You knew this was coming, right? You knew that, with all of the national elections that will take place during his presidency behind him, Barack Obama would do everything in his power — broadly defined — to assist the Castro regime.
President Obama was a good friend to Mohammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s man in Egypt. He has made nice with the mullahs in Iran, bailing their country out of serious economic woes under the pretense of slowing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. He “reset” relations with Russia on terms highly favorable to Putin and would have done more to help the autocrat, as he promised to do after he gained “flexibility” following the 2012 election, had Putin not set out to dismember Ukraine.
Why should the Castro brothers be nearly the only anti-American tyrants not benefit from Obama’s largess? Only domestic politics stood in the way.
Now that it no longer does, Obama has seized on the plight of Alan Gross to do what he has always wanted to do — help bolster Cuba’s communist regime. As Mark Falcoff says, one does not need a Ph.D. in political science to discern the ideological currents that inspired Obama to do this.
The consequences of Obama’s action are also clear enough. As Falcoff explains, “the normalization of relations with Cuba comes at precisely the moment that the Castro brothers need it the most, since their principal foreign patron, Venezuela, is running out of money because of the collapse in the world price of oil.” Obama “has decided to make the United States a replacement for [Venezuela's] Maduro.” Obama thus gives the Castros a new lease of life and helps forestall the total discrediting of Latin American communism.
These, we should assume, are Obama’s intentions.
There will be consequences outside of Latin American too. Elliott Abrams writes:
The American collapse with respect to Cuba will have repercussions in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, for the nations facing a rising China, and in Europe, for those near Putin’s newly aggressive Russia. What are American guarantees and promises worth if a fifty-year-old policy followed by Democrats like Johnson, Carter, and Clinton can be discarded overnight? In more than a few chanceries the question that will be asked as this year ends is “who is next to find that America is today more interested in propitiating its enemies than in protecting its allies?”
Frankly, I imagine the question has already been asked and answered in many a chancery.
But Abrams surely is correct that Obama’s switch in Cuba policy reinforces concern throughout the Middle East that the president will end the sanctions against Iran that he has already undercut, and establish diplomatic relations with the mullahs in exchange for meaningless promises about nukes and maybe the release of a prisoner or two.
Obama clearly believes that America’s 55 year effort to undercut Castro was misguided, if not downright stupid. That belief, an article of faith on the left, is a natural one to hold if you’re fine with oppressive, expansionist, anti-American Communist dictators.
It’s overwhelmingly likely that Obama feels the same way about America’s 35 year effort against the theocratic regime in Iran. That too is a natural belief to hold if you’re fine with oppressive, expansionist, anti-American Islamist dictators.
Obama is fine with both types of dictators. His main beef is with Israel.