Guess who is coming to dinner with Raul Castro!

As the world turns, we are watching some rather amazing things in year 8 of "hope and change":

First, kids are killed in Aleppo, and those lives don't seem to matter to anyone, especially anyone at the Obama White House.

Two, Russian planes are taking off from Iranian bases.

Third, Cuban dissidents are in jail rather than doing the wave at a baseball game. 

Fourth, Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, is starting off his tour of Latin America with a stop in Havana.  (By the way, Raúl Castro will greet this visitor at the airport.  Unlike President Obama, who was greeted by a low-level Cuban official, the Iranian visitor will get to shake hands with Raúl.)   

Is this how we were supposed to be respected around the world?  Or is this the smart foreign policy we were promised?

Let's take a look

Iran's foreign minister kicked off a Latin American tour Sunday in Havana, saying the Iran nuclear deal has "removed obstacles" for closer ties between his country and the region.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will visit Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela, reported the Tasnim News Agency.

Zarif said he plans to sign oil, energy and maritime transport agreements during his tour.

But the visit is raising concerns with a key Republican lawmaker.

“The timing of Zarif’s trip is significant as Iran could use many of these rogue regimes to circumvent remaining sanctions, undermine U.S. interests, and expand the drug trafficking network that helps finance its illicit activities," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in a statement.

"Tehran’s classic playbook is to use cultural centers, new embassies or consulates, or cooperative agreements on various areas to act as façades aimed at expanding Iran’s radical extremist network."

Save for Chile, the countries Zarif is visiting align with the region's ideological left and tend to have difficult relations with the United States. 

So the Iran nuclear deal has removed obstacles for Iran to develop relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America?  Nobody told me that that was one of the objectives of the deal.  I always understood that it was to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon rather than turn it into an international power using its newfound wealth to cut deals with cash-starved regimes in Cuba and Venezuela.

Don't you love this new smart foreign policy?  I can't wait to see Javad do the wave with Raúl in Cuba!  It will be fun to watch Raúl in Cuba and Maduro in Venezuela explain baseball to their new friend!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

As the world turns, we are watching some rather amazing things in year 8 of "hope and change":

First, kids are killed in Aleppo, and those lives don't seem to matter to anyone, especially anyone at the Obama White House.

Two, Russian planes are taking off from Iranian bases.

Third, Cuban dissidents are in jail rather than doing the wave at a baseball game. 

Fourth, Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, is starting off his tour of Latin America with a stop in Havana.  (By the way, Raúl Castro will greet this visitor at the airport.  Unlike President Obama, who was greeted by a low-level Cuban official, the Iranian visitor will get to shake hands with Raúl.)   

Is this how we were supposed to be respected around the world?  Or is this the smart foreign policy we were promised?

Let's take a look

Iran's foreign minister kicked off a Latin American tour Sunday in Havana, saying the Iran nuclear deal has "removed obstacles" for closer ties between his country and the region.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will visit Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Venezuela, reported the Tasnim News Agency.

Zarif said he plans to sign oil, energy and maritime transport agreements during his tour.

But the visit is raising concerns with a key Republican lawmaker.

“The timing of Zarif’s trip is significant as Iran could use many of these rogue regimes to circumvent remaining sanctions, undermine U.S. interests, and expand the drug trafficking network that helps finance its illicit activities," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) in a statement.

"Tehran’s classic playbook is to use cultural centers, new embassies or consulates, or cooperative agreements on various areas to act as façades aimed at expanding Iran’s radical extremist network."

Save for Chile, the countries Zarif is visiting align with the region's ideological left and tend to have difficult relations with the United States. 

So the Iran nuclear deal has removed obstacles for Iran to develop relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America?  Nobody told me that that was one of the objectives of the deal.  I always understood that it was to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon rather than turn it into an international power using its newfound wealth to cut deals with cash-starved regimes in Cuba and Venezuela.

Don't you love this new smart foreign policy?  I can't wait to see Javad do the wave with Raúl in Cuba!  It will be fun to watch Raúl in Cuba and Maduro in Venezuela explain baseball to their new friend!

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.