Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ Category

Cuba: Getting Gitmo closed

Friday, August 28th, 2015

I fully expect the Obama administration to close not only the prison but also the U.S. base at Guantanamo, after which, Obama will do a turnkey ceremony in Havana with photo-op with Raul Castro.

Here’s the latest headline, on the latest hurdle:
Obama, Congress head for showdown over defense bill curbs on Gitmo

The House version of the fiscal defense authorization bill, now in House-Senate conference, contains language that prohibits transferring any Guantanamo detainees abroad or to the United States.

The bill does so by barring the Pentagon from spending any funds on the transfers or constructing or modifying prison facilities in the United States. It also bans putting the detainees in any Pentagon facilities worldwide or to combat zones.

Lastly, the House bill prohibits using any defense funds to send terrorists from Guantanamo to any foreign country unless the defense secretary provides a certification that past transferees haven’t returned to terrorist activities.

Although the bill fully funds the president’s budget request, Mr. Obama has threatened a veto on the grounds that it misuses the Overseas Contingency Operations to fund other defense programs. His real rationale for a veto, however, may be the House’s Guantanamo restrictions.

No similar restrictions are in the Senate version of the bill. However, the House bill notes that the White House ignored previous legal restrictions on Guantanamo prisoners, thus bolstering the argument for keeping the more restrictive House language.

As Drudge says, developing . . .

The foreign policy house of lies

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Please read my article, The foreign policy house of lies, on one of the many lies the Obama foreign policy is based.

The title comes from this line,

a highly successful, cutthroat consultant is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary.

Change consultant for community organizer. The dollar signs in the logo fit well with the money the Castros stand to get.

Somebody tell Al Sharpton Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

and send him this link.

Hat tip Jorge Ponce who notes

He is one of President Obama’s senior advisors, having visited the White House over 60 times.

We’re in the best of hands.

Cuba: Air-travel, credit cards next . . . by executive action?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Obama’s really pushing hard, no matter what Congress may or may not do:

Obama Administration Pushes for Deal to Start Flights to Cuba by Year’s End

White House aims to loosen travel restrictions for individual U.S. travelers despite congressional ban

The agreement would allow airlines to establish regular service between the U.S. and Cuba as early as December, officials said, marking the most significant expansion of economic and tourism ties between the U.S. and Cuba since the 1950s, when Americans regularly traveled back and forth to Havana.

The Obama administration is also exploring further steps to loosen travel restrictions for Americans to the island nation despite the decades-old congressional ban, officials said.
. . .
Only Congress can lift the long-standing U.S. travel and trade embargoes imposed against Cuba in the 1960s following the rise of Fidel Castro to power. But Mr. Obama has executive authority to grant exceptions to them. He announced several last December—such as allowing Americans to use credit and debit cards in Cuba and expanding commercial sales and exports between the two countries—and is considering others.

Speaking of credit cards, Jazz Shaw notes that it Looks like Obama will pretty much ignore Congress on easing Cuba restrictions. In addition to restrictions on travel as individuals (emphasis added),

there are other restrictions to deal with if you want to travel to Cuba. For one thing, you’re not allowed to spend any American money there except under very specific circumstances and credit card companies can’t process transactions which take place there. How will they get around that?
. . .
Most of these restrictions were passed by Congress. The State Department lists many of these restrictions on their travel web site and they are formidable. The Treasury Department reminds people that spending American money in Cuba as a tourist can result in up to a $65,000 fine.

While the media heaps praise his “bold move”, Obama continues a pattern of overreach of executive powers in pursuit of his “legacy.”

Note to the banks: If the credit card transactions bounce, good luck collecting.

Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Today Menendez has an op-ed on the NYPost reiterating his proposal for a better Iran deal.

Please read my article, Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Cuba: “Who fears the billboard?”

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

David Feith tells the story behind the U.S. Embassy’s ticker in The Bare Flagpoles of Havana
Before Obama restored ties to Cuba, he ended an inventive U.S. effort to promote freedom.

