, , ,

At the risk of sudden death under a Tsunami of rotten tomatoes, I’m going to point out something that appears to be missing in today’s news cycle. Or at least, I haven’t heard or seen it addressed.

President Barack Obama touched down in Cuba on Sunday, definitively ending a half-century of estrangement in a dramatic personal demonstration of his core foreign policy principle of engaging America’s enemies. March 21, 2016; Kevin Liptak, CNN

Obama’s visit to Cuba and loosening of relations with a country that was formerly viewed as an enemy of democracy and ruled by a brutal, authoritarian dictatorship, touched off a barrage of praise on one hand and vilification on the other. Does anyone remember which sides were which? President Obama declared that, since fifty years of economic, commercial, and financial embargo and disassociation with Cuba had changed nothing for the good, it was time for a new strategy. He endured the outrage of many conservative Americans for approaching and offering an olive branch to the Castro administration.

Cut to today. The grace, wit, and intelligence of the Obama administration is a bittersweet memory of the past. Americans have chosen a completely new attire. Many of us are bitter and angry about the narcissistic, womanizing, self-aggrandizing, infant at our helm. That anger and disappointment does not give us leave to lose our perspective and rational thinking.

Nearly five hours of unprecedented and surreal talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un culminated on Tuesday with fulsome declarations of a new friendship but just vague pledges of nuclear disarmament. . . . But the dramatic act of extending his hand to one of America’s longtime adversaries will forever illustrate Trump’s gut-driven, norm-shattering tenure. June 12, 2018; Kevin Liptak, CNN

Of course nothing substantive was gained from this dog and pony show starring two of the world’s most distrusted leaders. Yes, of course, I know that Kim Jong Un is a ruthless, murderous dictator who is interested in only his own needs. The single reason we can’t apply the exact same adjectives to #45 is because he hasn’t yet been able to manipulate our struggling democracy enough to get away with murdering any of his enemies—that we know of. But, back to the wisdom of his predecessor, fifty years-worth of economic, commercial, and financial embargo has done nothing to make our relations with North Korea safer.

Yes, it is jarring to see the President of the United States, flanked by our illustrious flag—that we are not allowed to take a knee for—standing beside the child dictator and his country’s flag—with which we are still technically at war. But it was also jarring to see President Obama reaching out warmly to Raul Castro.

Evan Vucci/AP

Much of what is going on in the current administration of this country is bone-chillingly bad. I do not see this headline-grabbing and head-wagging event as the most dangerous, by any stretch of the imagination. Remember, we may soon by choking on arsenic and lead-contaminated drinking water thanks to the rollback of EPA regulations.