The North Koreans were able to hack a Hollywood film company's computers. That company, Sony Pictures, intended to release "The Interview," a comedy about the assassination of North Korea's Dear Leader. They have no plans to do so now.
The North Koreans released confidential financial data about the company, released damaging internal emails, and when those efforts did not deter the company, the North Koreans threatened 9/11-style attacks on American soil to kill moviegoers.
The Obama administration took forever to respond, and its initial response was anemic. With mere threats, North Korea was able to undermine creative expression in the United States. One might hope the president of the United States would invite the actors and director of the movie to the White House screening room. In the 21st-century, a nation whose average citizen eats bugs to survive brought the American First Amendment crashing down.
Closer to home, the American president decided to bail out the Castro brothers of Cuba. Because the Cuban embargo failed to drive Fidel Castro from office, many Americans have been taught by history professors and news anchors that the embargo failed. Never mind that many of these same history professors and news anchors rooted for the Soviet Union against Ronald Reagan.
In fact, the Cuban embargo, imposed by John F. Kennedy after the Soviets tried to install nuclear missiles in Cuba and then, subsequently ratified by Congress, did several things right. Many communist dictatorships have been able to accumulate vast amounts of private wealth for their dictators. They could then use this wealth to build large armies with vast and complex weapons systems.
Cuba, 90 miles from Florida, has been unable to do that. One of the key tenets of the embargo was to force Cuba to make payments in cash instead of getting credit. Coupling that policy to a prohibition on American banks on the island, Cuba's regime has never been able to accumulate vast capital reserves.
Further, Cuba has had to rely on subsidies from Russia, Venezuela and other nations for its economic survival. The Russian ruble is collapsing, and both the political and economic systems in Venezuela are on the verge of collapse. President Obama stepping in to bail out Cuba at this time comes at the very moment Cuba is facing its worst economic struggle.
Compounding the problem, despite claims of free trade, Cuba's citizens are forced into a currency regime where their access to non-Cuban pesos is prohibited. All gold, dollars and other international currency flows into the hands of the Castro brothers. Because they must then buy the bulk of their imported agricultural products with cash, they cannot readily build up capital reserves.
Now, as American dollars will flow more readily into Cuba while the Cuban people are unable to use those dollars, the Castro brothers will finally be able to reap a windfall long denied them by the embargo.
The timing could not be better for Cuba. It gives two communist regimes big wins against Barack Obama, one of which he gladly played along with. Perhaps our president is just in search of new locations to play golf.
Barack Obama believes the world will be better off if the United States is less well off. He believes the world will be more stable if the United States is less stable. Two communist dictatorships understand this and played our president.
The greatest irony is that the Cuban regime is one of the most barbaric and savage to its own citizens. President Obama's agreement with them comes just a week after wringing his hands over alleged American torture. Perhaps he really is not that concerned.
To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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