Thursday, January 31, 2013

Really, What's In It For Us?

This essay argues for lifting the embargo on Cuba. I fail to see what we gain by doing so. And this essay is not persuasive to me:

America’s post-Cold War embargo on Cuba is a clear example of failed international interventionism. Making sanctions work, Henry Kissinger wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “depends on the ability to define an achievable objective.” Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States has not had such an objective in its policy toward Cuba. Our policy, intended to isolate Cuba, has isolated the United States.

The author argues that the attempt to compel democracy in Cuba has failed, much of the world and many dissidents would like us to end the embargo, and we fail to support reform by sticking with the embargo.

So what if UN votes go against us in regard to Cuba? Our so-called isolation consists of states voting in non-binding UN resolutions that we should end our embargo. In what way does this isolate us? We're on the losing end of a lot of good fights in the sainted international community.

If the isolation our embargo imposes on Cuba is so pointless, why is it harming Cuba? Why isn't the embrace of the rest of the world allowing Cuba to reform with enthusiasm and vigor?

As long as Cuba has a thug dictatorship that supports thugs in power in Nicaragua and Venezuela (and tried to subvert Honduras), why should we help them improve their economy when it will likely just make Cuba a more effective thorn in our side?

Will Cuba's communist elites really think well of us and then reform to be more free if we lift the embargo?

Will all of Cuba's dissidents really welcome our change or will they feel betrayed after all these decades of resisting the Castros and counting on our pressure to at least prevent repression from getting a lot worse all at once?

And in what world do we think that the Cuban government wouldn't have other excuses that blame America should the embargo excuse be removed?

Further, what does it say to enemies about outlasting us if we lift the embargo while the Castros run the island? Cuba has been an enemy for many decades, harming our interests in Latin America and Africa in the service of the Soviet Union. And only because of their post-soviet Union weakness are they merely a thorn in our side today. I say keep the embargo on until we break the Cuban dictatorship. Let every thug around the world that seeks to harm us understand that we will patiently work against them even if it takes decades.

Finally, Cuba represents a potential base for attacks on America and our sea lines of communication through the Caribbean Sea. Cuba is now weak but hostile--and unable to carry out threats to our homeland or our lines of communication. Don't we risk these national security objectives by allowing the dictatorship opportunities to get stronger?

The embargo may have failed--thus far--to allow democracy by defeating Castro's elites, but the embargo certainly has kept Cuba from being a strong enemy.

If we end the embargo and Cuba gets stronger, will they become a threat again? Why do we think they will reform if the embargo is gone? Even if some dissidents, who sadly must live in a poor Cuba and who would surely live better materially without the embargo, say they want the embargo ended, isn't our foreign policy for our interests?

End the embargo when Cuba takes real steps to ending the dictatorship that has impoverished Cuba. End the embargo when the Cuban regime is defeated.

I am not persuaded that lifting the embargo on Cuba is in our national security interests. In what way is China less of a threat today because of our enthusiastic trade with that communist dictatorship? But Cuba will be different? Asserting great things will happen in Cuba if we do seems like an unattainable dream.