Now if a Democrat said something this nutty the establishment media would laugh them off the public stage.
“And the question was asked, should we normalize trading with Cuba? Why would you normalize trading with a country that sponsors terror?” Bachmann said. “Cuba — there’s reports that have come out that Cuba has been working with another terrorist organization called Hezbollah. And Hezbollah is potentially looking at wanting to be part of missile sites in Iran.
Eric Kleefeld makes a heroic effort to explain the origins of this conspiracy theory which appears to be based on an unsourced blog post and Bachmann’s fevered imagination.
But what really caught my eye was Bachmann’s claim that Obama is being soft on Cuba. The US trade embargo is now over forty years old and shows no sign of having any effect on the regime.
Trade sanctions can be a very powerful form of moral persuasion. The South African apartheid regime used to consider itself as a misunderstood but respected part of the Western world. European and US sanctions made clear that this was not true. Cuba does not see itself as being in the US orbit. On the contrary, the fact that little Cuba has managed to resist the pressure of the world’s last super power is surely their biggest source of national pride.
One of the pivotal events in the Arab Spring was Obama’s declaration in his Cairo speech that his administration’s engagement in the Middle East would be based on mutual interests and mutual respect. The Cuban people are not going to revolt against their government for the sake of US interests and a bunch of elderly ex-pats living in Florida.
The best way for the US to put real pressure on the Cuban regime would be to drop the embargo completely and encourage as much US-Cuba trade as possible. The more tourists visit Cuba, the harder it is for the regime to control the local population. One of the main reasons that the Egyptian government resisted Mubarak’s demand for a blood bath was that it would obviously kill the tourist trade.
Fidel Castro is 85 and his brother Raul is 80. Neither is immortal, a change in government in is inevitable in the next ten years. The US needs to get on the right side of history before that happens. That means standing for the interests of the Cuban people, not pandering to the voters of Florida.