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Dumb Things Politicos Say Have Consequences

In 2009, President Obama said, “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you … To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” Kerry has turned this idea on its head and done exactly the opposite in Cuba and Iran. Photo Credit: Associated Press

There will always be good and evil in the world. As it says in the good book, “What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” I’m reminded of this Bible verse anytime I listen to a politician say something dumb, as well as the media repeating it without correction. Yesterday there was plenty of both. 

So history is a guide. The world learned, the hard way, that peace in our time sounded good, but that peace through strength is a much better way to carry on in the foreign policy arena. In the case of Cuba and Iran, and many other global hotspots, the Obama Administration is setting back world security with dumb statements that are more like the former.

Consider some of the comments made by Secretary of State Kerry at the rededication of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba. Most of the speech was revisionist dribble. The Castro brothers must be grinning ear to ear at their good fortune.

The dumb things politicians say need be put in context. Never be afraid to that in your travels through life. While true that one can argue, and should try to see both sides of an issue, pick a side! There is always a right point of view and wrong point of view.  Let’s take a quick look at a few of the errors uttered by our Secretary of State in Havana yesterday:

My friends, we are gathered here today because our leaders – President Obama and President Castro  …

My friends? The only friends in Cuba are those outside Post Havana that were not allowed anywhere near the U.S. Embassy because the regime made sure to keep the undesirables away. President Castro? No matter how much the left tries to rehabilitate him, Raul Castro is a dictator, a war criminal. He has jailed, tortured and/or killed thousands of Cubans, including a few Americans. And it is not just the brothers, there are many more Communist Party leaders with blood on their hands.

Why does the Obama Administration, DC lobbyists and, regrettably a small group of Cuban-Americans, insist on whitewashing Cuban crimes against humanity? I don’t know, yet.

In 1961, the Bay of Pigs tragedy unfolded with President Kennedy accepting responsibility.

What Kerry did here should’ve been the lead in today’s papers. Kerry is, essentially, apologizing for the Bay of Pigs! Kennedy never intended to apologize to the regime. President Kennedy, and his brother Robert, did express regret to the families of Cuban exiles that died in the failed operation, as well as those that were imprisoned.

In fact, President Kennedy traveled to Miami and met with many of them. Kerry either does not know his history or is, more likely, opting to revise it to advance a very ugly agenda. Watch this video. This is how a leader speaks and, had he not been gunned down 11 months later, I’m certain President Kennedy would have followed through on his word:

Cuba demanded a big cut in the size of our diplomatic mission, and President Eisenhower then decided he had no choice but to shut the embassy down.

Another half truth. President Eisenhower shut down the Embassy for a variety of reasons that were foisted upon him by the regime. First, the year before, the Cubans signed a trade treaty with the Soviet Union that, in my book, made Cuba a satellite of the global Communist Axis. This is what Fidel Castro aimed to do all along, but, as any student of the Cold War knows, foreign leaders were under strict instructions by the Soviets not to announce loyalties until firmly in control of the country. Fidel could not rush to Soviet arms in 1959. Here is what Eisenhower said in 1961 to Cuba’s request that the United State reduce the size of the embassy staff:

This calculated action on the part of the Castro Government is only the latest of a long series of harassments, baseless accusations, and vilification. There is a limit to what the United States in self-respect can endure. That limit has now been reached. Our friendship for the Cuban people is not affected. It is my hope and my conviction that in the not too distant future it will be possible for the historic friendship between us once again to find its reflection in normal relations of every sort. Meanwhile, our sympathy goes out to the people of Cuba now suffering under the yoke of a dictator.

The primary difference between 1961 and 2015 is that the dictator’s brother is in control, an even more ruthless tyrant.

While they took control of the government, the Castro brothers and his supporters, some in that audience yesterday, spent a year and half torturing, exiling, jailing, and murdering opponents. in addition to the treaty, the regime started to steal properties from American families and companies. There were also Cubans, former allies of the United States, who were targeted just because they were friendly and worked with Americans. These are the reasons why President Eisenhower shut down the Embassy.

My friends, it doesn’t take a GPS to realize that the road of mutual isolation and estrangement that the United States and Cuba were traveling was not the right one and that the time has come for us to move in a more promising direction.

There is that word, friends again. There was not mutual isolation. It was a self imposed process because Communist Cuba is afraid of openness and freedom that capitalism will, some day, bring back to that nation. The regime isolated itself and, had the Obama national security team followed the roadmap contained in U.S. law for normalization of relations, the discussions would have been very different. But these people are weak, the Communist Party strong.

In the United States, that means recognizing that U.S. policy is not the anvil on which Cuba’s future will be forged. Decades of good intentions aside, the policies of the past have not led to a democratic transition in Cuba.

This one was a kicker. Critiquing U.S. policy and power on foreign soil. Kerry never supported this policy, that is a lot more than sanctions. Inside his head, he and other Members of Congress present in the audience were smiling at their win, albeit a Pyrrhic one. In fact, he admits as much in the very next line:

It would be equally unrealistic to expect normalizing relations to have, in a short-term, a transformational impact.

So why do this? Normalizing relations has been the mainstay argument of the left for decades. The Cubans will change if we treat them with respect, they would say. Change will come if we talk, etc. The Communist Party should be treated with the respect it deserves, not much.

I could go on and on dissecting the speech, but you should understand by now that U.S. interests and power took a back seat to public relations diplomacy. While I do not expect our Secretary of State, nor any diplomat, to speak in the way that I suggest he should have, there are ways to use words and symbols to express things without having to sacrifice the truth or, more importantly, U.S. prestige and power. These talks and re-opening of embassies was premature. A serious policy error for many reasons.

What we saw on display yesterday in Havana was no different from what took place in Europe for several months with the Iranians. It sets yet one more poor precedent for U.S. power. We can do much better. U.S. taxpayers, and the people of Cuba and Iran, deserve so much more from the free world. Relativism leads to bad things. That will be the case in Iran, Cuba, and elsewhere.

Americans are tired of losing. We are a nation of winners. It is about time or political leaders in both political parties started to act that way. I’m not saying that the United States rush in and make things right in Cuba; only the Cuban people can do that. But we should, and must, put U.S. interests at the top of the list of any negotiations with any country in any hemisphere. There is not such thing as footnote foreign policy, but that is exactly what this President is doing in not only Cuba, but Iran, Syria, Venezuela, and many more places around the world.

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