U.S. presidents spend a lot of time obsessing over whether they should talk to foreign regimes that are not-so-friendly to the U.S. government. The issue usually arises in the context of U.S. restrictions on trade that have been imposed on foreign countries with the aim of forcing their governments to comply with U.S. dictates.
Actually, however, there is no valid reason for the president to talk to any foreign leader. Instead, the U.S. government should simply lift all sanctions, embargoes, and restrictions on trade on all foreign regimes and do so unilaterally, without discussions, negotiations, and concessions.
Consider, for example, Cuba. For 50 years, the Cuban people have suffered from a cruel and brutal economic vise in which they’ve been squeezed by Castro’s socialism and the U.S. embargo.
The aim of the embargo has always been regime change. The idea has been to make the Cuban people suffer so much that they finally oust Castro from power and install a ruler who is satisfactory to U.S. officials, at which point the embargo would be lifted.
Yet, it’s obvious that the embargo has been a cruel and brutal failure. Castro is still in power. For fifty years, the Cuban people have been made to suffer needlessly.
Some people suggest that President Obama should talk to Castro to see if the two countries can resolve their differences.
That’s nonsense. What Obama and the U.S. Congress should instead do to is simply lift all restrictions on trade between the two countries. For that matter, they should also remove all restrictions on the freedom of Cubans and Americans to travel back and forth freely between the two countries.
What all too many Americans fail to realize is that embargoes, sanctions, and other restrictions on trade are a direct infringement on the economic liberty of the American people themselves. They prohibit Americans from spending their money the way they want. What could be more fundamental than the right to do what you want with your own money and to travel wherever you want?
Yet, if you trade with Cubans or spend money there, the U.S. government will punish you severely. Ironically, that’s also what the communist regime in Cuba does to people who violate economic regulations there.
What would happen if the U.S. government unilaterally lifted the embargo against Cuba? Immediately, there would be an outburst of economic activity, one in which Americans would be traveling to Cuba for business, personal, or cultural activity.
What better representatives of our country than American businessmen, tourists, and cultural groups? What worse representatives of our country than the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department?
All that interactivity between the American people and Cuban people would tend to introduce ideas on liberty into the Cuban marketplace of ideas and would tend toward building up the economic resources of the Cuban people, both of which tend toward counterbalancing the power of the state.
Equally important, through interaction with Americans, the Cuban people would be able to warn Americans against the socialist road they’re traveling on, including with socialized education, housing, healthcare, bailouts, stimulus plans, a central bank, and paper money, all of which have long been core elements of Cuban socialism.
What if Cuban officials refuse to permit honest elections? What if they continue to embrace socialism? What if they continue to harass critics? What if they impose their own restrictions on trade with Americans?
Why is any of that the business of the U.S. government? Isn’t that the business of the Cuban people? The United States should be leading the world to freedom by example, not by trying to force its principles on others at the point of a gun or with the dropping of bombs.
There are those who argue that Americans shouldn’t trade with communists. But shouldn’t that be an individual choice? If someone doesn’t want to travel to Cuba or buy Cuban cigars, on principle, he doesn’t have to. Consider, for example, communist Vietnam and communist China. The U.S. government doesn’t have embargoes against those countries, and Americans are free to decide whether to travel there or to buy goods and services provided by people in those countries.
The American people would be doing themselves and the world a tremendous favor by forcing the U.S government to lift all restrictions, embargoes, and sanctions against all foreign countries. What better way to lead the world to peace, prosperity, and harmony than by restoring the principles of economic liberty to our land? Freeing the American people doesn’t require the president to talk to any foreign regime.