Two cold war holdovers are in the news these days, and there are object lessons to be had from both. Let’s start with Cuba. Notwithstanding the hysteria from a certain part of the Cuban-American community and the bizarre political hodge-podge of antis to the opening of relations with Cuba, fifty years of isolation has got to be enough. I particularly like Jeb Bush’s strong, if slightly awkwardly worded, call for strengthened sanctions, and calling the raprochement an executive overreach, when it turns out that he worked for a bank that was fined repeatedly for breaching the sanctions in the past 15 years. Oh, and then the announcement that he and the bank would part ways in the next two weeks. I guess he didn’t get the message that this agreement was orchestrated by Pope Francis of all people, Can we all agree that Cuba has been punished enough and that we ought to act like grownups?
North Korea is a trickier case. This country is in a quasi-time warp, with the totalitarianism that has been rejected by the USSR (may it rest in peace, pace Vladimir Putin) and in the main by China. I say quasi because it has been training its cyberbullies in China and Russia, not exactly available during the heart of the cold war. Their cyber attack was wrong, their attempt to stifle free speech was wrong, and their threats against movie theaters was wrong. I think we can all agree.
But, and you knew there was a but, what do you think we would do if we found out that a foreign country, say Russia or Iran, take your pick, made a slapstick comedy about infiltrating the United States and killing the president? And found that that country believed the thought of killing the American president was hilarious? Would we be offended? Would certain odd groups of specific cyber proclivities decide that the appropriate remedy was hacking the movie maker and scaring the bejeezus out of that company? In other words, let’s walk a mile in their shoes before we shoot. And remember, They don’t care about our freedom of speech.