Monday, December 22, 2014

Why the Cuban Embargo Didn't Work - And Why it Never Would Have

I have to give BooMan an awful lot of credit for trying to see Sen. Rubio's arguments about Cuba from Rubio's perspective. This is exactly what President Obama has asked us to do.
“I am obligated to try to see the world through George Bush’s eyes, no matter how much I may disagree with him,” he wrote in Audacity. “That’s what empathy does—it calls us all to task, the conservative and the liberal … We are all shaken out of our complacency.”
Doing this is the only way we'll ever break down the polarization that infects our politics today. And yes, we're the adults, so it doesn't work to simply say to the other side: "You go first."

But in acknowledging that normalization isn't likely to work in bringing democracy to Cuba, BooMan left out the one really big reason why the embargo was never going to work. We all join the bandwagon President Obama articulated in suggesting that if it hasn't worked for the last 50 years, its time to try something new. But the President also suggested WHY it hasn't worked during his announcement about our change in policy last week.
And though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions, and it has had little effect beyond providing the Cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people.
Strategies like an embargo depend on the power of partnership to be effective. By definition, if you have no partners (or not enough partners) have no power. The expansion of our partnerships in regards to Iran and nuclear weapons at the beginning of the Obama administration is EXACTLY why Iran is now at the bargaining table. And its also why President Obama worked so hard to get European countries to back sanctions against Russia after their invasion of Ukraine. If we had tried to go it alone, it would have been as unsuccessful as our embargo of Cuba has been for the last 50 years.

All of this is one of the reasons why having a community organizer who understands power dynamics in the White House is such a BFD!!!

So if Sen. Rubio really wants to see some change in Cuba's government, he'd have to make the case for why the rest of the world should join us in the embargo. That's not likely to be an effective argument. And so, regardless of whether or not you think normalizing our relationship with Cuba will bring any change, it was time to end this ineffective strategy.

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