Rand Paul

Rand Challenges Rubio's 'Isolationist' Stance on Cuba


Rand Paul
Wikimedia Commons

Sen. Rand Paul called out Sen. Marco Rubio on Twitter, criticizing his Cuba policy as isolationist. It's the latest battle in the war of ideas between the senators, who represent two very different strains of Republicanism when it comes to foreign policy.

Paul accused Rubio of "acting like an isolationist"—an ironic criticism, given that Paul is often accused (wrongly) of being an isolationist solely because he has opposed U.S. military involvement in places like Iraq and Libya. The tweets:

Hey @marcorubio if the embargo doesn't hurt Cuba, why do you want to keep it?

— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014

Senator @marcorubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism.

— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014

The United States trades and engages with other communist nations, such as China and Vietnam. So @marcorubio why not Cuba?

— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014

.@marcorubio what about the majority of Cuban-Americans who now support normalizing relations between our countries? http://t.co/0qhSOeD9Va

— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) December 19, 2014

Rubio did not respond.

While some libertarians—including some of us at Reasoncontinue to be uncomfortable with aspects of Paul's ISIS plan (even though it's better than pretty much anyone else's ISIS plan, that's for sure), the senator deserves praise for breaking with many in the GOP and sticking to the freedom-maximizing position on Cuba. People who want to keep the socialist island nation trapped in desperate poverty—either because they believe the U.S. is still fighting the Cold War, or because of an irrational hatred of capitalism—should be on the defensive. Kudos to Paul for putting them there.

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  1. I agree with what Rand is saying, but why poke that dog with a stick over this?

    1. It does seem a little bit petty, but he’s like to face off against Rubio or someone like him int he primaries. Getting the first shots in, I suspect.

      1. can’t he just point to the age of the earth to shut rubio up?

        1. That doesn’t shut them up, Spence, just makes them blather on more.

          1. which, if Rand wants to win, is probably the best strategy.

    2. Because the dog deserves to be and advancing change requires an aggressive style.

      1. Winning the GOP nomination is Rand’s best chance to advance change, and I’m just not sure baiting other Republicans on this is good for that. I hope I’m wrong of course.

        1. You are, as usual. The GOP base respects this kind of thing.

    3. Because that dog is probably already dead. He bit the hand of his masters with his stunt last Saturday.

  2. The greatest deliberative body in the world… on Twitter.

    1. Asking the tough questions and posting the responses YouTube to Twitter.

  3. we need a twitter troll for president! it will be amazing. “Hey, @kimnkleader, did you even see the interview, bro?”

  4. Rand Paul dropped the tweet boom! Boo-yah! Bam!

  5. The Rubio response would be easy to write.

    “Hey Rand, what concessions did we get from the Castros in return for our trade and tourism? Less oppression? More economic or civil freedoms? Anything? I thought you Libertarians were in favor of that stuff?

    Hope you can negotiate better than that if you’re elected President?

    Love and kisses, Maco”

    1. that’s bad argument. remember what Pinochet got after opening the market? Economic freedom drags civil liberties on it’s back.

      1. It can, but it doesn’t always, or at least not immediately or even within a relatively short time frame. See China for example.

        That said, I still agree with the policy and Rand’s take on it.

        1. I hear you. But the China of today is better than the China of 20 years ago, so progress is being made, however slowly. The sanctions were given 50 years to not work, so I think normalization deserves at least that long.

          1. ^^This^^.

            it doesn’t always work IMMEDIATELY. But it will always work if it’s left to do its job.

    2. Sorry. That’s more than 140 characters and therefore unacceptable in such an important debate.

      1. And to think, we once thought of the sound-bite as political popcorn.

    3. We don’t need concessions. Trade is its own reward.

      1. I know – I was kind of playing devil’s advocate.

        But we should have tried! And I doubt that it even occurred to Obama.

      2. Not to mention increasing the freedom of Americans to do what the heck they want, whether or not it benefits Cuba and Cuba’s leaders and/or Cuba’s people.

    4. I don’t know about concessions, but don’t we get more trade and tourism itself? In other words, there are US citizens who would like to trade dollars to be tourists in Cuba and US companies who would like to trade with Cuban people and companies, and now our government will not be the one stopping them?

      1. There are a fair number of people who think that the person receiving money always gets the better end of a deal.

        1. yes, those people are the group I like to call “wrong”.

      2. The embargo wasn’t lifted by Mr. Obama though. Congress needs to do that, but with Republicans in control, it won’t happen, even though the majority of Americans, the majority of Floridians, and the majority of Cuban-Americans want the embargo lifted. It’s called doubling down on stupid, or business as usual.

