Friday, February 28, 2014

National Review and Cuba

Did you know that the Cuban government has a “brutal food-denial program” that is holding the Cuban people “on the edge of starvation?”  That this “crime against humanity” amounts to the “use of hunger as a weapon of political control?” 


Well, maybe you should read the National Review, the magazine that scooped the entire world with this report. 


The article, written by a U.S. businessman, is based not on reporting in Cuba or interviews with any Cubans in Cuba – rather, it is based on the writer’s talks in Mexico with some Mexicans who had visited the island. 


For the editors of National Review, that was good enough.


If you’re of a certain age you may remember this magazine as a place to get an education in conservatism, with humor and civility, from founder William F. Buckley with writers such as William Rusher, James Kilpatrick, and George Will.  Even people who disagreed could enjoy the discussion. 


It’s a little different now.


Regarding the deliberate near-starvation of the Cuban people, an assertion too ridiculous to rebut, one has to note that no dissident in Cuba has ever said such a thing, not to mention any human rights monitor anywhere, or any journalist or other observer.  The author implies that the rest of us have missed this near-famine because we’re all dupes and admirers of communism. 


A cartoon vision of Cuba, in other words, that is just fine for today’s National Review. 


For contrast, read the late Buckley himself disdaining Cuba’s government and political system while also having little use for the “politically based” perpetual embargo policy that continues even today (see here, here, and here).


Then there’s NR editor Jay Nordlinger, a classical music critic who, when he writes about Cuba, writes about the dissidents. 


Recently he wrote that people who oppose U.S. sanctions against Cuba – from the great liberal Representative Charles Rangel to the great conservative Senator Jeff Flake – are “apologists” for the Cuban government and constitute the “Castro caucus.”  In other words, they are disloyal to our own country.


So, by Nordlinger’s lights, would be William F. Buckley himself.  Buckley himself traveled to Cuba, for which he should be condemned, and he went to see Pope John Paul II who should also be condemned because he opposed the U.S. embargo.  So many commie sympathizers, so little time for poor Nordlinger to write.


As a commenter on Nordlinger’s article wrote: 


“Jay, do you think the embargo has weakened Castro, helped the Cuban people or achieved its stated objective of regime change?  Do you think a person who answers the previous question in the negative is necessarily pro-Castro?”


Nordlinger then goes on to condemn some religious leaders from Cuba who are soon to visit the United States.  Sight unseen, they are “stooges of the dictatorship” because they probably don’t share Nordlinger’s own views.  (One of these pastors co-authored an article here.)



No comments: