Is President Obama about to take unilateral steps to ease America’s relations with Cuba? That was the question posed in a shrewd dispatch the other day in the Christian Science Monitor. It cited “a number of recent developments — from Mr. Obama’s recourse to executive action on immigration to the Spanish foreign minister’s enigmatic statement that he would be carrying ‘very concrete messages’ from the US government” in a visit scheduled for last week.
TOOLS FOR THE JOB? The Christian Science Monitor wonders whether President Obama is getting ready to act on Cuba, and the New York Times has issued something like five editorials in the past six weeks urging him to do so.
We would offer one other piece of evidence — the fact that the New York Times has run something like six editorial in the past few weeks agitating for America to end its embargo. On November 9 it had an editorial bellyaching yet again about the Helms-Burton Act, which extended the reach of our embargo to foreign companies dealing with Curba; it was signed by that right-wing extremist William Jefferson Clinton.
On November 2, it came out with an editorial urging President Obama to try to get back an innocent American civilian, Alan Gross, whom the Cubans are holding hostage, by releasing three convicted Cuban spies. On October 25, the Gray Lady issued a long editorial arguing that we should break faith with the Cuban exile community here and lift the embargo — this because of a generational shift away from a hard line that “has not been lost on the White House.”
Earlier in October, the Times issued an editorial that was so blatant in its call for an end to the embargo that it brought forth a long commentary by Fidel Castro himself in the official newspaper of the central committee of the Cuban communist party, Granma. Mr. Castro remembered warmly being visited in the mountains by the Times correspondent Herbert Matthews. We’ve written about that before.
The most astounding editorial among the recent rash in the Times was the one arguing against America welcoming the Cuban doctors who have been defecting to our side. It wants them to continue to earn money for the Cuban communist regime. It’s got to be one of the most cynical editorials ever published in the Times and was skewered by our columnist Ira Stoll, in his daily critique of the Gray Lady, smartertimes.com.
Now there are some serious institutions who want to see an end to the embargo on Cuba, prime among them the Wall Street Journal. The Journal, if we understand correctly, is not for a unilateral lifting of the embargo, which was, after all, laid down against conditions. The free market principles animating the Journal, though, do not seem to be what’s animating the Times. A lot is going on in the world for the Times to suddenly issue such a rash of editorials in favor of one small communist dictatorship.
So we add the eruption of pro-Cuba editorials in the Times to the evidence the Christian Science Monitor cites suggesting that the Obama administration is up to something. It would be just like Mr. Obama. The Congress has had scores of opportunities to end the embargo, after all, but owing to some flaw in democracy just hasn’t done what the left sees as its duty. The president, though, has a pen and a phone — and a few other tools in his kit, like, say, a hammer and sickle.