Donald Trump said he’s “cancelling” the Obama-era policies toward normalization with Cuba. But IPS board member James Early told the Real News Network that’s “a lot of puffery.”

“There have been some tactical changes,” Early said, noting that Trump’s new policy will only affect two arenas: travel and sanctions.

It will cut down on the number of people who can go to Cuba, Early explained, and it will condition sanctions on the economic dimension of the Cuban military, a major player in the Cuban economy.

But will Trump’s new policy change much?

Early is doubtful.

“First and foremost, negotiations are already in play,” Early says, pointing to a bilateral team of Cuban and U.S. government representatives negotiating new agreements—concerning the postal service, drug addiction, and medical patents, among others—under the framework set forth by President Raul Castro of Cuba and former President Barack Obama.

And while preventing U.S. travel to Cuba will cause a statistical drop in those visiting the country, Early points out that Americans aren’t the only ones who travel to Cuba. “This will not alter the upward trajectory of Cuban development and entrepreneurship amongst Cubans,” Early said.

So what does Trump accomplish with his “rolling back”?

“This is clearly a political stand playing to his right-wing and conservative base and to that very, very small group of right wing Cuban-Americans,” Early said, “who really do not represent the social base of Cuban citizens even on the conservative side of the aisle.”

Seventy five percent of U.S. citizens want to maintain bilateral relations with Cuba and advance the normalization of relations.

“Trump as usual,” Early summarizes, “defies any standard of political protocols that pundits tend to look at.”

Watch the full interview on The Real News Network.

James Early is the Director of Cultural Studies and Communication at the Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies at the Smithsonian Institution and a board member at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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