President Obama has chosen an odd time to begin a diplomatic and economic relationship with Cuba that undoubtedly will strengthen Cuba’s economy and thereby, in all probability, prolong the rule of the Castro brothers and make it more likely that they will be succeeded by another generation of Communist tyrants. In recent years, Cuba has aligned itself militarily with an international rogues’ gallery: Venezuela, of course, but also Russia, Iran and North Korea.
As we noted here, Havana hosted a Russian intelligence ship earlier this year. The Russians made no secret of the use they want to make of their long-time ally:
The Defense Ministry plans to expand its military presence to several key regions outside Russia in an effort to increase its long-range bomber coverage. …
“We need bases for refueling [our aircraft] near the equator, and in other places,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said….
Then there is North Korea. As Marco Rubio wrote, exclusively for Power Line, Cuba has repeatedly engaged in internationally prohibited arms transactions with North Korea.
Cuba has a cooperative military relationship with Iran, too, as explained here.
And, of course, Venezuela’s catastrophically socialist regime has been Cuba’s main ally since the Soviet Union imploded.
So, by propping up Castro’s regime in Cuba, Obama can indirectly benefit all of America’s major adversaries, providing them with a more economically robust trading partner, a better source of illicit arms, and, most important, naval bases and intelligence outposts just miles from our shores. I think it is fair to say that for all past American presidents, even the Democrats, the prospect of aiding such bitter enemies of the United States would have rendered propping up Castro’s regime unthinkable. For Obama, the fact that he can strengthen North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Russia along with Cuba may be a feature rather than a bug.