Victor Davis Hanson on Obama: Earning Contempt, at Home and Abroad

The Castro brothers just upped their rhetoric, as Fidel demanded millions of dollars in embargo reparations as part of President Obama’s “normalization” of relations with Cuba — apparently to remind the world that the Cubans have no intention of paying back the billions of dollars they confiscated 55 years ago in American capital and property, much less of easing up on human-rights activists. Why would the Castros do that at this point, when no American president in a half-century has been more deferential to their Stalinist government? Is their defiance cheap public grandstanding for the benefit of Cuban hardliners, or a more natural reaction known to benefactors and beneficiaries alike as something like the following: “If he gave a wretch like me something for nothing, then he either did not deserve what he had or he should have given me even more”?

Indeed. When Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla brazenly lied about Cuba and insulted the U.S. during their joint press conference, Kerry stood there like patience on a statue and took it (starting at 12:15 in the video. The video is from Jaime Bayly’s show last Friday. Bayly was incensed.)

My translation:

“Cuba is not a place where there is racial discrimination, police brutality, or where deaths occur from these issues. Neither is under Cuban jurisdiction the territory where people are tortured or held in legal limbo.”

At 13:07, continuing my translation,

“I have asserted to the Secretary of State that lifting the embargo, in our opinion, is essential for having normal relations with the United States, along with returning the territory usurped from our country and [sic] at the naval base on Guantanamo Bay. Likewise, we find it necessary to further the subject of compensation to the Cuban citizens, for human damages and for the economic losses brought about over more than five decades.”

John Kerry obviously knows enough Spanish (earlier in the video he reads his speech quite well) to understand what Rodríguez was saying, never mind that he has simultaneous translation in his earphone: There was no getting around the fact that Cuba is not only not giving an inch, it’s asking for more.

In two words: shameful spectacle.

Capitol Hill Cubans:

Thus, in hindsight, after seeing the moral mediocrity — with the exception of three U.S. Marines — that populated the Embassy’s courtyard on Friday morning, it was clear that no one there was worthy of the presence of Cuba’s courageous dissidents.

Eliott Abrams on Kerry in Cuba: More Interested in Cigars Than Dissidents.

Priorities, priorities.

Cuba: “What next” would mean

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

In yesterday’s post, Cuba: What next?, I posited,

I have been predicting for quite a while that the Obama administration’s next goal regarding its foreign policy on Latin America is to gift the Guantanamo naval base to the Castro’s communist regime.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) explains the consequences this will have for America:

Aside from further demonstrating weakness, relinquishing the base at GTMO would be a strategic misstep of epic proportions for the United States. It would have significant national security and military implications. GTMO is the oldest overseas U.S. naval base and only permanent U.S. defense base in the region. Its location enables U.S. forces to maintain full advantages across a wide spectrum of military operations. It plays a critical role in migrant operations assistance missions and is a logistics center for U.S. ships and aircraft, allowing these assets to maintain tactical advantages and freedom of movement in strategic waters in a region with limited U.S. military presence.

If Castro achieved control of GTMO, what would happen? The all-too-obvious answer is that it would allow him to extend an invitation to one of the close allies of Havana, such as the Putin regime in Moscow or the mullahs in Tehran. If any of the actors interested in taking over the lease of GTMO does move into the warm Cuban waters off Florida’s southern coast, this would provide a direct military threat to the U.S. homeland. Consider for a moment the depth of waters and potential ability for nuclear submarines to conduct intelligence operations or worse.

Two years ago, the Russian Defense Minister stated that Russia wants to build military bases in several countries in the Western hemisphere, including Cuba. Press reports of Russian intelligence ships operating in the waters around Cuba, most recently earlier this year on the eve of U.S. talks with Cuba in Havana, prove that Russia is deadly serious about making good on those intentions.

Duncan does not exaggerate; Last year Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries:

the list includes Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.

The minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.

Duncan continues

Remember what Russia is doing in its own neighborhood for a moment. Vladimir Putin brazenly acted to annex the Crimean Peninsula, ignoring the international outrage, and Ukraine is worried about a “full-scale” Russian invasion. If the U.S. gave way on GTMO, Putin would likely welcome the opportunity to have warm-water lodging for his navy only 90 miles from the United States.

And let’s not forget Iran,

Similarly, Iran continues to test the patience of the international community with its nuclear operations and refusal to cooperate with international inspectors. If things go badly for Iran with any nuclear deal, having a deeper presence in Latin America through Cuba offers Iran options for retributive action should they want it.

Dr Ely Karmon, in his report Iran in Latin America: President Rouhani’s Era points out,

On April 30, 2014, the State Department issued its Country Reports on Terrorism 2013, which stated that “Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere remained a concern,” but that “due to strong sanctions imposed on the country by the United States and the European Union, Iran has been unable to expand its economic and political ties in Latin America.”[2]

Whether Iran gets what it wants on the nuclear deal (which it does) or not, by lifting sanctions, the U.S. has given Iran every incentive to continue its ongoing economic and political expansion into Latin America. You can expect that making a deal with the Castros on Gitmo is part of their plans.

Related:
1. The Deal Wasn’t About Iran’s Nukes

The administration readily caved on Iran’s nukes because it viewed the matter only as a timely pretense for achieving other cherished aims. These were: (1) preventing an Israeli attack on Iran; (2) transforming the United States into a more forgiving, less imposing power; (3) establishing diplomacy as a great American good in itself; (4) making Iran into a great regional power; and (5), ensuring the legacies of the president and secretary of state as men of vision and peace.

Items 2-5 will play well with that Gitmo gift.

2. Raul Castro calls for new Cuba-US relationship (emphasis added)

In a speech to the National Assembly, Mr Castro said that, for normal relations to resume, a US embargo on Cuba would have to be lifted.

He also called for the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay to be returned to Cuba.

The die is cast, now we just wait for it to roll.

Cuba: What next?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

A little speculation on what the Obama administration has in mind:
Cuba: What next?

Today’s big story: Iran’s nukes

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Drudge juxtaposes:

IT’S A DEAL…
‘Smile diplomacy’ secures…
OBAMA WARNS CONGRESS: HANDS OFF…
Gambles on foreign policy legacy…
May Take Years to Pay Off…
NETANYAHU: ‘Historic Mistake for World’…
‘Surrender by West’…
Iran given ‘license to kill’…

‘VULNERABLE TO UNRAVELING’…
Death to America; Deal with America…
KRISTOL: This cannot stand…
House Intelligence Chairman: Paves Way for Bomb…
ROUHANI: ‘God has accepted nation’s prayers’…
Centrifuges Continue to Spin…

IRAN CELEBRATES

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement,

When you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result. From the initial reports we can already conclude that this agreement is an historic mistake for the world.

Far-reaching concessions have been made in all areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability. In addition, Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars with which it can fuel its terror machine and its expansion and aggression throughout the Middle East and across the globe.

One cannot prevent an agreement when the negotiators are willing to make more and more concessions to those who, even during the talks, keep chanting: ‘Death to America.’

We knew very well that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything, and therefore we did not commit to preventing an agreement.

We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands.

Meanwhile, over in Cuba,

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Cuban Dissident Who Warned Obama Engagement With Castro Would Fail Injured By Castro’s Thugs; “this is what change looks like” to Antonio Rodiles,

Carnival to launch humanitarian trips to Cuba

The trips—which are cleared under existing U.S. Treasury rules that allow approved travelers to go to the island for cultural and humanitarian exchanges—still need a green light from Cuban authorities.

I don’t think Rodiles will get to visit with them.

Victor Davis Hanson:

Apparently, the [Iranian] theocracy sees Barack Obama and John Kerry as hell-bent changers, willing to achieve their own legacies at the expense of the interests of their country and its allies — and thus as bewildering and worthy of contempt in a world where leaders are expected to promote their own people’s interests. Expect the geriatric Castros to share the same contempt for American outreach, and to double down on their anti-Americanism and their ruthless suppression of freedom to add spite to the embarrassment of U.S. appeasement. They see U.S. recognition as a big change that will further empower their police state.

Indeed they have

While President Obama described the embassy as “not merely symbolic” and a move representing the liberation of the American people from “the past” in a speech this morning, the Cuban government issued a statement refusing to reestablish full diplomatic relations with the United States until America gifted the territory of Guantánamo Bay to Cuba and ceased broadcasting radio and television news reports into the island, which constitute the only way many Cubans have of receiving trustworthy international news.
. . .
While President Obama boasted of Americans’ privilege to not be “imprisoned by the past,” 84-year-old dictator Raúl Castro assured Cubans in his official statement on diplomatic relations with the United States that the Cuban people would remain in his shackles. Cuba “will continue bottled up in the process of realizing its economic and social model, to construct a prosperous and sustainable socialism, advance the nation’s development, and consolidate the achievements of the Revolution,” the statement reads.

Raul Castro also wants reparations.