    5. Hey Rand, what concessions did we get from the Castros…

      I didn’t know that initiating an aggression against someone, and then demand they bargain with you to stop the aggression, was a libertarian position.


      1. The Embargo was a reaction to aggression.

        1. You mean after Kennedy’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion?

          Those sneaky Cubans.

          1. what? what matt welch aware of this? I mean, he cohosts with her and it’s never come up.

            Who would think a V-Jay would have that much power to invade another country!

            1. Kennedy knows that the sound of Pearl Jam, the greatest band in human history, must be spread to the four corners of the Earth.

            2. In the early nineties, VJs were all powerful and commanded vast armies of followers. That’s why there no more music on MTV.

              1. Ah right, she was on MTV. I thought V-Jay was a reference to vagina.

                1. No, that’s V-Jay-Jay.

          2. No. After Cuba stole American properties and allied with the USSR.

            1. After Cuba stole American properties and allied with the USSR.

              The sugar refinery nationalization and the Soviet alliance could have been avoided if Eisenhower didn’t have such a raging hard-on for Batista.

              You’ll also note that the reduction in Cuba’s sugar import quota was lowered by the US (a little economic arm-twisting), before Cuba nationalized the sugar industry.

              Make no mistake, Castro was never likely to be US’s bosom buddy, but America has unnecessarily poked Castro in the eye with a stick a few times and sent him running into the loving embrace of Mother Russia.

              1. Quite like the case of Ho Chi Minh being pushed towards the Soviets.

    6. Rand could also point to the freedom of Alan Gross and ask Rubio if he thinks a failed sanctions regime is more important than Gross’s freedom.

  6. This is fantastic. This is exactly the kind of moderately dickish aggressive style Rand needs to employ during the GOP nomination fight.

    1. yes. it will make for the most amazing debates.

  7. FYI, the Squirrels (may their tails be ever bushy) have graced us with their presence this afternoon. Comments posting on wrong threads or disappearing.

    For your devotional needs, this.

    1. *lays platter of acorns at base of statue, backs away salaaming*

      1. *Loads .22 rifle*

    2. All glory to Squirrva the Destroyer! Squirrva is All and in All, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer. *prepares human sacrifice*

    3. I noticed that this story appeared then was quickly disappeared by the squirrels.


  8. “Kudos to Paul for putting them there.”

    Very funny,. Kudos, I guess, to the guy who had absolutely nothing to do with a change in policy toward Cuba that has been a long time coming.

    Just couldn’t bring yourself to ever say, “Kudos to President Obama,” could you?

    1. I think they already did. Not that I would expect you to actually pay attention.

      1. Really, Cyto? Do you understand English? Kudos means “praise.” Here, from Webster.

        “praise or respect that you get because of something you have done or achieved”

        Do show where anyone here praised Obama, like they just did Paul, specifically by name. Please show it. Don’t bother…no one did.

    2. Bitter, table for one…Bitter…

    3. Kudos for everyone!

    4. It doesn’t matter if Obama did the right thing because his motives were impure. Without pure motives, no amount of good you do means anything.

      From “Wacky Shit Progressives Believe”, p.142

      1. I highly doubt the sum total of Progressive thought would take a book that had at least 142 pages…try again around the 15-20 page mark maybe.

  9. I think U.S. tourism would eventually lead to more freedoms for the Cubans than anything else. I think they already get European and Canadian tourists, but they could double the number if they allow U.S. tourists and allow the tourists to actually tour instead of just being relegated to resorts.

    1. ” allow the tourists to actually tour instead of just being relegated to resorts.”

      I suspect there’s zero chance of the Castros allowing that.

      1. I suspect most tourists aren’t interested, anyway.

      2. What if the number of tourists overwhelms them?

  10. I suppose it’s hip and modern for Rand to tweet snark at his opponents, but it’s not particularly dignified.

    Of course, the Lincoln-Douglas debates were also full of snark, but at least it was snark for people with longer attention spans (or at least people who didn’t have cable so they could spend more time listening to speeches).

    1. Didn’t they also pass around barrels of hard cider back then?

    2. Most people read the speeches in newspapers, so you could take a break when you got bored. Now if you do that, something else more interesting will have happened before you get back to it.

  11. Yes, freer trade would be a good thing, though whether it will actually make Cuba more *politically* free, I’ll need to see the evidence.

    And I would prefer to see a treaty with concessions on both sides – we allow our people to trade freely with Cuba, the Cubans pay compensation for the American property they stole in the 1960s and quit hanging out with America’s enemies.

    1. But why hold our people (the ones that want to do business with Cubans) hostage because they are so holding theirs?

      1. They’re not doing business with Cubans, they’re doing business with Castro. Cubans will simply work for the same pittance as always.

