April 12, 2015 by Chris Kite
It should come as no surprise, but the GOP Presidential candidates are all unhappy about Obama meeting with Raul Castro. I suspect they would find a way to express outrage over Obama somehow meeting with Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan if someone would give them an outlet on which they could express this outrage and pump up their base. But let’s look at the utter hypocrisy of their statements:
“Obama meets with Castro but refused to meet w/ [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu]. Why legitimize a cruel dictator of a repressive regime?”
Yeah, okay. We get it. Republicans are upset that Obama doesn’t want to go to war with Iran over false pretenses. It worked so well in Iraq, it’s amazing they have the nerve to complain. But they do. And they will. I’ve already covered the Iranian deal, but Republicans have long been against diplomacy and for war. It is what they do best (well, actually, it is horrible, but they are very good at rallying their base around war with any country that should not meet with our complete and total satisfaction).
So we want to talk about legitimizing a cruel and repressive regime? Let’s talk about the long standing support the Bush family has had for the rulers of Saudi Arabia. They certainly meet the definition of cruel and repressive. But Saudi Arabia has lots of oil, so the right doesn’t like to upset them. It could hurt the profits of big oil, and about the only thing that is more important to the right than the Military Industrial Complex is big oil. Fortunately, the two go hand in hand!
Jeb’s brother George W Bush just happened to cozy up with Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan. He had people boiled to death. No cruelty there for sure. Enough said!
Mr Rubio had the nerve to say, “Allowing a brutal dictator to attend undermines the future of democracy in the region.” He kind of overlooks past American support for Manuel Noriega of Panama (we were for him before we were against him) by George HW Bush. When Noriega stopped fighting the Sandinistas, we decided we didn’t like him any more and brought him up on drug trafficking charges. But we had a solid history of supporting him before we decided he wasn’t enough of a puppet for out tastes.
We also had no trouble getting behind Augusto Pinochet of Chile in the 1970s. Of course he was big on privatization of lots of industries in Chile, so we were able to overlook his death squads, internments, and torture. Plus we all know the GOP is the pro torture party anyway.
Mr Cruz responded that this was one more step in a “disturbing trend.” I can only assume that Mr Cruz is against any attempts to foster peace and back away from a confrontational and potential military approach to those we don’t agree with. I guess Mr Cruz thinks after 50 years of isolation, we just need to push this isolation for a little longer before it finally starts working. Kind of like trickle down economics!
It is just amazing that they stick by their rhetoric and failed policy approaches even after failure is clearly evident. For 50 years we’ve pushed isolation of Cuba. It hasn’t worked. A Castro is still in power. And our friends and allies are all enjoying normal relations with Cuba. Canadians and Europeans regularly travel to Cuba and pump money into their economy. Do we really think our isolation is going to move them away from Communism? It seems unlikely. In fact, it seems more likely that by introducing some US culture and wealth, Cubans will get a taste of what they’ve been missing and start to rebel against the Castro’s long held belief that Communism is the best approach. Everywhere Communism has been a way of life, this approach has resulted in movement toward more democratic systems. Not 100%, certainly. But it has proven to bend things in the right direction.
Thank you, President Obama, for having the foresight and courage to take steps toward normalizing relations with Cuba.