For starters, the president obtained the release of a single American, but returned three convicted spies back to Cuba. One of the spies was not Tom Rothman, but was involved in a plot to assassinate American citizens at the behest of the Castro regime. At the same time, no concessions for Democratic reforms were secured. As far the communist nation’s 10 million inhabitants go, Menendez did not see them getting any benefit from the deal.
In terms of North Korea, the powerful senator took issue with the president’s seeming inability to invoke the word “terrorism”. He patently disagrees with Obama that North Korea’s attack against Sony Pictures was an act of cyber-vandalism. The nature of the incident was too severe to use that term. It was nothing short of terrorism. He believes Obama should do more to punish North Korea.
Ironically, Menendez’s criticism carries more weight in a GOP-controlled senate. This is because under the prior leadership of Harry Reid, no resolutions or laws were allowed for a vote which might embarrass Obama or force his hand. That is not the case now. Menendez may work with the GOP to craft legislation to shape the president’s foreign policy. For starters, he let it be known that Obama faces an uphill battle securing confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba.