As we prepare to enjoy the blessings of Christmas, it is hard to underestimate the enormous gifts we have given to two of the world’s most pernicious dictators.
Under Kim Jong Un’s tree, a free pass to run the American movie industry. And in Raoul Castro’s fancy basket, the gift of normalization: an American embassy, millions in trade, maybe even a removal of his regime form our list of terror-supporters.
Both gifts were made possible by the sad spectacle of capitulation— a colossal give-up on the principles that make America great— or did for a while.
Let’s begin with Cuba, a nation placed in a deserved time-out the moment it went Communist on us, nationalizing all U.S. businesses without compensation. President Eisenhower’s 1960 trade sanctions became President Kennedy’s 1962 full economic embargo, a moment that should take us all back to a forgotten day when Democrats actually took tough stands against evil regimes.
I do need to give special recognition to one current Democrat, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who joined a chorus of conservatives in lamenting the candy store keys given to the Cuban government without an inch of retreat on their murderous Marxism. “It is a reward that a totalitarian regime does not deserve,” he observed. “I think it stinks.” The son of Cuban immigrants, Menendez has no tolerance for the doublespeak offered to support this latest Obama retreat against tyranny.
In casting off decades of moral clarity, the President rolled out an argument offensive to the values of anyone believing in standing strong against evil.
Our Cuba policy that has delivered a cogent message for a half-century, he said, is a “rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.”
The soft spine meets the short memory, with chilling results. So unresolved evils are to be waved off after the mere passage of time? If we are still battling global jihad in 50 years— and at this rate, that is likely— will some future myopic President give the back of his hand to such efforts because no one in his administration remembers 9/11?
He invoked the common refrain of the left that the sanctions “had not worked.” To my eye, they were working great. Cuba is a hell-hole of poverty and human mistreatment, strangled by the Marxism its leaders still say is the way to go. Surely Raoul Castro will keel over soon. Until then, Cuba’s prospects looked bleak, at least until the Obama lifeline was thrown out. Tyrannical partners Venezuela and Russia are imploding. The best hope for Cuba to emerge as a free nation is for the Castro era to gasp to a close, opening an opportunity for Cubans to overthrow the monstrous policies that have choked them since the 1950s. Their hunger to follow that path would be accentuated by an eagerness to do business with America.
Now that leverage is gone. Cuba will soon have a Starbucks on every corner and a cruise ship in every port, its government having done nothing to earn such perks. That government’s prospects for being toppled have just dropped precipitously. Raoul Castro could keel over tomorrow, and the ill-placed euphoria voiced by some Cubans this week would likely buoy the prospects of some young, fresh-faced communist promising to stay the course.
On the other side of the world in North Korea, early trailers for “The Interview” did not go over well. The latest Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy features the story of two journalists who score a sit-down with Kim Jong Un. I suppose hilarity ensues when the CIA asks them to “take him out.”
“For drinks?” replies Rogen in a funny moment that actually made me consider seeing it sometime after its Christmas release.
Well, my time is freed up for other holiday films, because all North Korea had to do to get the film yanked is drop a 9/11 threat into a broken-English threat. Theater chains buckled immediately, and Sony soon followed, pulling its expensive toy from the shelf.
For about a day, I found a way to understand this fear-driven response. Ignoring terroristic threats can be a hazardous business, and our litigious society adds dangers to even the normal risks of life.
But clarity soon kicked in. Nothing was ever going to happen. We’re talking about North Korea. Their history of successful attacks in the United States: zero. Their history of stupid, over-the-top bluster: legendary.
Sony and the theaters planning to run “The Interview”— and the American people at large— should have told Kim’s goose-stepping cult to go jump in the Taedong River. It should be made clear to cyber-hacking weasels the world over that they may be able to embarrass Hollywood muckety-mucks by snooping their private e-mails, but we will be damned if they will determine the movies we make or the movies we watch.
But that’s what strength and resolve sound like, and those are commodities in dwindling supply, from the parlors of Hollywood to the halls of our government. Sony caving to North Korea, Obama kowtowing to Cuba— this is what America is becoming.
We have forgotten how to be strong. Resolve has been condemned as offensive, heavy-handed, arrogant, an attribute that needs to be replaced by the new whims of sensitivity, empathy, and a lighter touch.
We can see how this is working. Jihadists are on the march, from the deserts of the Middle East to the cafés of Sydney. Our enemies do not fear us, our allies wonder if they can trust us.
“Normalization” with Cuba is a government misstep; Sony is a private-sector stumble. America is strong, or weak, as measured by what our officials do, what our business community does, how our people react.
It is tempting to blame this trend toward meekness on its prime progenitor, Barack Obama. But we get the leaders we vote for. And in the private sector, the marketplace should reward courage as well. If we do not lift up those who will stand up to distant cyber-terrorists and Communists in our own hemisphere, our loss of liberty and safety will be our own fault.