If Federica Mogherini didn't exist, the world's autocrats would be trying to invent her.
As the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs, she is a tireless advocate for engaging rogue states. Few diplomats though have pursued this kind of engagement with such moralizing puffery. In Mogherini's world, diplomacy with dictators should not aim to transition these countries to open societies, but rather to prevent conflicts at all costs.
Just consider her trip last week to Cuba, a plantation masquerading as a nation-state. Did Mogherini use her visit to call attention to the struggle of human rights activists or to comfort the families of political prisoners? No, Mogherini was in Cuba to reassure a regime that Europe will not go along with America's trade embargo.
"I know very well that right now some are trying to isolate Cuba. We Europeans want to show, on the contrary, that we are closer to you than ever," she said in a speech at Cuba's San Geronimo College. Stay tuned. Next month, Cuba's minister for economic development will participate in a broader dialogue in Brussels on improving Europe's ties to the island.
While Mogherini found her voice in Havana about Cuba's "isolation," she was mute on the popular uprising in Iran. She waited six days to say anything about the demonstrations there. When she finally did, it was a mix of ingratiation and neutrality. “In the spirit of openness and respect that is at the root of our relationship," she said, "we expect all concerned to refrain from violence and to guarantee freedom of expression."
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