In “Trump’s Cuba Policy Will Fail,” Ben Rhodes offers a strong substantive critique of the president’s decision to pander to a Republican special interest group by reversing his predecessor’s rapprochement with the island nation.
“As a democracy-promotion vehicle, the embargo has been a failure,” notes Rhodes, who was the architect of that rapprochement as Obama’s deputy national-security adviser. “For more than 50 years, it has been in place; for more than 50 years, a Castro has governed Cuba. If anything, the embargo has provided a justification for the Cuban government to suppress political dissent in the name of protecting Cuban sovereignty.”
That critique is quite similar to one offered by the libertarians of Reason magazine, the last place you’ll find any illusions about the awfulness of Fidel Castro and his regime.
As Anthony L. Fisher wrote there:
The half-century-long embargo did not defeat the Castros, or communism, or lead to any meaningful liberalization of economic or human rights on the island nation. If anything, it provided the Castros with a ready-made excuse that the source of Cubans' poverty and isolation was yanqui imperialism. … Allowing for more trade with Cuba will allow for more information to flow to the people, who when freed from the myopia caused by some of the strictest government censorship in the world will stand a better shot of overthrowing their tyrannical one-party system.
The Reason article concluded that “reverting to the previously failed position is worse than fighting the last war, it's fighting the last losing war.” And it added an insight that voters who supported President Trump ought to find especially compelling: Isolating the Castros “is a self-spiting position from an American point of view.”