Presidnet Obama’s re-establishing of diplomatic relations with Cuba resembles, at best, a poor Florence Foster Jenkins aria. A wealthy New York socialite, Jenkins took to the stage after she inherited the family fortune. Throughout her operatic career, she essentially made a fool of herself. Yet her Ritz-Carlton hotel private performances were sold out, mainly because of the amusement she provided Manhattanites.
Hard of hearing, she was tone-deaf and lacked any innate music ability, however, she pressed on. “What she provided was never exactly an aesthetic experience, or only to the degree that an early Christian among the lions provided aesthetic experience: it was chiefly immolatory, and Madame Jenkins was always eaten, in the end,” penned a critic in 1955 a few years after she died.
That is what the past seven months have been like with respect to U.S.-Cuba policy, a wretched display of diplomatic and policy flips that will go down in history as an amusing, but tragic footnote. The K Street lobbyists and Congressional backers eagerly watched, amused, at their good fortune. They finally had a President disinterested enough to pursue what they think, erroneously, will be the final act. It was a race to the bottom and the actors did not disappoint.
Removal from the terrorism list, when it was not warranted. It was policy laundering, whitewash. An unequal prisoner swap, spies for a civilian U.S. hostage. A shiny new embassy on 16th Street, a building that has housed war criminals, human rights abusers, and thugs. A bank account, albeit at a small and unknown entity in South Florida so the regime can continue money laundering and other illicit financial activities. Indeed, for the U.S., these last few months are worth less than the thirty pieces of silver Judas was given centuries ago. The good news is that the fat lady has not sung, she is not even started warming up.
The silly season with Cuba is over, now we pray, the adults move in. The Communist Party of Cuba and the legions that support them in this town, will not be able to muster enough votes in the U.S. Congress to ease sanctions. The President has gone as far as he can with executive authority. In some cases he exceeded it. And while true that Congress could’ve slowed him down, and opted not to do so, policymakers can now bring some political sanity and focus to this process. American taxpayers deserve better, as do the people of Cuba.