Good or Bad for the Jews

"Good or Bad for the Jews"

Many years ago, and for many years, I would travel to Morocco to visit uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. Some lived in Tangiers;...

Friday, January 30, 2015

Cuba Relations: Another Obama Fiasco in the Making?

The question mark in the title of this post is probably unnecessary.

I have written before about Obama's Cuba gambit. My argument then was regardless of how you feel about the "embargo" (more on that later) and the current state of USA-Cuba relations, the real question is, "Do you trust Obama to negotiate something in the US interest?"

Sending Team Obama to Cuba is not anything like Kissinger and Nixon to China. You might not have liked Dr. K and "Tricky Dick," but you knew they were tough SOBs, and that when it came to foreign relations they knew what they were doing. Nixon's China move, of course, was a major blow against the Soviet Empire and, as we see in retrospect, the beginning of the end for the USSR and its grand global ambitions. As brilliant on the international scene as he was clumsy on the domestic scene, Nixon drove home the growing schism in and fundamental weakness of the Communist bloc by visiting Beijing and Moscow in February and May, 1972, respectively, and then launching the massive Christmas bombing of North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese got the message: their Russian and Chinese "friends" were eager to cut deals with the US, and the Hanoi regime essentially was on its own. The North Vietnamese sued for peace: yes, my low info lefty friends, the US beat the North Vietnamese contrary to what you hear from universities, the BBC, the hideous MSNBC, or the Hollyweirdos. The Democrats, of course, unable to stand the thought of an American victory, subsequently threw it away some three years later--not unlike what Obama has done in Iraq and is doing in Afghanistan.

So, again, is Obama's Cuba "gambit" anything akin to the Nixon-Kissinger brilliant chess game? Uh, no, no it is not. A little further on we will look at what US "interests" are served by "normalized" relations with Cuba, but before we do that, we ask an even more basic question: can we trust Obama to do the right thing for the United States? While, as stock brokers will tell you, "past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results," it does provide a clue, a hint to what will come, and forms the basis for planning. Would you hire a roofing contractor, for example, who had devastated your neighbors' roofs and left them leaking messes? Despite the contractor's promises to do a good job this time, you most likely would find yourself inclined to look elsewhere.

As we look around the world at the shambles that is today's American foreign policy we have a pretty good indication of what we can expect from Team Obama on Cuba. Team O is The One, after all, that has brought us the current fiasco in North Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East: Remember Libya? Benghazi? Syrian "red lines"? Swapping five terrorists for one Army deserter? Support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? ISIS as the JV? Who can forget Team O's "accomplishments" in Iraq where we now see the jihadis increasingly victorious and the only hope we have to prevent their final triumph is Iran? Yes, Iran: You know, the country that is busily building a nuclear weapon while John Kerry beats up on Israel?

Team O has made a mess of relations with Russia, telegraphing weakness and indecision as Russia pulls an Anschluss on Crimea. Putin has been slowed down not by Obama and his absurd "sanctions," but by rough and tough redneck frackers who have made the USA the world's number one oil producer despite the opposition of Team O--remember, "We can't drill our way to energy independence!" Russia's oil-based economy and government budget have gone into a death spiral because of Texas and North Dakota.

The demented regime in North Korea continues to threaten hellfire and damnation and eagerly awaits Team O's concessions. China is busy bullying its neighbors and building its military power, much of it with technology stolen from or bought in the US and Europe. Team O refuses to approve the easy import of oil from Canada, fighting the Keystone pipeline for years, and souring relations with our neighbor. Australia, probably our number one ally in the world, increasingly feels alone, and wondering whatever happened to its old friend the USA. Instead of serious engagement on dealing with China and jihadis, PM Abbott gets lectures on global warming as the biggest threat facing mankind. It seems, fortunately, that the Aussies are not listening.

Europe, the continent of "has-beens, never-weres, and never-will-bes," is adrift, amok, and amuck in a growing socio-political-economic crisis, with no adult leadership able to restore sanity. Instead of providing leadership in confronting the Islamic terror threatening Western Civilization, Kerry brings a "big hug" and a washed up folk singer to croon to the terrified Europeans, "You've got a friend."

In Latin America, we see similar disaster. Mexico and Central America are awash in drug-fueled violence. South America is circling the drain economically and increasing falling prey to authoritarian leftist "solutions," as we see in Argentina and Uruguay. Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador kick out our Ambassadors and openly support drug trafficking. Former allies such as Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile are trying to put distance between themselves and Team O as quickly as possible.

