The Bloomberg editorial spins a strange theory of the downfall of the Soviet Union:
The U.S. should have learned long ago that cutting trade links and stopping contact between Americans and Cubans haven't worked to undermine communist rule.
In the case of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, officials in Washington chose a different strategy. The U.S. maintained diplomatic and trade relations, allowed tourists and businessmen to visit, and encouraged cultural exchanges. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Eastern Europeans recalled how their chance encounters with Westerners gave them access to uncensored news and a chance to compare their lives with those in democratic, free-market societies. For many behind the Iron Curtain, having to negotiate with a Western backpacker for unavailable goods, such as blue jeans, demonstrated communism's bankruptcy.
If it was cultural exchanges and trade relations that defeated the the Soviet Union, why didn't the Evil Empire collapse during the Nixon administration, at the height of detente? The way the Bloomberg editorialists tell the story, the Reagan military buildup and Helsinki process human rights pressure don't merit a mention in the tale of the defeat of Soviet Communism.
Nor does the Bloomberg editorial consider the case of Communist China, with which, again under Nixon, America pursued the approach of extensive extensive cultural and trade relations. The Communist regime there and its network of political prisons is still in place, without democracy or political freedom for the people who live there. Nor does the Bloomberg editorial consider the case of terrorist, nuclear-bomb-pursuing, and human-right-abusing Iran, on which America has extensive economic sanctions. The same logic that the Bloomberg editorial applies to lifting the sanctions on Cuba would also apply to Iran, but there's been no Bloomberg editorial calling for lifting American sanctions on Iran. Maybe Castro is more popular in the circles the Bloomberg editorials are intended to impress than is President Ahmadinejad.
Reasonable people can differ on whether to open up trade relations with Communist Cuba. But doing so without at least winning the release of Alan Gross in exchange would be diplomatic malpractice. And writing an editorial about it without even mentioning Mr. Gross's plight is editorial malpractice.