It could have been a magic moment, a breakthrough of untold proportions, an uprising that millions had been waiting decades to witness. And the representatives of the nation founded on principles opposite to those of the regime brutally oppressing its people had a rare opportunity to showcase the starkest of contrasts – between the abundance of democracy and the deprivation of communism.
It was the first time in 30 years – since the fall of the Soviet Union – when the world came face to face one more time with the reality and brutality of this long-disgraced form of rule. The ball was teed up for the president of the United States and Democrats who should relish the opportunity to prove they haven’t veered as far left as those nasty conservative pundits have claimed.
The bat never left their shoulders.
The Semantics of Terror
Despite widespread knowledge among Americans that Cuba is ruled by communists, the widely distributed Democratic talking points evidently included instructions to its flaks and sycophants in big-box media to refer to the regime in Cuba as “authoritarian.” This careful choice of words, no doubt designed to appease the many socialists in their midst, effectively lumps Cuba together with a host of actual authoritarian regimes across the globe – think Russia, Syria, or Iran, among others – indistinguishable from the totalitarian socialists running Cuba.
While both words describe heavy-handed systems with absolute power resting in a single individual, the fundamental difference between the two is crucial. Per the distinction first enunciated by the late, great U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, in authoritarian regimes such as Russia and Syria, many suffer while others prosper. In totalitarian regimes, everyone suffers, by oppression or deprivation.
Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, initially responded to a question from the ever-persistent Peter Doocy of Fox News by saying the rioters took to the streets because of “economic mismanagement” and a lack of vaccines. Days later, after being criticized for his tepid response to the unrest, the president finally upped the ante a notch by saying the demonstrators were protesting ”decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”
But in the full sweep of the progressive movement, never was heard a discouraging word about communism itself – and the tyranny it spawned which continues to plague the world while somehow still inspiring freshly emboldened collectivists in our own land. Maybe it’s because of their long, shameful amen chorus, or at least their persistent dove-like stance, on the Soviet Union as millions died, and half of Europe was taken down with them.
Taken to its ridiculous extreme, using the word authoritarian instead of communist could even serve the left’s purposes in equating the governance of a succession of Cuban tyrants to that of Donald Trump. And why not? They have already called him Hitler – and the Cuban dictator couldn’t be any worse than the Fuehrer, could he? Plus, if they send out the word, the activist media will gladly employ its bullhorn to announce it from the rooftops.
This makes one reconsider that moment in time when Soviet puppet states behind the iron curtain, one after another in short order, and then the Soviet Union itself, finally imploded under their own leaden weight – with nary a shot fired. In the aftermath, President George H.W. Bush, like Biden, chose to pass on a unique historic opportunity to at least highlight, if not trumpet, the conquest of freedom over tyranny. He refused to declare victory per se in the twilight struggle which was the focus of American foreign policy since the end of World War II. He paid no particular homage to the millions who suffered and died for over 70 years under an unbroken string of communist dictators.
Instead, Bush chose to use the occasion to call for – and build – a vaguely defined “new world order.” This has since evolved into what we call globalism, marked by the growing power of international organizations and the general collectivization of the world’s almost 200 countries.
Even more perplexing was that Bush had stood beside Ronald Reagan for eight years and watched the 40th president finally label this blight on humanity an “evil empire” and force the dismantling of the crumbling Soviet state bit by bit. The shallow presidency of Joe Biden, ever the establishment fixture like Bush, likewise comes after a predecessor who revived rhetoric on communism. Indeed, Donald Trump was famously even more active than Reagan in naming and shaming the far left domestically and across the globe. Trump would have pounced on this Cuban uprising as a teachable moment on the totalitarian nature of an ideology that set literally hundreds of millions of people on the road to starvation, misery, and death.
But the 45th president is gone, if not forgotten. So, go ahead and call the government of Cuba dictatorial, authoritarian or even socialist. Just don’t call it communist because, in the twisted logic of today’s left, that’s exactly what it is – so mum’s the word.
Read more from Tim Donner.