The most "successful" Team O policy in Latin America? Operation Fast and Furious: Team O "successfully" managed to fuel the false story about violence in Mexico being caused by US gun sales, "successfully" managed to "prove" it by declaring a covert war on the people of Mexico by secretly selling thousands of guns to some of the most vicious cartels on earth, getting hundreds of innocent Mexicans and at least two US federal agents murdered, and blaming it on law-abiding gun stores in the US--oh, yes, and "successfully" stonewalling Congressional investigators and getting the echo-chamber media to ignore the whole thing.

That, my friends, is The Team now dealing with the Castro brothers--and I haven't even gotten into the domestic side of things where Team O has a record of "successes" to rival its foreign "successes."

Now we return to Cuba. From a US national interest perspective (Horrors!) whether we have good or bad relations with the decrepit Castro regime is irrelevant. It means nothing today. The Soviet Empire that the Castros so assiduously served is gone. For all its bluff and bluster, Putin's Russia is no substitute for the USSR. In the years since the death of the Soviet bloc, the Castro regime has managed to keep power by brutal repression and the largesse of Hugo Chavez's corrupt regime in Caracas. Now even Dear Friend Chavez is gone, and Venezuela, under the one-time bus driver and street thug Maduro, has reached a state of near economic collapse--thanks, again, to US fracking and the inevitable consequences of socialist governance.

We see, therefore, that Castroite Cuba needs good relations with the United States. That bears repeating: Castroite Cuba needs good relations with the United States. The United States, however, does not need good relations with Castroite Cuba. It does not matter at all to our core national interests. Not one bit.

It is Castro's Cuba that should be begging for "normalization" of relations. In Team Obama's world, however, that is not the case: the USA chases after the sibling dictators. Cubans are some of the smartest and most talented people on earth. There is something--don't know what it is, but wish I could get a can or two of it--about Cuban culture, even under Communists, that produces people with brilliant strategic minds. In all my dealings with Cubans, both friendlies and hostiles, I have never ceased to be amazed at how they see several moves ahead; keeping up is no mean feat. These are very smart and talented people. The Castros,furthermore, have had decades of watching American politics and seeing American presidents come and go. Fidel took power, let us remember, when Eisenhower was still our President. The brothers have an excellent intelligence service and other sources to keep them fully apprised of doings in the North. They know us much better than we know them.

It makes no sense from the US perspective to get into protracted negotiations with the Castros on "normalizing" relations. At most, we should lay down our two or three requirements that the Castros must do, leave our phone number, and walk away. But, no. Team O is allowing the United States to get sucked into the Castro world of endless talks, demands, posturing, and browbeating. It is the Castro regime making demands on the USA, and the USA making concessions, e.g., freeing up dollars for Cuba. The Castros are masters at negotiations and have learned to drive wedges into opponents. We see Senators going to Cuba trying to strike trade deals, for example, and to eliminate travel restrictions without getting anything in return.

The Castros "demand" an end to all trade restrictions--which in Castro talk means to get goods on credit. Despite the so-called embargo, the US is Cuba's third or fourth largest trading partner (depends on the year examined.) We sell a considerable amount of food, medicine, vitamins, and medical equipment to Cuba. The Castro regime, however, has to pay up-front for the goods. No credit. The US is Cuba's only trading partner with which Cuba has no running tab. In other words, they want us now to provide stuff in exchange for a promise to pay . . . and they do not have a good track record of paying. As do all lefties, they want "free stuff." The Castroites are now also demanding the closing of Guantanamo Naval base and its return as a condition for "normalizing" relations. For now, the US has rejected the Guantanamo demand, but wait, I tell you, wait.

The brothers Castro understand something very important about our negotiators. One, the State Department is obsessed with reaching "successful" deals. People get promoted and get juicy assignments for bringing home a deal. Doesn't have to be a good one. Two, the rush by the US to "normalize" relations is an attempt by Obama to leave a legacy to his leftist fan base. This is something Obama wants, regardless of whether the USA needs it. The timeline is working against the US. Obama wants a deal before he leaves office. The Castros will squeeze him for all he can give before they agree to "normalize."

I was wrong: the question mark in the title of this post is definitely unnecessary.


  1. This Obama-Cuba thing is completely asinine. I see it exactly the same way. Obama has a *need* to impress the rabid left. I think he's an intelligent person, just horribly mis-educated on pretty much everything of importance to the US, IMO. So he's shied away from the lefty stupid-in-the-most-enormous-way policies that he was nominated to perform, and instead just hemmed and hawed his way through 6 years of disastrous foreign policy. I imagine his internal dialogue as:

    "Oh.. Venezuela is dedicated to our revolution.. I should embrace them and try to bring our revolution stateside... oh.. but my advisers tell me I'll be impeached... okay.. I'll just see what I can do to help Chavez and Castro out on the down-low.. like stop that pipeline.."

