Boston Herald Editorial: U.S. Getting Nothing in Return for Obama's Cuba Overtures

Sunday, October 18, 2015
From The Boston Herald's Editorial Board:

Syria gets new ally

The geopolitical tinderbox that is now Syria continues to demonstrate the dangerous incompetence of the Obama administration at creating the power vacuum that has allowed this to happen.

For several weeks Russian planes have been bombing whatever they damned well please — and more often than not that means over the CIA-backed Free Syrian Army rather than Islamic State fighters.

This past week an additional 1,500 Iranian fighters, accompanied by kindred spirits from the terrorist ranks of Hezbollah, landed in Syria, presumably to prepare for a Russian-led offensive around Aleppo, according to Associated Press reports.

All of that designed to bolster Russian ally Bashar Assad.

Into that toxic stew now come Cuban paramilitary and special forces units in support of Russia and Assad. A U.S. official has confirmed a report by the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies that the Cuban troops involved likely trained first in Russia and then were transported on Russian planes directly to Syria.

The Cuban troops are believed to be expert in operating the Russian-made tanks — also already on the scene. It wouldn’t be the first time Cuban troops have aided the Syrian regime. They were also on the ground in 1973 to support Syria in what became known as the Yom Kippur War against Israel. So surely having Cubans, Iranians and Hezbollah in the neighborhood has got to be making the Israelis a little nervous long about now.

And much as this paper has supported a normalization of relations with Cuba, clearly the United States is right now getting nothing in return from the Castro regime for its many diplomatic overtures.

What President Obama called a “historic step forward” and the beginning of “a new chapter with our neighbors in the Americas” during a Rose Garden announcement in July has netted him what exactly? Another ally for the Russian-led battle to save a failing despot.

It would all be rather embarrassing — that is if this president were capable of embarrassment — if it weren’t simply so damned dangerous.