WASHINGTON — National security adviser John Bolton defended the Trump administration’s aggressive approach toward Cuba on Wednesday, saying that U.S. foreign policy should be “based on the pursuit of American national interests.”
In an interview with MSNBC's "MTP Daily," Bolton was asked why the administration's policies are more antagonistic toward Cuba than countries such as Russia and the Philippines.
“I don’t have any trouble at all explaining the distinction," Bolton said. "American foreign policy should be based on the pursuit of American national interest. I think that’s what this decision with Cuba reflects.”
“Sometimes regimes that look alike are treated differently because in the constellation of American interest, our relationship with them and the circumstances we face is different, and I don’t think we need to make any apologies for that," he added. "Not this administration, or not other administrations.”
Bolton made the comments shortly after the State Department announced it would allow Cuban Americans to sue foreign firms over property they lost during the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
A 1996 law passed by Congress gave Cuban Americans that right, but past presidents have suspended the policy based on concerns from the international community and countries who still invest in Cuba.
The move Wednesday makes the Trump administration the first to green-light the law.
In response to the announcement, the European Union condemned the action and warned it will “consider all options at its disposal to protect its legitimate interests,” including calling for World Trade Organization action.
While the Obama administration had been moving toward a thawing of relations with Cuba, the Trump administration has adopted a more aggressive posture with the island nation, particularly as it calls for regime change in Venezuela, a Cuban ally.
This month, the White House blocked a deal that would have made it easier for Cuban baseball players to legally play in America. And in the first few months of his presidency, Trump tightened travel and business restrictions on Cuba.
Watch the full interview with Bolton on Wednesday’s broadcast of “MTP Daily” at 5 p.m. on MSNBC.