That siege philosophy regarding Cuba tends to dictate that Cuban-American politicos like Rubio bang the drum for the eradication of oppression anywhere else in the world. That’s evident in Rubio’s strong criticism of President Obama for not leading the charge in Libya (even as many Republicans now blast Obama for getting too involved there) and in his threats this month to put the kibosh on Obama’s nominee for Ambassador to Nicaragua, Jonathan Farrar. Rubio feels that because Farrar showed himself too soft on the Castros while recently serving as the U.S.’s top diplomat in Havana, he would therefore be too soft on Nicaragua’s authoritarian leftist President, Daniel Ortega. (Rubio’s assertion that Farrar didn’t adequately engage Cuban dissidents, however, is fairly disingenuous given how long Cuban-American leaders once dismissed those dissidents as sell-outs because they didn’t advocate violent government overthrow.)
To his credit, Rubio is at least being more honest than than the Beltway types who cynically call for tightening the squeeze on Cuba in order to win votes in Florida, while in the same breath they insist it’s OK to engage even more repressive, but commercially valuable, regimes like China. But Rubio’s one-solution-fits-all foreign policy – especially one inspired by a Cuba policy that most Americans and even Cuban-Americans don’t agree with anymore – doesn’t account for all the different types of diplomatic and military arrows the U.S. or any nation has to keep in its quiver when acting abroad. Even coups in our own hemisphere today aren’t immune to practical politics. When Honduras’ democratically elected President was exiled in 2009 by a military coup, Obama originally declared – a la international idealists – that such retro-putsches should no longer be allowed to stand in America’s backyard. But he eventually acquiesced and, rather than exert superpower muscle to compel the coup regime to restore the ousted Honduran President to power, the U.S. recognized the results of a new presidential election as the way to defuse the crisis.