Must-Read: Senator Lindsey Graham, "Don't Bother Applying for U.S. Ambassador to Cuba"

Sunday, December 21, 2014
Must-read exchange with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), incoming Chairman of the Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, on CBS's Face the Nation:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk a little about this Cuban surprise that we got from President Obama to resume relations with Cuba. You were very much against that.

Some people would argue, Senator Graham, that this is a good place for Americans to be selling American products. We sell a lot of grain down there already. We sell medical products under the heading of humanitarian aid.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Why do you think it's such a bad idea to do that?

SENATOR GRAHAM: Well, North Korea would be great place to sell products. They don't have anything.

When America engages a country, we do so with our moral voice, just not cigars and rum. So, for the last 50 years, Cuba's gone from being an interventionist communist power in Angola to Grenada, to a backwater, poor dictatorship. And without any reason, we have changed our policy.

Look in your vault of CBS News stories in 2013 and 2014 and show me one where Cuba is becoming more democratic. As to what the Congress will do, Bob, if you are being offered the ambassadorship to Cuba, turn it down because you don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting confirmed.

The Congress is not going to reinforce this policy. There will be no confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba because the Castro brothers are terrible dictators who deserve no new engagement. They deserve to be condemned and isolated.

And when it comes to funding any proposed embassy in Cuba, I'm in charge of all foreign aid, all State Department funding. I will be the chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee. I will do everything I can to limit to size and scope of this embassy, because you are rewarding people who kidnap Americans and who really are still communists in every way.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Senator, do you think that Cuba at this point in time represents a security threat to America?

SENATOR GRAHAM: Last year, the Cubans were shipping arms to North Korea in violation of the embargo.

Yes. Cuba to me represents everything that threatens us. And who are we? We believe in freedom and democracy. Are we safe when somebody right off our shores practices totalitarian communism in our backyard? They were actively trying to send weapons to North Korea a year ago. Should we be worried about North Korea? Yes. Should we be worried about Cuba? Yes.

But Iran is watching. I can only imagine what the ayatollahs in Iran must be saying to themselves when our president called the North Korean attack on our way of life, not just a movie, vandalism, and when he reaches out to a communist dictatorship that has done nothing to change.

They must be feeling pretty good about their chance to negotiate a deal with America.