I can only list, in order of magnitude, three: 1) Republican hawks, 2) condescending Leftists, and 3) anti-Americans abroad.
In some ways none of this is surprising. All three of these factions hate each other, mostly because they are the least libertarian factions in the world (familiarity breeds contempt, it is often said).
Republican hawks are first on my list because they are the most dangerous. This is a deeply reactionary faction that does not care one iota about the national interest. It is a vulgar mob that has no need for nuance or depth. One of the state of Florida’s Senators, Marco Rubio, exemplifies this isolationist faction. This is demagoguery at its finest. It also goes a long way toward explaining why I will never, ever be a Republican, despite the honest efforts of courageous statesmen like Ron and Rand Paul.
Condescending Leftists are second because of their reactions to the beginnings of the end of a vicious, self-defeating embargo: Decrying the fact that Starbucks and McDonald’s will soon be forcing poor, naive Cubans into becoming customers with actual choices in an actual marketplace. According to the worldview of these Leftists: the lives of Cubans have been better than those of Westerners because of its simplicity (this simplicity was brought about, of course, by the heavy-handed tactics of the Castro dictatorship, but somehow this always fails to make the final cut of the condescending Leftist’s narrative). Capitalism will put an end to the simple lives of the Cuban people, and this is a bad thing for both the world and the Cubans themselves.
Embarrassing and disgusting.
The last faction on my list, anti-Americans abroad, have taken the Obama administration’s decision to reach out to Cuba as an excuse to lie to domestic factions everywhere. They have seized upon the fact that the US sometimes pursues bad policies, and have turned it into a soapbox preaching session for all of the gullible schoolboys and girls in the world who instinctively hate the world’s liberal hegemon. What is lost (or, more likely, ignored) in these preachers’ message is the fact that the US is changing its bad policy. The same cannot be said for the tired tropes wielded by aging anti-Americans in the name of some variant of socialist (whether national or international) revolution.
Some notes in the margins:
- Cuba will not become free or (or) democratic overnight.
- It will not become wealthy overnight, either. In fact, there is bound to be a whole lot of cronyism in the near future, as Castro’s butchers and henchmen gobble up much of the wealth that will inevitably flood Cuba’s markets. Remittances will likely increase as well, which means that the cronysim of Castro’s henchmen will be offset by the influx of cash from the US. This, in turn, means that the Castro dictatorship is likely to be around for a lot longer than anticipated.
Peggy Noonan’s piece in the Wall Street Journal is well-worth reading. Observe:
A closing note: I always thought, life often being unfair, that Fidel Castro would die the death of a happy monster, old, in bed, a cigar jutting out from the pillows, a brandy on the bedside table. My dream the past few years was that this tranquil end would be disturbed by this scene: American tourists jumping up and down outside his window, snapping pictures on their smartphones. American tourists flooding the island, befriending his people, doing business with them, showing in their attitude and through a million conversations which system is, actually, preferable. Castro sees them through the window. He grits his teeth so hard the cigar snaps off. Money and sentiment defeat his life’s work. He leaves the world knowing that in history’s great game, he lost.
Open the doors, let America flood the zone and snap those pictures. “Fidel! Look this way!” Snap. Flash. Gone.
7 thoughts on “The Most Embarrassing Factions of the US-Cuba detente”
You’re quite right about the conservative Republicans, Brandon. Their stance is preposterous and embarrassing. But I wouldn’t call them all a “vulgar mob.” They are individuals and their backgrounds and motives vary widely. Consider a Cuban American who lost all his property in 1960 and fled to Miami. Isn’t it understandable that he would hold a grudge and cling to the embargo? He would be wrong in my opinion but not “vulgar.”
Then there’s that slippery term “isolationism” which is now a smear term, so Ron Paul has had to resort to “non-interventionism.” Sixty years ago, Robert Taft was the leader of the “isolationist” wing of the Republican Party. He, like George Washington, was for free trade but avoiding entanglements in foreign disputes. That’s what isolationism meant in that time. I feel sure Taft would have opposed the Cuban embargo. I supported Robert Taft for the 1952 Republican nomination even though I was just a kid and knew nothing about him except that he was from my state! The Republicans, at least their Bob Taft wing, were pretty much for free trade and peace. Who knows, Brandon, the party could swing back to this position in your lifetime. Don’t be too sure you’ll NEVER be a Republican.
I posted my thoughts too hastily on this matter. I had been trolling Twitter and various press outlets and found the reactions of Republicans to Obama’s move to be distasteful. I was aware that Cuban-Americans are basically the African-Americans of the GOP, and their reactions were not what I had in mind when I used the term ‘vulgar’. It was the collective attacks from much of the Right on President Obama’s decision to initiate change in this area. I mean, charges of being a secret communist were hurled!
I found the reactions to be mostly vulgar because most of them were not interested in the plight of the Cuban people at all (just like the Castro regime itself).
The ‘isolationist’ insult was actually used by Rand Paul against enemies who attacked his support of Obama’s decision. The logic of this was something I came across in Ron Paul’s anthology on foreign policy. Basically, by trying to maintain the failed embargo on Cuba, hawkish factions are actually the ones isolating the US from the world. If I’m not mistaken, Bob Taft hailed from the great state of Ohio, correct? Were your parents big supporters of his?
I’ll never be a Republican, but that doesn’t mean I won’t vote for them if the party fields a decent candidate (or if the Democrats field a truly awful one).
It’s worth remembering that the “Republican hawk” faction includes Democrats like Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. His views are indistinguishable from Marco’s on Cuba:
I meant Rubio’s, not Marco’s–we’re not on a first-name basis.
It’s cool that Cuban-Americans are branching out from Florida and making their way across the US to find whatever it is they want to find. At first I feared that the turn away from the GOP that non-Floridian Cuban-Americans seem to have been making would make both both parties more hawkish toward Cuba, but it looks like the infiltration of the Democrats by Cuban-Americans has actually diluted the latter’s power as a voting bloc.
There’s probably some empirical evidence on this matter. Hopefully it supports my gut reaction…
I think it’s probably the other way around–Cubans have been immigrating to New Jersey since the Revolution, and have established roots here for a long time. So parts of north Jersey are demographically very similar to Miami (famously, Union City is–well, famously in New Jersey). Hence North Jersey politicians have to act like Miami politicians. But since Jersey politicians tend to be Democrats, north Jersey politicians end up being Democrats-who-act-like-Miami-Republicans. It’s probably a purely local phenomenon, however, rather than a general infiltration.
But my knowledge on all of this is purely casual, from time spent in Jersey (I know it sounds like a jail sentence), and acquaintance with a few Cuban-Americans here, some very anti-Revolution (tend to be older), some pro-Revolution (tend to be younger).
Reblogged this on bertpowers.