Joe Biden has ruled out scrapping the Cuba embargo. This does not come as a surprise, as I think it's fair to say that conventional wisdom held that Obama would mostly use executive authority to repeal some of the more restrictive measures enacted during the Bush administration. There is still a review of Cuba policy going on (unless it is complete) so best case scenario is that we could move gradually toward the whole enchilada. Obviously, getting rid of the embargo requires Congress, and it is not a priority. There is, however, growing congressional interest in the matter.
What particularly got my attention, however, was Biden's logic, which is worse than the Bush administration's because it is so cloaked in the "we are moving in a new direction" language. So, Mr. Vice President, why not end the embargo?
"We think that Cuban people should determine their own fate and they should be able to live in freedom and have some prospect of economic prosperity"
I guess technically it is true that the best way to let people determine their own fate is to refuse to have anything to do with them.
But it gets worse:
"Obama and I made it clear during our campaign that we thought there's a need for transition in our policy toward Cuba"*
But refusing to get rid of the embargo means no real transition in our policy, so this is contradictory. Unless there is a very gradual plan they're not revealing, which does not seem terribly likely. We'll see.
* It also seemed a little weird for a VP to refer to his president by his last name.