Today the Obama administration raised the American flag above the U.S. embassy in Cuba. It is unclear what, if anything, the U.S. has won in exchange for normalizing relations with the Castro regime–one of the world’s most oppressive tyrannies. It is clearer what we have lost.
1. We lost the struggle with Castro. The U.S. won the Cold War, but lost the battle against Fidel Castro, who sided with the Soviet Union and who has opposed the U.S. in Latin America and around the world. The ailing dictator will die knowing that he won, and America lost.
2. We lost an opportunity to free Cubans. Isolating Cuba failed because other countries retained links to the regime. But ties with the U.S. were always a bargaining chip to be offered in exchange for progress on human rights and democracy. Now that leverage is almost gone.
3. We lost an important deterrent against future enemies. From Russia to Iran, our enemies–who are often Cuba’s allies–tell each other America is too cowardly to fight for long. We confirmed that in Havana: every foe knows all they have to do is resist us for long enough.
4. We lost our self-respect. It is beyond stomach-churning to hear Secretary of State John Kerry say he feels “very much at home” in a place thousands cannot leave. It is beyond offensive to hear him talk about “GPS” in a country where people cannot even use the Internet.
5. We lost our place as leaders of the free world. Obama has helped consolidate the Cuban dictatorship–just as he is doing in Iran. We did not even invite Cuban dissidents to the ceremony, even as Kerry claimed “Cuba’s future is for Cubans to shape.” A shameful day.