WaPo SLAMS Obama’s Foreign Policy: ‘Lifelines For Authoritarian Regimes’

Rachel Stoltzfoos

Washington Post editor Jackson Diehl slammed President Barack Obama’s dealings with previously shunned regimes in an opinion piece Monday, saying the hug-it-out approach he’s taking will only give them the tools they need to stay in power.

“Obama’s olive branches are lifelines for authoritarian regimes,” the headline reads.

He’s betting restoration of friendly economic relations with the likes of Iran and Cuba will result in long-term liberalization of the country and undercut the regimes, according to Diehl, but in fact those very policies will allow a stream of money into the regimes’ pockets that will allow them to consolidate and ultimately maintain their grip on power.

The regimes will “use the economic benefits of better relations to entrench their authoritarian systems for the long term, while screening out any liberalizing influence,” Diehl writes. “Rather than being subverted by U.S. dollars, they would be saved by them.”

Obama has renewed diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba that have already massively benefited the country and reached a nuclear deal with Iran that will inject hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy by way of lifted economic sanctions. The U.S. gains little of concrete value in exchange.

“In response to [benefits of renewed relations], Castro has done virtually nothing, other than reopen the Cuban Embassy in Washington and allow a cellphone roaming agreement,” Diehl writes. “His answer to repeated pleadings from U.S. officials for gestures on human rights has been to step up repression of the opposition.”

“Remarkably, the administration appears happy to accept this,” he adds, referring to a recent administration official who told reporters human rights aren’t “the first things we have to fix,” and that the administration is “satisfied” with Cuba’s response.

In a similarly generous manner, the State Department referred to forced sex-change surgery in Iran as “gender-confirmation surgery” in its 2015 human rights report published days before the nuclear agreement deadline.

“So the message is: It’s okay to capture U.S. dollars while excluding U.S. business and cracking down on anyone favoring liberalization,” Diehl concludes. “No wonder the dictators are winning.”

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