Daily Double: U.S. Caves In To Two Tyrannies In One Afternoon

Posted on Wed 12/24/2014 by

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DeroyMurdockBy Deroy Murdock ~

20120223_obama_laughingStaggering.

The United States of America – Earth’s sole remaining superpower – capitulated to both Cuba and North Korea in one day. Final Score: Open-air Museums of Stalinism – 2; Land of the Free and Home of the Brave – 0.

Obama announced on Wednesday that Washington and the Castro regime would resume diplomatic relations after a 53-year estrangement. This platinum-medal prize for totalitarian legend Fidel Castro, 88, and his brother Raul, a sprightly man of 83, came at a cost to them of . . . nothing!

Normalization might have made sense in exchange for the Castros’ liberating all political prisoners from their dungeons. (In 2008, Obama promised that normal relations only would happen after the Castros’ political jails were emptied.) A strict timetable for free elections might have merited Obama’s move. So might have Cuba’s adoption of freedoms of movement, speech, press, property, and religion – for starters. The Castros still offer their people none of the above. Fidel and Raul get to eat their dictatorial cake and have it, too, with diplomatic-relations frosting on top. Free of charge.

Obama’s Christmas present to these aging autocracts lacks the geopolitical genius and strategic benefits of President Nixon’s February 1972 overture to China. Instead, it’s just one young strongman handing the ultimate bucket-list item to two ancient strongmen. The only strings attached to Obama’s gift are the ribbons around the wrapping paper.

America’s surrender to North Korea and its hackers is even more bothersome.

I planned to write these words on Wednesday afternoon:

Every patriotic American should see The Interview when it opens on Christmas Day. If celebrations with family, friends, and loved ones preclude this, they should catch the new James Franco-Seth Rogen comedy on December 26. A two-day box-office bonanza for this film will signal the world that no one tells the American people what movies to see or not see, especially not a retrograde Communist tyrant and his band of high-tech bandits.

Never mind.

Instead, America did this:

Grab tail.

Insert between legs.

Run!

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s decision to sentence The Interview to a Pyogyang-style solitary-confinement cell is a mind-blowing, humiliating, and highly dangerous catastrophe. Without detonating a bomb, waving a gun, or even showing a menacing face, one or more hackers have told a major Hollywood studio what to do. And the studio complied. Sony displayed less spine than a serving of kimchi.

The self-described Guardians of Peace mocked their name by promising September 11-style violence if the comedy about assassinating Kim Jong-un reached the Silver Screen. However, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told journalists on Wednesday that U.S. diplomats had no “credible information to support these threats.” Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the LAPD both said there was no proof that the GOP (where have I seen that acronym before?) is equipped with anything more destructive than a cigarette lighter. Friday’s FBI confirmation that North Korea hacked Sony elevates this to an international incident. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine Kim Jong-un actually blowing up American cineplexes that show this movie.

“Anyone with a grudge, a computer, and an Internet connection can henceforth block the distribution of any form of communication it dislikes,” warns New York Post film critic Kyle Smith. “If someone purporting to be from the KKK calls the Weinstein Co. to order it to pull Django Unchained from any further distribution, will Harvey say, ‘Of course. We wouldn’t want to offend you nice people’?”

The France-1940-style surrender by Sony and several weak-kneed theater owners sends this frightful message to Iran’s mullahs:

Stop wasting time trying to split the atom. Instead, hire some high-grade computer geeks, tap into the servers of, say, American Airlines, and spill embarrassing details about its CEO and top suppliers. As the blushing and bluster expand, threaten a 9/11-style attack. Offer American a simple way out: Cancel all flights in and out of Tel Aviv.

Rinse.

Repeat.

Any other rogue nation or group can follow this formula.

And what happens when hackers penetrate critical infrastructure, such as the servers of Consolidated Edison or Pacific Gas & Electric? “Follow our orders, or it’s lights out!”

How about hacking into the FAA’s flight-control system? Imagine America without jet travel – much as we endured during the days after September 11.

Sony’s cave-in was not the work of government. In fact, Obama told journalists this about the company on Friday: “I think they made a mistake.” He added, “We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship.” Still, Sony’s suppleness is sadly reflective of too much of the American elite today. And this entire episode suggests how little this country is feared these days.

America’s weakness as 2014 closes is stunning and depressing. We are now Earth’s No. 2 economy, behind China, thanks to the economic meltdown and sluggish growth of the Bush-Obama years. America faces an $18 trillion national debt. Racial tensions escalate. And now the USA has become the errand boy to Fidel Castro and “King Jong Won,” as Thursday’s New York Post described the North Korean sociopath and the huge splash he just made at America’s expense.

What a way to end the year.

and National Review Online Contributing Editor Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service. His column, “This Opinion Just In…,” frequently appears in the New York Post, Washington Times, and Orange County Register, among some 400 U.S. newspapers he reaches weekly.

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