Over the past few months President Obama has argued that Hugo Chavez is not a threat, offered post-election flexibility to Vladimir Putin, and granted visas to Raul Castro’s daughter and other Cuban officials. It almost seems the president is going out of his way to undermine American strength. He’s emboldening enemies and nations who frequently oppose our interests—at a time when they also happen to be supporting a murderous regime in Syria.
This pattern gives Americans good reason to worry that the president’s foreign policy is either careless or naïve.
Let’s look at the facts:
This week, the president told a reporter that Venezuela’s radical president Hugo Chavez, “has not had a serious national security impact on us.” The President of the United States said he believes Venezuela’s anti-American dictator is no threat.
Just last week a delegation from Hezbollah, the militant Lebanese terrorist group, met with officials in Cuba and Venezuela. Venezuelan officials are meeting with a sponsor of terrorism, but President Obama does not see that as having any “serious national security impact.”
Even the State Department’s website seems to contradict the president’s distorted view:
Since 2005, President Chavez has deepened relations with Iran, a U.S.-designated state sponsor of terrorism. The Venezuelan Government has signed multiple economic and social accords with Iran and has publicly supported its controversial nuclear program. Chavez has defined Iran as a close “strategic ally.”
The State Department further notes: “President Chavez has also reached out to North Korea, Belarus, and Syria, the latter another state sponsor of terrorism.”
In 2009, a cable was sent to the State Department, expressing Mexican President Calderon’s concerns about Venezuela’s influence in the region and the Chavez regime’s ties to Iran:
Calderon underscored that Iran’s growing influence in Latin American should be of considerable concern to the United States, and Chavez is doing all he can to aid and abet it.
Unlike President Obama, Gov. Romney understands the truth about Hugo Chavez. In response to the president’s recent statement, he explained the threat posed by the dictator:
Hugo Chavez has provided safe haven to drug kingpins, encouraged regional terrorist organizations that threaten our allies like Colombia, has strengthened military ties with Iran and helped it evade sanctions, and has allowed a Hezbollah presence within his country's borders. And he is seeking to lead – together with the Castros – a destabilizing, anti-democratic, and anti-American ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ across Latin America.
Nothing “serious” about that right? (For a closer look at the Chavez regime’s impact on its neighbors and the world, take a look at this RNC Research document.)
This is not an isolated incident. In recent months, the president has gotten far too chummy with regimes that do not always share our strategic interests.
The Obama administration gladly gave visas to leaders of the oppressive Castro regime, including Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela. Mariela repaid the favor by offering her endorsement of the president’s reelection campaign during her May visit to the United States.
Granting the visas was so unconscionable that even DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz rebuked the administration’s decision. We rarely share the same opinion, but we agreed that rolling out the red carpet to Communists is not in the best interest of the United States.
President Obama seems equally eager to serve the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, along with Venezuela’s Chavez, continues to support the Assad regime in Syria that is killing its own people.
In March, a live microphone caught President Obama asking outgoing Russian President Medvedev, for more “space” on a U.S. missile defense plan, which Russia vehemently opposes. Obama explained, “After my election, I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev said he would “transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Did he transmit that to Chavez, Castro, and Assad, as well? Either way, they’ve surely received the message by now.