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May 21, 2008

Bush, McCain Play Echo Chamber
Posted by Adam Blickstein

Their first back-to-back attack derided diplomacy with our enemies.  Now, they are playing Don Quixote and Sancho Panza on Cuba. After hard line comments on Cuba yesterday, echoing a familiar theme, McCain celebrates "Cuban Independence Day" on his website by perpetuating the same inept policy that, in 50 years, has failed to yield any positive results:

As President, John McCain Will Not Passively Await The Day The Cuban People Can Enjoy The Blessings Of Freedom And Democracy. It is in our national interest to support their aspirations and oppose those of a Castro regime that harbors fugitives from U.S. justice, expresses unrelenting hostility to America, and shoots down unarmed civilian aircraft. John McCain will press the Cuban regime to unconditionally release all political prisoners, legalize all political parties, labor unions and free media, and schedule internationally monitored elections. The embargo must stay in place.
While Maintaining The Embargo, John McCain Will Adopt A Broader Approach To The Cuban People. John McCain will provide more material assistance and moral support to human rights activists, and increase Radio and TV Marti and other means to communicate directly to the Cuban people. The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute Cuban officials implicated in the murder of Americans, drug trafficking, and other crimes. John McCain will begin an active dialogue with our partners in the hemisphere and Europe to develop a plan for post-Castro Cuba.  

Meanwhile, at the White House, President Bush marked the occasion by authoritatively telling the world that he knows, perhaps with the same soul searching powers used on other global leaders, that the small changes Cuba's new leader Raul Castro is implementing are nothing more than a "cruel joke:"

"The world is watching the Cuban regime," Bush said. "If it follows its recent public gestures - by opening up access to information, implementing meaningful economic reforms, respecting political freedom and human rights - then it can credibly say it has delivered the beginnings of change. But experience tells us this regime has no intention of taking these steps. Instead its recent gestures appear to be nothing more than a cruel joke perpetuated on a long-suffering people."

If McCain wants to use Bush as an echo chamber on every major national security issue (having already accomplished this with Iraq), then projecting a McCain presidency as a third Bush term, albeit one, according to Pat Buchanan, on steroids, becomes that much easier. Bill Richardson nails it:

John McCain doesn't understand as well as Senator Obama and I do how the Castro regime works. John McCain -- like George Bush -- is afraid to talk to bad guys.  He feels safer pretending to talk tough by hiding from them. Unfortunately ordinary people will pay for his lack of diplomatic skill. This is the Bush-McCain foreign policy that has failed all over the world, and it has failed to promote change in Cuba.


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