By Frank Calzon in UPI:
President Obama's good intentions and bad outcomes
President Obama was not looking to start an arms race in the Middle East when he negotiated an accord with Iran. Obama said he wanted to stop Tehran's manufacturing of nuclear weapons. But in light of what they considered a bad agreement and afraid to rely on Washington's assurances, if Tehran were to threaten them, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have begun looking for weapons to deter the Ayatollah's ambitions.
The accord negotiated by the U.S., Russia, France, and Tehran offers little but a hope that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon in 15 years. But here is what we do know: It provides Tehran trillions of dollars, that Iran, the most important financier of terrorist groups, will share with the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah.
Obama also says he had good intentions when he said that Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad had to go. When that didn't work, Obama made a threat on American television; if Assad would crossed a red line by using chemical weapons against his own people, the U.S. would act. When Damascus gassed, according to Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, "hundreds of children," the President failed to act, and the Syrian strongman was emboldened. The unintended consequence has been an estimate of 330,000 dead and 4,013,292 Syrian refugees.
The U.S. accord with Havana is not better. The President, in search of a personal legacy, wanted to normalize relations with Havana. He gave in to Havana's blackmail in order to free an American hostage by releasing four convicted Cuban spies from American prisons, one of whom played a part in the murder of three Americans and a U.S. resident in international airspace by Cuban warplanes under the command of Cuba's then-Minister of the Armed Forces, General Raul Castro. Obama received in exchange an American hostage languishing in a Cuban jail for the crime of distributing computers among Havana's Jewish community.
Mr. Obama ordered removing Havana from the list of countries supporters of terrorism while American terrorists continue to enjoy the regime's hospitality.
And because Cuba's tourist industry is controlled by the military, American tourists are now bringing to Cuba's security forces millions of dollars.
While the U.S.-Cuba talks were underway, the Da Dan Xia, a Chinese ship, was intercepted by Colombia with a large shipment of weapons hidden under tons of cereal. The ship was on its way to two Colombian ports and then to Havana. To maintain its deniability of Cuba's terrorist activities, the U.S. failed to ask Cuba if the weapons were intended for the FARC, the Colombian terrorists.
In 2013, again Havana was caught, this time by Panama, in the process of smuggling war planes and war materiel on a North Korean ship to North Korea in violation of UN sanctions and Washington looked the other way.
Another unintended consequence of the deal with Havana has been the discarding, for all intents and purposes, of the Democratic Charter that limited recognition in the Americas to democratic governments freely elected and under the rule of law.
Washington may claim that it did not intend to subsidize Iranian support for terrorism or an increase of repression, suffering and abuse in Cuba, but those consequences are real and Raul Castro in Havana and the Ayatollahs in Iran have been emboldened.
As they say, the road to somewhere is paved with good intentions.
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