Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Miami Marlins, recently spoke out on a controversial topic. “I admire Castro,” he proclaimed, much to the anger of the prominent Cuban exile community in Miami. While these words hold serious weight in the city of Miami, most people in the United States care little about this elderly dictator in the Caribbean. He is a paper tiger now, a symbol of outmoded ideologies and automobiles. In the modern era, he is simply not a serious threat.
Sure, his rhetoric has always been anti-American, but the only time anyone actually cared about Castro was when he had the backing of a state with nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union. The Cuban exiles know what they are talking about; they experienced Castro’s tyranny firsthand and lived through the murder and persecution. The way in which he treated his citizens was a symptom of his outlook and policy towards the United States.
Around the world today, more countries are looking to gain nuclear capability. Countries like Iran and North Korea pose grave threats to their neighbors because of both their instability and ideological fanaticism. Many question why the United States has the right to possess such weapons while condemning the nuclear ambitions of others. The answer lies in the way in which we treat our citizens. The U.S. record has never been perfect, but citizens can expect largely that their liberties will be respected. Secret police will not come knocking on their door for political activism.
The way in which a country treats its citizens is representative of how they will act on the world stage. Until nations can prove responsibility at home, no one should allow them to take shortcuts on the road to respectability. While North Korea’s botched missile test may symbolize their larger incompetence, Iran is going full steam ahead with their nuclear program, because they know what waits following its achievement. Weapons of mass destruction confer legitimacy where none is deserved, and only regimes which respect their people should be trusted with these powerful weapons.