President Obama’s announcement that he is reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba is not a cause for celebration, and it is not a success for the president. It is a gift for an enemy of the United States and American ideals.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) expresses his disappointment over President Obama’s initiative to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba during a news conference on Wednesday on Capitol Hill. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

The United States can do a lot more for Cuba than Cuba can do for the United States. And what has Cuba done to deserve our recognition? The Castro brothers’ control of the country has ensured that Cuba has been a malignant actor in the region and elsewhere for decades, and that is not changing.

Do we want to encourage other countries to follow in Cuba’s footsteps? To send the message that the United States approves of a dictatorship built on oppression, torture, religious persecution and the deprivation of its citizens? While Obama is at it, why doesn’t he give a shout-out and a hug to Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? What’s the difference?

Many commentators say they do not think the embargo against Cuba has been successful, but the fact is, it has worked. The Castros wanted to remake much of Central and South America in their image, and their revolutionary designs were thwarted as a result of the U.S. embargo. To say otherwise is to ignore history. Breaking the embargo now will just make it easier for a corrupt, repressive regime to stay in power and continue what it has done for the past five decades. As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in his statement reacting to the president’s announcement, “Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naivete during his final two years in office.”

So why are we rewarding Cuba?  Has it released all of its political prisoners? No. Have the Castros announced that they will be holding open elections? No. Is religious freedom just around the corner? No. Nothing has changed in Cuba to warrant Obama’s executive actions. It doesn’t seem like the United States gains anything from capitulating to Cuba. In fact, Obama said that one of the great things about normalizing relations is that Americans will finally “be able to use American credit and debit cards on the island” and that now “we’re significantly increasing the amount of money that can be sent to Cuba.” Seriously? Is that what this is about? Taking American credit cards to Cuba? That may be one of the most unpresidential things I have ever heard a president utter. Why doesn’t Obama encourage Americans to visit the Gulf Coast beaches and boost consumer spending in the U.S. economy instead of boasting about Cuba?

Anyway, Obama’s so-called successes are really adding up. He waived the law and allowed millions of law-breaking illegal immigrants to escape justice through his executive action on immigration.  In furtherance of his devotion to the church of climate change, he heralded a new agreement that unilaterally raises Americans’ energy costs while China effectively does nothing. Who wouldn’t want that deal? And now, there’s this breakthrough on Cuba. Who said Obama wouldn’t be effective in his second term?

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Obama is the one throwing in the towel and crying uncle on Cuba. I’m sure this will be popular in faculty lounges across the country. But it certainly plays to his leftist stereotype that he is the one to finally embrace the Cuban comrades. And, it feeds every good Republican’s fantasy that Obama keeps a Che beret in his closet next to his Mao jacket.

This entire episode lends itself to ridicule, not just criticism. The damage is done for now, but we can only hope the fawning media coverage doesn’t embolden the president to commit another similar blunder.