Friday, June 16, 2017 at 8:06 AM

Trump’s Hypocrisy on Human Rights: Cuba vs Qatar

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

I know, complaining about President Trump’s hypocrisy is rather like complaining about a prostitute’s promiscuity. Except that the former portends consequences that could destroy a country (even the whole world), which makes those the latter portends seem like nothing more than a genital itch.

That said, Trump’s America-First policy towards Cuba amounts to little more than pandering to Miami Cubans, while cutting off America’s nose to spite its face:

In an overhaul of one of his predecessor’s signature legacies, President Donald Trump will redraw US policy toward Cuba on Friday, tightening travel restrictions for Americans that had been loosened under President Barack Obama and banning US business transactions with Cuba’s vast military conglomerate. …

Trump plans to cite human-rights violations in Cuba as justification for the new US approach.

(Miami Herald, June 15, 2017)

However, as is invariably the case with Trump, this “overhaul” is not quite as advertised. He’s trying to have it both ways: for political (re-election) purposes, by feeding a dying breed of Miami Cubans the Cold-War rhetoric they crave; and for practical purposes, by restricting instead of completely shutting Obama’s open door policy. But, significantly, he’s not cutting off diplomatic relations, closing the US embassy in Havana, or even reinstating the “wet foot, dry foot policy.”

All the same, there’s no denying that these changes will hurt many Cubans in their pocket books. This, notwithstanding that the vast majority of them are the newly liberated entrepreneurs who compose America’s best hope for a Cuba that is more friend than foe.

But, as it was for the 55 years before Obama normalized relations, these changes will not chasten Cuba’s ruling elite politically or hurt them financially. On the contrary, Canada and Europe will now be competing with Russia and China to pick up every slack America’s retreat creates.

Apropos of new restrictions, Trump clearly couldn’t care less about making it inconvenient for ordinary Americans to travel to Cuba. But it speaks volumes about his hypocrisy that he’s planning to deny American businessmen the very opportunities he himself was seeking to exploit in Cuba just years ago.

Then, of course, there’s the self-defeating prospect of Trump provoking Cuba to cease all cooperation on regional anti-terror and anti-drug efforts.

In other words, these changes only provide further vindication for those of us who think this president is just plain STUPID, which stands for self-absorbed, tendentious, unhinged, pusillanimous, insecure, and delusional.

Incidentally, you’d be hard-pressed to find many Republicans – outside Florida’s congressional delegation – who support Trump’s plans. That’s how politically alienating and positively insane they are.

In fact, polls show that over 70 percent of the American people support the steps Obama took to normalize relations with Cuba. Alas, the other 30 percent is composed of idiots for whom Trump can (literally) do no wrong, as well as these perverse dreamers:

Only unbridled conceit and arrogance among Miami Cubans can explain their support for continuing the embargo … until kingdom come if necessary. Nothing betrays this quite like them presuming that — once the Castro brothers die off — they’ll be able to return to Cuba to inherit the political power and social privileges they and their families abdicated decades ago. And they presume this prerogative without any regard for the Cubans who have been toiling at home, waiting for their opportunity to govern their country.

Except that, at this rate, a well-indoctrinated Elian Gonzalez will be Cuban dictator before Miami Cubans are disabused of their antic pining for their paradise lost.

(“Dancing on Castro’s Grave Is Not Only Unseemly; It’s Premature,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 2, 2006)

Meanwhile, Trump’s America-First policy towards Qatar amounts to little more than selling Qatar presidential indulgences – its abysmal record on human rights (even its support for terrorism) be damned:

While President Trump berates Qatar for sponsoring terrorism at the highest levels, he is simultaneously authorizing the country to purchase over $21 billion of US weapons.

One portion of that deal – $12 billion for 36 F-15QA fighter jets – was inked on Wednesday in Washington, DC, when Qatar’s Defense Minister met with US Defense Secretary James Mattis.

(CBS News, June 15, 2017)

Actually, Trump is blithely doing business with a country that he publicly condemned as a sponsor of the very terrorism he claims he’s fighting “like no president has before.” That’s hypocritical enough.

But it reeks – like no hypocrisy Washington has experienced before – that Trump’s first trip abroad was not to a bona-fide democracy like Canada, Mexico, or any number of countries in Europe. Rather, it was to Saudi Arabia, which Amnesty International rates among the 10 worst abusers of human rights across the world.

Not to mention his stupefying bromance with Russian President Vladimir Putin – that wannabe czar who punctuates his human-rights abuses by having political dissidents and independent journalists murdered.

Yet Trump’s congenital venality and brazen hucksterism are such that he has no compunction about touting a change in US policy towards Cuba based on his purported regard for universal human rights.

To be fair, every president has been guilty of hypocrisy in this respect. I mean, Obama had no compunction about preaching the gospel of universal human rights on Sunday, only to bow before the repressive Saudi king on Monday. But at least he showed (amoral) consistency by having America deal with Cuba and Iran just as it deals with Saudi Arabia and China.

In any event, I’ve already had cause to denounce Trump’s hypocrisy in “The Week Trump Kissed Up to Saudi Arabia, Kissed Off Europe, and French Kissed the Philippines,” May 30, 2017. And, for the record, even though Cuba has a lot to answer for, it’s record on human rights is better than Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s in many ways, not least when it comes to LGBTQ and women’s rights.

NOTE: This is just his latest stab at either whitewashing or undermining Obama’s accomplishments. In fact, you could be forgiven for thinking that Trump has predicated his presidency on vindicating his birther conspiracy; you know, the one he peddled about Obama being an illegitimate interloper (a.k.a. an uppity African) who does not belong among the ranks of American presidents, especially in the top 10 as seems his destiny.

Related commentaries:
Obama normalizes relations
Kissed Up to Saudis
Fidel is dead
Trump-Putin bromance

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