    2. Pretty much all property has been stolen from someone at some point. At a certain point, you just have to forget about it and just try to get people to stop it in the future.

      1. Are you listening, Native Americans?? 😉

  12. Republican primaries are so cute.

    1. I actually find them even more idiotic than the Democratic ones.

    2. Democrat primaries will consist of all candidates running screaming away from ObamaCare, which will be highly enjoyable.

  13. I think we can safely put the Cuba Embargo up there with Immigration and Gay Marriage in helping identify the more right leaning posters here vs. those from the Reason writers strain of libertarianism.

    1. yes. or just ask them if they prefer mayo…

    2. Cool story, bro.

    3. Why you feel the need to do that remains a mystery.

      1. It’s a social signalling thing. Bo’s got to pat himself on the back for holding the correct opinion and ideological conformity. It’s mostly for the holier-than-thou ego trip.

        1. That’s what I don’t get, though. There isn’t anyone here for Bo to signal to. No one is giving him kudos for being divisive. Quite the opposite. Unless it is just masturbatory.

          1. Hypothesizing here, but it might have something to do with his age and the fact he’s in university. He’s used to having to socially signal his rejection. That, and his concept of the purist libertarian he imagines himself to be leads to an attempt to ‘other’ those that disagree with him as No True Libertarians.

            1. That and his daddy issues. I think that he has said his family is religious so-cons, so he wants to establish himself as not that.

              1. He thinks we’re all splitters and must proclaim the superiority of his popular front of one.

        2. Aren’t you from the future? Who wins in 2016?

          1. Different worldline man, in my future D.C. was nuked in the Brief Third World War in 2015 and everyone was too busy shooting cops for the next decade or so to ‘vote’ for President-For-Life Lindsay Graham.

            1. Man, and you wanted to leave that utopia to come here?

  14. Twitter slap-fights are pretty stupid in general, but reopening diplomacy with Cuba has a lot of potential. Although they’re obviously not that open about it, there’s a lot of Cubans who are rather aware of the shitty state they’re being forced into and no amount of state propaganda is fixing that. More open relations with the United States coupled with the Castro boys keeling over could swing Cuba back to at least some kind of market economy (similar to Vietnam) in the near future.

  15. I enjoy Reason.com because they normally stay away from talking points, conjecture or generalizations. However, in this article it is stated that Sen. Rand Paul is “sticking to the freedom-maximizing position on Cuba” and accuse those who oppose his views as “People who want to keep the socialist island nation trapped in desperate poverty”

    Could you please follow up with an article that lists how this new Cuban policy “maximizes freedom” for the people of Cuba. Also include how this new policy will lead the Cuban people out of poverty.

    At least provide an update to this article that contains links to other sources that proves those points because I have not seen or read anything that shows this new policy doing either.

    To allude to those points in your article without providing factual information to prove them, does Reason.com a disservice.

    1. See China, and keep in mind that increasing freedom and prosperity is a multi-generational effort (even in the U.S.).

    2. Could you please follow up with an article that lists how this new Cuban policy “maximizes freedom” for the people of Cuba

      I think you’re misinterpreting. On the issue of whether or not to place an embargo on economic interaction, the “freedom maximizing” position is the one opposed to the existence of political restrictions on trade. Simple as that, no citation needed.

      Also include how this new policy will lead the Cuban people out of poverty.

      Logic is all you need. If an embargo or otherwise political restriction is lifted, people are more free to exchange value. When there’s more freely exchanging value, they produce more and work more, selling their excess product and labor for profit. Lessening those restrictions wherever possible is precisely how you lessen poverty.

      The burden of proof is on the guy claiming that an embargo doesn’t result in unnatural and restricted allocations of economic resources. Got any factual information to that effect?

      1. As much as I agree with your sentiment, I personally love the internet meme of “The burden of proof lies with the person who disagrees with the other guy”

        1. Sorry, two mish-mashed thoughts in one:

          “The burden of proof lies with with the other guy”

    3. I can’t speak to Reason‘s perspective, but it’s really the freedom of Americans we’re talking about. The US doesn’t fine or jail Cubans for violating the embargo.

      However, it is Congress and not the President that is ultimately responsible for changing this policy.

    4. The embargo sure as hell hasn’t improved freedom for Cubans. So this can hardly be worse. And it increases freedom for Americans.

  16. Basically this helps the people of Cuba, because 50 years from now, they’ll be driving hand me down Ford Focuses from 2015.

    But all it’s going to do is make the Cuban government richer. The workers won’t get paid any more. If they get paid on the side, they’ll face arrest if they don’t turn it in.

    1. And government planners won’t get any better at their witchcraft while at the same time the hollowness of their ruling philosophy will become more visible.

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