An image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen on a car’s windscreen as Hezbollah supporters celebrate in Hermel (Jamal Saidi/Reuters)

President Obama has been quite good for the world’s despots. During his tenure, the Iranian nuclear program has sped ahead, China’s going gangbusters on cyberterrorism, and Vladimir Putin rigged a presidential election and has thrown punk rockers and academics in jail.

The Post now reports:

As fighters with Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement wage the battles that are helping Syria’s regime survive, their chief sponsor, Iran, is emerging as the biggest victor in the wider regional struggle for influence that the Syrian conflict has become.

With top national security aides set to meet at the White House on Wednesday to reassess options in light of recent setbacks for the rebels seeking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, the long-term outcome of the war remains far from assured, analysts and military experts say. . . .

The ramifications extend far beyond the borders of Syria, whose location at the heart of the Middle East puts it astride most of the region’s fault lines, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the disputes left over from the U.S. occupation of Iraq, from the perennial sectarian tensions in Lebanon to Turkey’s aspirations to restore its Ottoman-era reach into the Arab world.

Gosh, it’s just what conservative internationalists have been warning about for a couple of years now!

The Post editorial board meanwhile points to the “lifeline” thrown to Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor (who has been tossing Americans out of the country and stirring up anti-American hatred) while neighboring countries are giving him the cold shoulder. Recall that Chavez was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s BFF in the hemisphere, offering him diplomatic support and banking services.

Well, leave it to Secretary of State John Kerry, who hob-knobbed with Bashar al-Assad for years, to encourage the Chavez-lite president:

One government, however, has chosen to toss Mr. Maduro a lifeline: the United States. Last week Secretary of State John F. Kerry took time to meet Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua on the sidelines of an Organization of American States meeting, then announced that the Obama administration would like to “find a new way forward” with the Maduro administration and “quickly move to the appointment of ambassadors.” Mr. Kerry even thanked Mr. Maduro for “taking steps toward this encounter” — words that the state-run media trumpeted. . . .Mr. Kerry’s words amounted to a precious endorsement for Mr. Maduro — and the Obama administration appears bent on cultivating him regardless of his actions.

This is precisely what happened in the first Obama term when he backed a Hugo Chavez’s stooge and delusional anti-Semite in Honduras, rather than the leader of a broad-based coalition of middle-class Hondurans, business leaders and the church. Eventually, Obama had to relent and back the pro-democracy, pro-American coup leader Roberto Micheletti.

So what is it with Obama and Iran (plus its surrogates)? You don’t have to believe Obama wants Iran to “win” to see that his naivete, determination to avoid conflict at all costs and lack of comfort in articulating American interests and values give Iran and its allies (North Korea, Venezuela, Syria) the upper hand while undermining pro-Western elements. When the world’s “policeman” takes a slumber, the result is chaos, violence and repression.

 

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.