    As Hillary said (and I hate having to take a quote from her): "'Don't do stupid @#$%.' is not a foreign policy"

    - reader #1482

  2. But but but Diplomad.

    Free Community College!


  3. So, we sell medicine and medical equipment to Cuba? I thought that their medical system was light years ahead of ours [sarc].

    BTW, I will demur about how Henry K pulled a coup by driving the Soviets and Chinese Communists apart. Both continued to back Hanoi to the hilt; we got nothing on reining in Kim Ilsung's regime in North Korea, both continued to back Falastin terrorism in the Middle East and the destabilization of pro-American regimes in Africa and Latin America. If Beijing was less active, it was only because of their relative lack of resources. Let's not forget the drastic undercutting of Taiwan, which had been a good ally, and which is now politically torn between cutting the best possible deal with Beijing (the pan-Blues) and the [utterly unrealistic] hope that the USA will be nicer to a Taiwan that cuts all its connection to the Republic of China.

    Never forget that the Sino-Soviet split occurred because Lao Mao believed Khruschev's de-Stalinization represented an unpardonable violation of filial piety. Further, Beijing was extremely bitter and resentful that Moscow was succeeding in gaining the allegiance of revolutionary regimes throughout the 1960's and '70's. As for Moscow, their belief in their divine--oops, historically necessary--right to lead the Communist movement (which was indeed international, insofar as any imperial venture is) prepared them to think the worst of Beijing.

    There is a part of me that thinks a wiser course would've been to waffle (like that female ambassador with Sodom Insane over Kuwait) when Brezhnev suggested a pre-emptive stirke on China's nuclear facilities in 1969. That would've been war between the Communist giants fought in the Eurasian heartland far from American strategic interests (at least at that time), with the main casualties being the Communist giants themselves, and probably the Marxist ideology as well. Beijing, never forget, always hoped to see a war between us and the Soviets.

    Further, in pushing cooperation between the Mao-Hua-Deng regime, Kissinger and Nixon set in motion a set of policies in successive administrations that gave away America's economy to a country where Stalin is still an inspirational figure in official circles; and where discussion of a non-Communist political party is forbidden, but the possibility of all Asia and the Americas (on the grounds that the Indigenous peoples came from Asia and have straight black hair) ultimately being absorbed by China can be published by a respectable and officially supported think-tank.

    Make no mistake, I am "pro-China" in that I have much respect and affection for much in China's culture. A China and an America which both enforced honorable human rights regimes and had governments that respected limits on the state's power over the citizen would be an all-but-invincible force for a peaceful and equitable world should they institute wide-ranging cooperation. I don't even have a problem with Chinese immigration (it's in my own family). But I simply have next to no trust in a regime that insists on remaining a spiritual colony of 19th century Germany--down to the flitting between insane socialism and jackboot nationalism.

    1. I believe there's still a cultural enlightenment that needs to occur in China.
      That would go hand in hand with a chinese government dedicated to real human rights, and the adoption of liberal (not Liberal) democracy.
      I personally think a certain religion could spread like wildfire there, bringing a new awareness to the culture, but I accept some personal bias.

      - reader #1482

    2. A "certain religion" is already spreading like wildfire there, nescafe?

    3. That "certain religion" is right! I'll even bet it can spread without the point of a knife or gun.

    4. #1482, Michael Adams, and whitewall: I suspect I know the religion you're talking about, and observed a few things about its growth and spread in Mainland China while serving as a consular officer in Guangzhou.

  4. Regarding "our president", isn't there some point where malfeasance, high crimes and misdemeanors come into play? Maybe even treason?

  5. It's an interesting discussion about whether Putin is creating a nightmare for himself with Ukrainian nationalism and a "Viking Revival."


    it will all be equal


  7. You list many, many examples of failures.

    However, if you were a Communist-Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer, these would all be successes.

    There, its fixed.

    1. heh... it truly is all a matter of perspective.
      Millions persecuted and executed in satanism is "the most awesome sacrifice for our future socialist nirvana... gotta crack those eggs to make omlettes, right?"
      Oops.. meant stalinism, not satanism... really

      - reader #1482

  8. yeah don't worry. Nixon had Prof Kissinger but obama has ben rhodes. He may have the appearance of a chicken farmer, but he has obviously leveraged his degree in creative writing into a sweet gig in the upper echelons of diplomacy and national security. Yes we are in good hands.

    1. ...and don't forget they have James Taylor. If all else fails, then Jesse Colin Young. I'll bet these "ambassadors" could fly right to Cuba. For the rest of, flying near Cuba will always call for a series of sharp vectors as if your life depended on it.