Saturday, June 03, 2017

Trump pondering a Cuba rollback: Donald's hatred of Obama may trump his fondness for autocracies (hunter) · Thursday, June 01, 2017, 8:24 pm

If there's one new American policy Donald Trump and his team have made perfectly clear, it's that dictators, autocrats, monarchists and others with contempt for human rights will find a new friend in the White House. Trump bristled and pouted his way through meetings with our closest allies, but show him a national leader curtailing press rights or sanctioning execution squads for the so-called purpose of fighting drugs and Donald cannot help but heap praise on his new international buddy. Do political figures who speak out against you keep mysteriously turning up dead? Donald has your back. Does your nation execute women who get too uppity? Donald admires the strength of your convictions.

You would think, then, that if there was any Obama-era policy the new White House would be amenable to, it would be the decision to open new relations with Cuba despite the Castro government's own abuses—that Donald would, in fact, be especially eager to roll out the welcome mat for the leaders of a lucrative tourist market a stone's throw from Florida regardless of whether or not the dreaded Obama approved of it first. You would be wrong.

President Trump is considering reversing major pieces of the Obama administration’s opening with Cuba and reinstating limits on travel and commerce, citing human rights abuses by the Castro government as justification for a more punitive approach.

Apparently the twitch reflex to roll back anything and everything the last president ever did is too strong to overcome. And, apparently, the Cuban government isn't quite malevolent enough to gain the same sort of respect from Donald that he bestows on presidents who let their underlings loose to murder civilians. Team Trump seems to have very specific ideas of which “human rights abuses” are forgivable and which are not; they have not yet deigned to clarify it for the rest of us.

There are at least three sides at war here. Hardline Cuba-hating Republicans and conservatives in the Cuban-American community want Obama's relaxation of Cuban policy reversed and are pressuring Trump to do it. (We'll dispense with the notion that Donald is doing it to fulfill a campaign promise as being too laughable to entertain.) Other Republicans do not particularly give a damn about Cuba one way or another, but do give a damn about sticking it to the now-gone Obama as many more times as their party can invent. On the other side, many Republicans do not want a reversal, because Gigantic New Market and such. It's therefore not likely the White House will fully roll back the new openings; in true Team Trump fashion, the real plan appears to be to do something half-assed that projects strength but mucks up the situation so badly that nobody can even parse out what to do next.


No comments: