December 19, 2014 | Commentary on National Security and Defense, Cuba

Caving to Cuba no victory

Whoa! Sure, we should be thrilled the Cubans have released American Alan Gross, but Team Obama’s plan to normalize diplomatic relations with the Castro regime as a result is a bad idea.

At best.

First, it’s not as if this were some sort of humanitarian gesture on the part of the Cubans. They got three DGI — Cuban intelligence — officers in return for Gross and another unidentified Cuban who reportedly spied for the United States.

Plus, while the regime released Gross and another, Cuba is still a prison in the shape of an island where some 11 million Cubans toil under the weight of one of the world’s most repressive regimes — and have done so for decades.

With all the discussion of “American values” recently over the Senate report on CIA interrogations after 9/11, it’s interesting we’d embrace Cuba, a communist dictatorship which suppresses social, political and economic liberties.

Where are the American values in that?

Moreover, the establishment of diplomatic relations legitimizes the Castros and their “storied” struggle against us. The last thing we should do is prop up this regime or give it a propaganda victory.

Worse, this might also be just the beginning of a warming in relations with the Castros for this White House.

For instance, ending the American embargo on the Cuban regime — which would require congressional approval — might be next. This will put more money in the pockets of Havana, which will undoubtedly use it to crush rights at home and stir up anti-American trouble abroad.

Have we already forgotten Cuban mischief-making in this hemisphere — and beyond — when Havana was flush with Moscow’s financial, military and moral support during the Cold War?

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this move by Team Obama, which is likely looking to Cuba for an “at last” foreign policy win in a long string of failing strategies from Russia to Iran to the Islamic State.

Unfortunately, caving to Cuba won’t be one.

 - Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

About the Author

Peter Brookes Senior Fellow, National Security Affairs
Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy

Originally appeared in the Boston Herald