Barack Obama has made a geopolitical irrelevancy suddenly relevant to American presidential politics. For decades, Cuba has been instructive as a museum of two stark failures: socialism and the U.S. embargo. Now, Cuba has become useful as a clarifier of different Republican flavors of foreign-policy thinking.

The permanent embargo was imposed in 1962 in the hope of achieving, among other things, regime change. Well.

George F. Will writes a twice-weekly column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs. He began his column with The Post in 1974, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1977. He is also a contributor to FOX News’ daytime and primetime programming.

Fidel Castro, 88, has not been seen in public since January and may be even more mentally diminished than anyone — including his 83-year-old brother — who still adheres to Marxism. Whatever Fidel’s condition, however, Cuba has been governed by the Castros during 11 U.S. presidencies and for more years than the Soviet Union dominated Eastern Europe. Regime change — even significant regime modification — has not happened in Havana.

Some conservative criticisms of Obama’s new Cuba policy — which includes normalizing diplomatic and commercial relations, to the extent that presidential action can — seem reflexive. They look symptomatic of Cold War Nostalgia and 1930s Envy — yearnings for the moral clarity of the struggle with the totalitarians. Cuba’s regime, although totalitarian, no longer matters in international politics. As bankrupt morally as it is economically, the regime is intellectually preposterous and an enticing model only for people who want to live where there are lots of 1950s Chevrolets.

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