It is a good thing Cuba is so insignificant a place, because if it had any importance—apart from its faded glories in the cigar industry—it would be an even more royal screw-up, for American foreign policy, than our disasters in Iran, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Egypt, and the Balkans.
Here is my short history of Cuba since World War II. Once there was a stable (all things considered) and corrupt dictatorship that worked hand in glove with US criminal corporate interests. When a Soviet-backed Communist insurgency threatened to overthrow America’s ally, the Eisenhower administration failed to act, and when Castro started acting according to his Leninist playbook, the CIA-backed anti-Castro rebels were betrayed by one of the weakest sisters ever to sit in the White House, John F. Kennedy, who went on to sell out the Cubans again during the Cuban missile crisis. I know, I know. We scored a big victory by challenging the Russians near their own border, though in the end we dismantled our missiles in Turkey and Italy. What good was that when JFK refused to kick out an enemy with a fortress less than 100 miles from US soil?
Rather than do what had to be done, we played propaganda games and imposed an embargo whose sole effect was to win votes from Cuban exiles by punishing poor Cubans who did not leave their country. Finally, when Obama—in a piece of pure political theater—is going to do the right thing, unassimilated Cuban-“Americans” like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are screaming their heads off to prove their loyalty, not to the country that took in their families, but to the country they left, a country that no longer exists. It is as if they want to prove that while their bodies may be here in the USofA, their heart are still in Havana. We have spent six years with an unassimilated member of whining minority as Democratic President. What we really need is the Republican version to finish the job!
Let me be the first to say it: Cruz and Rubio for President in 2016!
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.