North Korea, and in different ways, India, Pakistan, Africa.

    I wouldn’t mind hearing some opinions from more informed foreign policy experts. Seems as if we’ve been paying so much attention to Obama and the mid-terms,  we forgot that the rest of the world kept on moving.

    • #7
  8. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Herbert Woodbery:We will have to see how it plays out,investors won’t tolerate confiscatory tax rates. The Cuban people might demand a free market.

    Bull plop. The regime doesn’t have to scam the businesses in that way. They control the whole economy. Do you know how their current hotels work? The companies that run them are foreign. Being good westerner they decided they would pay the employees good wages of 10 dollars an hour, but the catch is that they don’t pay the employees directly they pay the government which takes 95% of the money puts it in one pocket and gives the rest as salary to the employees. Further more Cuba has to currencies. one used by foreigners which is pegged to the dollar and one that is internal for its citizens.  In Cuba you only do business with the government, there is no one else. All this commerce nonsense isn’t going to work. Foreign companies will be directly paying or being payed by the Castro regime the Cuban people will be no where near the money or transactions.

    By law the Cuban people are being kept poor. None of that changes even if we open up trade. Their problem isn’t lack of talent or trade opportunities, it is their political system. By doing business with them we are only enabling the regime to survive further and grow richer.

    • #8
  9. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    KC Mulville: Obama will probably claim credit for that, but I’m more inclined to believe that Russia’s problems are much more caused by the price of oil, which happened in spite of Obama. I can’t help but suspect those two developments are tied together in some way, even if I can’t draw any fine lines.

    The issue is whether or not you think that…1 man…determines all things about US foreign policy. Or whether you think the US is actually a country which operates regardless of…1 man…

    I tend to think the latter.

    You think it’s a coincidence that oil prices collapsed just as Russia was cut off from the world’s financial markets through sanctions?

    If you think the former, than it’s kind of hard not to root against your own country whenever there’s a President from the opposite party. Which seems to be exactly what is happening in many “conservative” circles (and exactly what the Left did, to a larger extent during Bush’s terms)

    • #9
  10. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    AIG:

    KC Mulville: Obama will probably claim credit for that, but I’m more inclined to believe that Russia’s problems are much more caused by the price of oil, which happened in spite of Obama. I can’t help but suspect those two developments are tied together in some way, even if I can’t draw any fine lines.

    The issue is whether or not you think that…1 man…determines all things about US foreign policy. Or whether you think the US is actually a country which operates regardless of…1 man…

    I tend to think the latter.

    You think it’s a coincidence that oil prices collapsed just as Russia was cut off from the world’s financial markets through sanctions?

    If you think the former, than it’s kind of hard not to root against your own country whenever there’s a President from the opposite party. Which seems to be exactly what is happening in many “conservative” circles (and exactly what the Left did, to a larger extent during Bush’s terms)

    I am trying to understand this comment and KC Mulville’s, but I have no clue what either of you are trying to convey.

    KC’s comment seems to suggest that the Cuba deal is a victory for Obama, and that Obama is claiming some sort of credit for the monetary difficulties of Russia.

    AIG’s comment seems to suggest some sort of conspiracy to manipulate the oil markets to cause financial difficulties for Russia with a back handed insult against conservatives thrown in for good measure.

    • #10
  11. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Z in MT:

    KC’s comment seems to suggest that the Cuba deal is a victory for Obama, and that Obama is claiming some sort of credit for the monetary difficulties of Russia.

    Can’t speak for AIG- I’m similarly unsure of that. But my comment was based on the White House’s claim that the sanctions against Russia are what triggered Russia’s economic implosion, as this Politico story claims.

    And the big question about Cuba is … why now? Alan Gross has been in jail for a few years, and while I’m sure he’s a respected person, his case has been barely a blip on the headlines. That I know of, nothing much has changed between Cuba and the United States in Obama’s tenure. So what has changed to make this deal attractive to the US?

    Rubio and others are claiming that this is just an example of Obama habitually caving into dictators. But that strikes me as a poor explanation … if that was the only explanation, Obama would have caved years ago. Why now?

    I’m only speculating, but the only other relevant change in the situation that I can see is that Russia (a long time patron for Cuba) has been weakened substantially.

    Note: that’s the only change that I can see. That’s why I welcome people who know more about the “game” to offer opinions.

    • #11
  12. AIG Inactive
    AIG
    @AIG

    Z in MT: AIG’s comment seems to suggest some sort of conspiracy to manipulate the oil markets to cause financial difficulties for Russia with a back handed insult against conservatives thrown in for good measure.

    Conspiracy? No. Intent of policy, yes.

    I need not make any backhanded “insults” here. It’s all straightforward “insults”. When it comes to America’s dealings with other nations, one can either be “for America”, or “against Obama”. Both sides of the political spectrum have a hard time figuring this out. When there’s a Republican president, the Left thinks America can do no right. When there’s a Democratic president, the right thinks America can do no right.

    Even when we “win”, it has to be portrayed as a bad thing. Petty politics requires it.

    • #12
  13. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    I’m roughly of the same opinion of Aaron Miller.  I’ve become ambivalent towards Cuban sanctions.

    I was inclined to leave the sanctions in place on general principle, but I didn’t think think they were hurting Cuba all that much.  Cuba is doing that all on its own.  There are plenty of other bad actors we deal with.

    I wonder if U.S. foreign aid is next.  Cuba can’t depend on either Russia or Venezuela with oil prices the way they are.  But I suppose Obama would have to do that by executive order.  I don’t see Congress funding it.

    Drudge has some links/headlines which I haven’t followed that imply the Vatican is involved.  I prefer the old alliance of Reagan and John Paul II over Obama and Francis.

    • #13
  14. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    The US has been nearly alone in condemning the human rights abuses of the Castro regime.  It’s all butterflies and unicorns down there, as far as the UN is concerned.

    Perhaps if we had kept the Cuban refugees confined to squalid camps for the last 50 years, like the Syrians and Jordanians have done with the Palestinians, then the UN might have condemned Castro; especially if he had committed some really atrocious human rights abuses, like constructing an apartment building in Jerusalem.

    • #14
  15. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Valiuth’s comment gives me pause, but doesn’t change my mind. Even if the wealth from new visitors (which will apparently, by law, exclude tourists) continues to be kicked up to Cuban government officials, there will be more opportunities for planting the seeds of revolution. Of course, supplanting the Castros would be risky for our national security but hopeful for the Cuban people.

    In any case, it will be interesting to see how the President’s plans differ from those of approving Congressmen. For all we know at this point, Castro will make some insulting remark about blacks and Obama will abandon the effort.

    • #15
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