The deal brokered to put an end to the US embargo against Cuba and “normalize” diplomatic relations is, at best, controversial. No one can tell for sure who will profit from it, why it was done, why it was done now, and how long it will be before we can aggressively import cigars and classic automobiles.
What remains more important than that, however, is how the deal was brokered, what we got in it, and whether any part of the deal is ultimately fair to the United States, which has spent half a century building up the embargo in order to crush the Communist regime (which responded, mostly, but crushing it’s own people). In return for no longer pretending Cuba doesn’t exist except when we need to issue Beyonce a travel visa, which is everything Cuba’s been asking for, we get a political prisoner whose name Barack Obama probably didn’t even know before November. It seems like a dream come true for the Castros (zombie and not-zombie alike) and bit of a rough deal for anyone who spent the last fifty years or so hiding out from them.
Marco Rubio, the only 2016 Presidential nominee with enough experience in the area, literally, weighed in this morning, calling Barack Obama the worst hostage negotiator since Jimmy Carter. Frankly, that’s probably being kind.
The good news is, Congress is still a last line of defense, as they have to both approve funding for an embassy in Havana and vote to lift the trade embargo. One one hand, this is comforting, because the incoming Congress will be led by Republicans and will, perhaps, think more critically about the idea of opening up American-Cuban relations, after all, there are both pros and cons. On the other hand, since the Castros themselves will be the ones who benefit most from the deal, it is entirely possible Congressional inaction will force the President to appease his newfound Cuban friends by doing what they would like him to do: lift the embargo by executive fiat. Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit notes that it’s entirely possible Obama’s already agreed to this, so there’s lots to look forward to.
Obviously, there are benefits and concerns with opening Cuba. The biggest benefit may be that the people of Cuba will be opened to Western ideas and, in most cases, Western money, which could go a long way towards improving their individual situations. Since we never managed to kill Fidel Castro by plying him with liquor and Playboy bunnies until he choked on his own vomit in his mansion’s 24-Karat gold bathtub,* it’s about all we can hope for. On the other hand, they’re still Communists, and beloved Communists at that. Even as Hollywood cowers from a ridiculous threat from North Korea, and entertainers cancel their public appearances lest they fall prey to a regime that can’t even grow potatos correctly, they’re greeting the opportunity to commune directly with Fidel Castro with open arms.
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