Friday, April 10, 2009

Great Moments in Boot-Licking Toadyism

Babalu has been all over the trip to Cuba by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Some terrifically idiotic quotes have come out of the CBC’s spring break:

Rep. Laura Richardson: “He [Fidel Castro] listened. He said the exact same thing as President Obama said."

Rep. Barbara Lee: “It was quite a moment to behold [i.e., meeting Castro]”

Rep. Bobby Rush: “It was almost a religious experience. When I bent down to kiss Fidel’s ass, I could see an image of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in the crinkles of cellulite. I can now say that I know with certainty what the odor of sanctity smells like.”

Ok, I made up that last one. But it's not all that implausible.


RebeccaH said...

Rep. Laura Richardson: “He [Fidel Castro] listened. He said the exact same thing as President Obama said."

Way to win points for your president, Rep. Richardson.

TW: fardise: America, hoped and changed.

cac said...

As a non American, I think the embargo is pretty pointless and morally dubious (there are worse regimes the US is happy to do business with), but what I've never understood is the need to deify Castro who is a third world thug with quite a lot of blood on his hands and an oddly good reputation. Isn't there anyone in America who would be happy to see the embargo lifted but without regarding the Cuban regime as an early rehearsal for the second comming? Cigar smokers perhaps as they do tend to be a sensible lot.

blogstrop said...

They seem to roll up Dr. Degrees as quickly as they do cigars. You want how many extra Doctors in Venezuela? No problemo.
WV: achallyl - me trying to say "actually" after two bottles of cabernet.

Paco said...

cac: I believe the greater pressure being put on Cuba (than on other repugnant regimes) stems from several factors, including the confiscation without compensation of assets owned by U.S. investors, the brutality of the regime toward its own people (many of whom fled - and continue to flee - to the U.S.), and (perhaps most significantly) the willingness of Castro to let the Soviets attempt to install nuclear missiles on Cuban soil. This last, particularly, made Cuba an outlaw state in the view of successive American governments. There is also the argument that lifting the embargo without concrete changes in the attitude of the Castros toward the freedom of its citizens will strengthen the economic position of the regime (which survived for decades on the largesse of the old Soviet Union). Finally, Communist Cuba attempted for decades to export revolution to other countries in the western hemisphere. Fidel has simply never been truly amenable to reestablishing more or less healthy relations with the U.S.; the depth of his pathological hatred for the U.S. cannot be discounted.

Carol said...

Rep Laura Richardson, just the kind of person you want representing you.

what a piece of work

Paco said...

Welcome, Carol!

bruce said...

Australia's leftist government is considering sanctions against Fiji which yesterday declared (another) military coups.

Yet Australia happily does business with many regimes far worse than the Fiji military.

Clearly there is more to foreign relations than a simple scale of better to worse human rights record.

Proximity is clearly a major issue. As is the goal of the action. Embargo or trade, the moral goal is bringing about a change.

Australia knows if we pressure Fiji with trade sanctions we could force a return to democracy. That still remains a possibility in Cuba, especially after Fidel dies. To give in now may continue the oppression of Cuban people for decades.

Really, does any nation use foreign policy simply to punish baddies and reward goodies?

RebeccaH said...

cac: There is still the small matter that Cuba is only ninety miles away from the continental US, and the Cuban government (embodied in the cult leader, Castro) has never exhibited anything but hostility to everything that defines us. So you must excuse us for being cautious, perhaps even a little paranoid, especially since those heady days when Cuban soil hosted Soviet missiles aimed at us.

cac said...

I'm afraid I remain unconvinced.

Still, I will join y'all in a toast when the regime finally topples.

I suspect there are regimes more inimical to US interest that don't have the same sort of sanctions - North Korea step on down - and a certainly many orders of magnitude worse - North Korea wins again!

It also seems quite likely that it helps the brothers Castro to be able to say that life would be wonderful if it wasn't for those damn yankees with their sanctions.

But if you think it's justified and worthwhile, why not do it properly? Stop all travel by US citizens to Cuba and all remittances and even blockade the place. At the moment they are easy enough to evade as the visit by this toadying crowd shows.

I trust in the meantime this difference of opinion won't jeopardise the hospitality I have always founds at Paco Manor [stops writing as neck is gripped by powerful hand and is hurled bodily onto the pavement ...]

Paco said...

cac: Not at all, my dear fellow! This is liberty hall.

bruce said...

Did you read my post, Cac?

cac said...


Sorry I missed it.

Getting into weighty foreign policy issues here, but I do agree with your basic point which I take to be that you might well undertake sanctions against a not very nice regime while having full relations with an evil one and Fiji might well be a case in point.

In this case though the sanctions are presumbly targeted and highly specific - restore civilian government and we will lift them. It's these sort of instances where sanctions have historically been the most successful. The alternative of we don't like you and will show such by general boycotts has been much less so and in fact I'm not sure non targeted sanctions have ever worked, not least because the lack of clarity as to ends makes it quite hard to work out when success has been attained.

I'm not sure there are any specific conditions in the case of Cuba, as our good host and others have pointed out there are a whole swag of reasons underlying US policy towards Cuba. I may be mistaken but I don't believe the US Govt ever said you do specific thing X and we will allow free travel by US citizens or some other lifting of an irritant. I get the impression that nothing short of full scale regime change will lead to the embargo being lifted. Nothing wrong with this as a policy but these sort of ends have historically been delivered by war or blockade and if that's what you really want then that's presumably the way to go.

As I said previously, I look forward to toasting the demise of the brothers Castro in due course, I'm just not in any way convinced the current regime advances this in any way.

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