President Obama met with Cuban strongman Raul Castro today in New York City. The two discussed improving U.S.-Cuba relations, according to the White House.
"President Obama met today with President Raul Castro of Cuba to discuss recent advances in relations between the United States and Cuba, as well as additional steps each government can take to deepen bilateral cooperation. The two Presidents discussed the recent successful visit of Pope Francis to both countries," a White House read-out of the meeting states.
"President Obama highlighted U.S. regulatory changes that will allow more Americans to travel to and do business with Cuba, while helping to improve the lives of the Cuban people. The President welcomed the progress made in establishing diplomatic relations, and underscored that continued reforms in Cuba would increase the impact of U.S. regulatory changes. The President also highlighted steps the United States intends to take to improve ties between the American and Cuban peoples, and reiterated our support for human rights in Cuba."
In defending the Iran nuclear deal to Congress, President Obama and his staff argued repeatedly that rejection would leave America in dire isolation at the United Nations. Obama can now relax. Having used slash-and-burn executive tactics to roll right over a dissenting majority in Congress and a disapproving American public, he can look forward to celebrating this deal with those more likely to applaud it, when he speaks September 28 at the 70th annual General Assembly in New York.
The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?
Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif has released a YouTube message aimed apparently at his American negotiators. In the video, Zarif even suggests his nation and the United States are int he fight together against terrorism: "Our common threat today is the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism."
Vienna With Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif’s one-day trip back to Tehran for consultations with supreme leader Ali Khamenei, it was a slow day for the nuclear talks here in the Austrian capital. Journalists are shuttling back and forth between the press tent and the lobby of the adjacent Marriott where Iranian intelligence officers, many of them posing as journalists, unabashedly photograph and film anyone that catches their attention. I opted out and spent the morning wandering around the city.
Vienna Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is heading back to Tehran for consultations. Perhaps he’s relaying the Western reaction to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s remarks earlier in the week when he seemed to trash the key points of the deal the two sides came to in April.
Countries that choose to host North Korean embassies (the United States is, quite rightly, not among them) take a real risk. Not only is the regime that they serve a horror show, but many of the country’s “diplomats” are literally criminals. When not conducting “diplomacy,” they engage in money laundering, counterfeiting, and drug trafficking schemes.
The recent vicious attack on U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert (he was stabbed in the face in Seoul) is, in fact, not the first attack on an American ambassador in that country. The earlier attackers on Ambassador Donald Gregg’s residence in 1989, however, were radical students with anti-free trade motives. The 55 year-old who assaulted Ambassador Lippert, on the other hand, has ties to radical pro-Pyongyang organizations and has visited North Korea several times.
Amid reports that a nuclear deal with Iran may freeze that country's ability to produce nuclear fuel for only ten years in exchange for sanctions relief, President Obama appeared to soften his words on the Iran negotiations if not his position.