I know I’ve neglected our current unethical President lately while trying to determine which candidate to be out future unethical President is less likely to leave the nation a smoldering ruin, but rest assured, Barack Obama has not improved.
The most indisputable example of late comes as he prepares to visit Cuba. In December, President Obama told Yahoo! News:
“What I’ve said to the Cuban government is, if . . . we’re seeing some progress in the liberty and freedom and possibilities of ordinary Cubans, I’d love to use a visit as a way of highlighting that progress. If we’re going backwards, then there’s not much reason for me to be there.”
This isn’t a casual, non-committal statement when a President makes it, though I realize that Obama has never quite grasped that essential aspect of the job. Cuba reads it, and so does the rest of the world. If Obama is to be believed—he isn’t, but let’s pretend—it is a commitment, and his office as well as the nation is placed on the line along with his credibility.
According to human rights organizations, the Castro regime’s repression has indeed grown worse since the renewal of diplomatic ties with the United States in 2014. Abuse and arrests of dissidents have increased, and there has been a government crackdown on churches and religious groups:
Throughout 2015, there were more than 8,616 documented political arrests in Cuba. In November alone there were more than 1,447 documented political arrests, the highest monthly tally in decades. Those numbers compare to 2,074 arrests in 2010 and 4,123 in 2011. . . . According to the London-based NGO, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), last year 2,000 churches were declared illegal and 100 were designated for demolition by the Castro regime. Altogether, CSW documented 2,300 separate violations of religious freedom in 2015 compared to 220 in 2014. . . . Most of the 53 political prisoners released in the months prior and after Obama’s December 2014 announcement have since been re-arrested on multiple occasions. Five have been handed new long-term prison sentences. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch noted in its new 2016 report, “Cuba has yet to allow visits to the island by the International Committee of the Red Cross or by U.N. human rights monitors, as stipulated in the December 2014 agreement with the United States.”
Oh, never mind all that depressing stuff, you Gloomy Gusses! Obama announced last week that he’ll go to Cuba anyway, and thus his December pledge was meaningless, just more words. He will reward the hemisphere’s sole dictatorship with the prestige of a presidential visit, with no assurances that anything will change regarding the plight of Cuba’s dissidents. As deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Thursday, the president’s goal is to make diplomatic relations with Cuba “an irreversible policy.” In other words, this is about Obama’s “legacy.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) was appropriately harsh:
“[I]t is absolutely shameful that Obama is rewarding the Castro’s with a visit to Cuba by a sitting American president since their reign of terror began. For more than 50 years Cubans have been fleeing the Castro regime yet the country which grants them refuge, the United States, has now decided to quite literally embrace their oppressors. There has been no progress in regards to human rights on the Castro brothers’ island gulag nor have conditions in Cuba improved since this administration began providing the regime with concession after concession.A visit by President Obama more than one year after his unilateral concessions to the regime will only legitimize the Castros’ repressive behavior.”
It is much worse than that, however. This is another “red line” fiasco, one more instance where Obama has squandered his power to reassure allies and to restrain international wrong-doers. He can’t be trusted to follow through on promises or threats, conditions, ultimatums or quid pro quo requirements, and he constantly makes certain everyone knows it. All by himself, he makes the United States and the Presidency weak and untrustworthy. Does Obama really think that because he has revealed himself to be bluffing regarding Cuba, national leaders elsewhere aren’t taking his actions into consideration, such as those in Russia and Iran?
Oh, he probably does think that that, because for seven years he has maintained a flat leadership learning curve, and still has no idea how to be President.
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