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Jeb Bush Defends Our Bankrupt Cuba Policy to the End

Bush will support failed, hard-line policies to the bitter end.

Jeb Bush issued a statement about the proposed normalization of relations with Cuba:

The Obama Administration’s decision to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba is the latest foreign policy misstep by this President, and another dramatic overreach of his executive authority [bold mine-DL]. It undermines America’s credibility and undermines the quest for a free and democratic Cuba.

This would be comical if it were coming from a pundit, but for someone interested in the presidential nomination of his party it is just embarrassing. First of all, the president can’t possibly be exceeding his authority in this case. The president has the authority to suspend or resume relations with other governments. The conduct of diplomatic relations is one of the main responsibilities that the executive has. Restoring diplomatic relations can’t possibly undermine American credibility, unless one defines having credibility as never being able to abandon or alter bad policies. U.S. “credibility” isn’t going to suffer because of this, but Bush’s reputation as a smart policy wonk should.

I don’t think Bush even has a clear idea what he means by this when he invokes U.S. credibility. He just knows that it’s the sort of thing “tough” hawks are supposed to say when presented with something the administration has done. Bush doesn’t elaborate on how having normal relations with a close neighbor will hurt the U.S., and that’s probably because there is nothing he could say to back up this claim. As for “the quest for a free and democratic Cuba,” refusing to engage with the Cuban government for fifty years has done absolutely nothing to help make Cuba more liberal or democratic. Engagement with Cuba may or may not be helpful in this regard, but it certainly can’t do any worse than the uninterrupted record of failure that Bush is defending.

If anyone was still wondering what kind of foreign policy to expect from Jeb Bush, the answer is clear: he will support failed, hard-line policies to the bitter end.



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