If you read the comments under almost any story about President Obama’s recent trip to Cuba, you’d think that he had personally embraced Fidel Castro and the decades of his authoritarian regime. The outrage was predictable, and very telling of how so many uninformed conservatives have a knee-jerk to anything President Obama does.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the threat of having a Russian ally just 90 miles from Florida didn’t seem so scary anymore. The fear of Soviet missiles that could easily be launched from Cuba was gone, and the United States should have then abandoned the years of foreign policy that we used to try to overthrow the Castro regime. Nearly 30 years later, conservatives want to pretend that the Cold War is still going on, and shrieking with rage that President Obama visited the country before they did.
For all of our current worrying about terrorism, continuing to have hostile relations with a country just off our mainland is a threat to our national security.
China is attempting to assert itself as world power, and Russia wants to regain their position as the counter to the United States and NATO. China has also been aggressively courting Cuba and for us to have a less hostile, or even friendly relationship with Cuba is not only good economic sense, it is strategically important from a defense aspect.
You’ll hear the talking points about how oppressive Cuba’s government is and how they have a terrible human rights record, but that didn’t stop Richard Nixon from visiting communist China, or Ronald Reagan from going to Moscow in 1988. That also doesn’t keep Fox News viewers from shopping at Walmart, watching Hannity on their TV made in China or wearing clothing manufactured in Bangladesh.
We cannot take down oppressive regimes through military might alone. We have seen the results of this cowboy approach in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries bombed or invaded over the past few decades. Instead of economic prosperity and freedom, these failed attempts at democracy have descended into chaos and breeding grounds for terrorist groups which destabilize their neighbors as well.
Communism is a failure. If you don’t believe me, just look at North Korea. Soviet Russia lasted less than 80 years, and China became a world power only after it opened up to limited capitalism.
Raul and Fidel Castro have to die eventually, and Cubans will look to another nation to help them transition from oppressive communism to another form of government. Why shouldn’t we pursue better relations with Cuba now so that when the regime crumbles, we will be in the position to help them create a better society than what they have now?
Whether or not you like President Obama, ending the years of bad relations with Cuba is a diplomatic move that is long overdue. So many conservatives don’t understand this, because the pundits on Fox News have told them for years that Obama is a secret communist Muslim sent to destroy America.
In the 21st century, America needs less enemies, not more – especially not on an island just a short flight from Miami. Decades of economic sanctions against Cuba have not worked, but communism will fail there, once we allow capitalism to finally take hold.