Wednesday, December 17, 2014
From: Gary L. Bauer
Obama Coddles Castro
Today at the White House, amid great fanfare, President Obama announced a new policy toward Cuba. But it is nothing more than the same old left-wing appeasement.
Obama declared that America’s foreign policy toward Cuba — instituted by John F. Kennedy and carried out by subsequent Democratic and Republican administrations — was “outdated.” The president said, “We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”
As usual, Obama misunderstands American policy. It is Cuba’s failed economic system and brutal political repression that is “outdated.” Our values are not the ones that need changing. Our policies are not the problem.
Nevertheless, Obama “extended a hand of friendship” in the interest of “normalizing relations” with the communist Castro regime. He vowed to open a new embassy in Havana and announced that his administration was further relaxing restrictions on travel and cash remittances to Cuba.
As part of this thaw in relations, the Vatican reportedly played a key role in securing a prisoner swap. I am pleased that American Alan Gross is now free after five years in a Cuban jail. This is a happy time for Gross and his family. But, as usual, Obama is the worst negotiator — he agreed to release three Cuban spies.
Obama’s announcement was greeted on Capitol Hill with bi-partisan criticism. Speaker John Boehner blasted the policy change as “another in a long line of mindless concessions.” Boehner added, “Relations with the Castro regime should not be revisited, let alone normalized, until the Cuban people enjoy freedom — and not one second sooner.”
Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio ripped Obama’s move as “part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants,” adding that Obama is “constantly giving unilateral concessions in exchange for nothing.” Rubio also noted it would take an act of Congress to repeal the trade embargo.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government. . . . Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent.”
Our Increasingly Dangerous World
Internet hacking may not seem that significant compared to challenges posed by Russia, China, Iran and radical Islam. But the current attack on Sony offers a glimpse into the future.
American corporations and the U.S. government are under constant cyberattack. And the people most responsible for these attacks are in Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. The Obama Administration has done little, beyond encouraging the private sector to build more firewalls and install better virus protection software. But the time may be coming when we must act on the Pentagon’s 2011 conclusion that cyberattacks can be an act of war.
The group behind the Sony cyberattack, the Guardians of Peace, is most likely being directed by North Korea. Sony was about to release a comedy about the CIA attempting to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The code used in the attack was written in Korean and is similar to “a presumed North Korean digital assault on South Korean banks and broadcasters last year.”
While we may laugh at the hypocritical emails of Sony’s elite liberal executives, this is a very serious attack — a form of economic terrorism likely to cost Sony tens of millions of dollars, if not much more.
The group has also issued a threat, invoking the September 11th attacks, against theaters that show the film. The New York premier has been cancelled, theater chains are refusing to show the movie and the stars of the film have cancelled promotional tours. But Hollywood’s appeasement sends the wrong message. Caving in to the demands of terrorists only reinforces their perception that terror threats work.
We know that foreign hackers have been probing banks, Wall Street and utility companies for years. Earlier this year, Iranian hackers attacked the Las Vegas Sands casino in revenge for comments made by CEO Sheldon Adelson. Reports indicate that the White House, State Department, Postal Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have also been hacked in recent months.
There is deep concern that the next war will begin — and perhaps end — with a massive assault on the electronic/Internet infrastructure that we increasingly rely on.
The Establishment Primary
You’ve probably heard that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is setting up a committee to “actively explore” a presidential run in 2016. The buzz in Washington is that he jumped in so early because he’s worried that more and more of the establishment’s big money donors are lining up with Mitt Romney or Chris Christie. It seems the primary to decide who will be the establishment nominee is well underway.
We all remember how in 2008 a young man of color burst on the scene, captured the imagination of America’s youth and coasted to the White House amid tremendous symbolism and hope. And of course, the person in 2016 who can revitalize the passion of the Millennial generation after eight years of malaise is. . . Hillary Clinton.
Seriously? If there is anything more boring than Republicans nominating another Bush, it’s Democrats nominating another Clinton. Watch this video and see just how stunned some college students were to learn how old and out-of-touch Hillary really is.
A recent McClatchy-Marist poll found good and bad news for Bush and Clinton as they ponder their presidential ambitions. Jeb and Hillary were favorites in the poll for their respective party nominations. But I suspect that had more to do with name recognition than anything else.
The poll also found that 64% of Republicans felt it was “more important to have a nominee who will stand on conservative principles than it is to have a nominee who can win.” Clearly Bush’s biggest selling point can’t be just a name and his supposed “electability.”
As for Clinton, the poll found that by a 20-point margin (58% to 38%) Democrats want a nominee to “move the nation in a new direction” rather than “continue President Obama’s policies.” If Democrats are seeking a clean break from Obama, his former Secretary of State might not be their ideal candidate after all.
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