In the wake of Barack Obama’s bombshell announcement that the United States will restore diplomatic ties with Cuba, more than 50 years after Fidel Castro’s revolution swept the communists into power, pundits and politicians alike are lining up to praise or condemn the president’s plan.
Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer falls into the latter camp. During a panel discussion, he asked a question that’s been asked about this president in the past:
“Is there no tyrant or anti-American center in the world that Obama will not appease for nothing in return?”
Krauthammer is right, of course. From the hollow, embarrassing “red line” threat against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons, to the ineffectual “treaty” with the mullahs in Tehran on their pursuit of nuclear weapons, to being ignored by Russia’s Vladimir Putin as he annexed Crimea and continues to support Russian separatists in Ukraine, Obama’s track record has been abysmal.
Krauthammer also noted that Obama’s action is a 180 degrees from his position in 2008 when he said the embargo against Cuba should be maintained as leverage in the ongoing effort to push the island-nation toward human rights reform.
“I will maintain the embargo. It provides us with the leverage to present the regime with a clear choice: if you take significant steps toward democracy, beginning with the freeing of all political prisoners, we will take steps to begin normalizing relations. That’s the way to bring about real change in Cuba—through strong, smart and principled diplomacy.”
Yeah, well, so much for that.
A bit of point-counterpoint: the U.S. had diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union for decades. Same thing with communist China. History shows that human rights violations in both of those countries were at least on par with those in Cuba. Other than geography, what’s the difference?