Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Re: The Cuban Trade Embargo. Sounds Like Senator Thune Is More A Student Of Polemics Than A Student Of History.

Cuban Farmers Near The Port Of Mariel
In A Country That's Aching To Modernize
(photo from theguardian.com)
     Our Senator John Thune has it all wrong on his reluctance to lift the American trade embargo on Cuba. Yesterday he told the Rotary Club in Sioux Falls "that there are conditions that have to be met before I could support [a lifting of the trade embargo]."  Political reform is the condition de la conditions that Thune wants to impose on Cuba, presumably waiting for that country to democratize its political system before South Dakotans should expect him to support a lifting of the trade ban, which has been in place since the early 1960s.  That the ban itself has had absolutely no effect on Cuba's political condition seems to escape Thune as he promotes his futile quest for change there.
     This is actually a ridiculous position.  For one thing, even as Thune acknowledges, lifting the trade ban would do some economic good for the ag industry in this state, principally soybean farmers and hog producers whose goods will be eagerly consumed by millions of Cubans once they get their hands on them.  For another, rejection of a pragmatic consideration in favor of a principle may have some honorable intent, but when the principle itself isn't supported by the reality of History, the intent rings with the hollowness of political dogma.  When you consider the advances in living conditions and economic opportunities for billions of people since the evolution of free trade that has been in force since the end of World War II, it seems that Thune lacks an understanding of cause-and-effect. Trade itself has been the medium for the elevation of political and economic freedoms, mainly because ideas and ideals flow just as freely as goods and services when markets open up.
Thune Talking Ag At The Black Hills Stock Show
Get With It Thune.  Cuban Trade Is A Good Deal.
(photo from http://www.thune.senate.gov/public/)

     Most surprising to me is that Thune, a rock-solid Republican, doesn't seem to get that.  The point I'm making about the benefits of free trade is actually pretty standard GOP "boilerplate," often echoed and advanced by The Heritage Foundation.  Like most Republicans (Thune apparently being an exception), I just happen to think that free trade benefits both trading parties.  In this case Havana gets access to American goods and services, many of them coming from right here in South Dakota, which helps elevate the standard of living in Cuba and exposes it to an array of American influence, including our foundation philosophies about freedom and equal opportunity. I also happen to believe that by adding to the value of our products because of the increased demand, it invites more investment in and development of our principal resources, in this case our farmland and surrounding communities.
     So get with it, Senator Thune.  Not only is it good enough for South Dakota--it's good enough for The Heritage Foundation.  If the former isn't a powerful enough force to get you to move, the latter certainly should be.  Get off your high horse and support free trade with Cuba.
   

7 comments:

  1. So Senator Thune says we have to wait for Cuba to change its political situation before we trade with them, but meanwhile Governor Daugaard makes regular trips to China (who certainly has NOT changed its political situation) "to develop business contacts and spark economic development". And Senator Thune has never objected to any of those. Ay-yi-yi, yi! Get real, Senator.

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    1. Thune hasn't really thought this thing through. When I was in Hanoi in '09 I saw more American logos for retailers and manufacturers then I could have imagined, while dodging big American SUVs that were all over the roads there. I wonder if Thune objects to our lucrative trading relationship with Vietnam. He's out of it on this one, Ms. Fisher.

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  2. But, but, Obama, he must be against anything Obama supports.

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    1. I think he's currying favor with a wing of his party at the expense of what's best for South Dakota, Tim.

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    2. What's new John, Thune has been doing that for years, now Rounds will join him.

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  3. I think that 100,000 blue haired American ladies on a shopping trip to Cuba will rock the Castro government. A dozen Cuban baseball players making $10,000,000 a year hitting homers and pitching for the Minnesota Twins will finish them off.

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    1. You definitely have the picture, Mr. Barth.

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