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article imageOp-Ed: North Korea and Cuba: Barack Obama and Rand Paul have it right

By Calvin Wolf     Dec 20, 2014 in Politics
Rarely are Barack Obama and Rand Paul on the same side of history, but when it comes to combating communism both men have the right idea: Let it compete with the free market and allow the best policy to win. This could be a game-changer in 2016.
Communism is back in the news cycle in a big way this week, with both North Korea and Cuba, the last remaining true command economies, making headlines. North Korea is back to its usual provocations, this time over The Interview, a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy produced by Sony. The film, featuring a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, resulted in an unprecedented hack of Sony, releasing gigabytes of sensitive information and intra-company communications. On Friday, the FBI officially blamed North Korea for the Sony hack, reports BBC.
Simultaneously, the United States has dramatically shifted its policy toward Cuba, ending its strict embargo. As Hollywood reeled after hacked Sony e-mails revealed unflattering communications about stars and starlets, politicians began celebrity feuds of their own over Cuba. According to The Washington Post, senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have begun feuding on Twitter over the Obama administration's new Cuba policies. And, as this feud developed, Americans were also feuding over Sony's decision to not release The Interview on Christmas Day as planned in response to hackers' threats against theaters showing the film. Many people, including president Obama himself, disagree with Sony's decision to not release the movie, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Essentially, the disputes over Cuba and North Korea can be categorized as isolationism versus competition.
Many who do not want Sony to release The Interview want to isolate America from the threat of North Korea's shenanigans. While it is understandable that people want to preserve the public safety, changing our daily lives to accommodate North Korea's twisted demands is un-American and allows terrorism to win. Censoring our movies, music, and communications to avoid angering foreign rogues like Kim Jong-Un allows these men unparalleled power and influence.
Continuing to isolate Cuba is similar and hints that we fear the power of Cuban communist ideals. The long-standing embargo gives power and influence to the Castro regime by allowing its leaders to propagandize our staunch anti-communism and not have to compete with our free market innovations. Both Raul Castro and Kim Jong-Un are actually made stronger in their respective homelands by being able to portray themselves as the brave idealists standing against the cruel, capitalist American imperialists.
Our isolationism allows Castro and Kim to control the dialogue at home, spreading misinformation and keeping the masses unaware of the true debate between capitalism and communism.
We should show The Interview to avoid giving Kim Jong-Un a propaganda victory and to show the world that we are not afraid. Our freedom of expression will triumph over terrorist threats. Barack Obama is right that we should not compromise our own ideals. We should also end our embargo against Cuba and allow the people of Cuba to see our true selves and the merits of the free market. Rand Paul is correct that we should trade with Cuba and allow the spoils of American productivity to woo the Castro regime toward reform. We should engage with North Korea and Cuba to help them see the light, eventually causing them to reform for the better.
Those who oppose engaging with Cuba, such as senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and former governor Jeb Bush (R-FL), will have a tough time in 2016 explaining their reasoning. Both Rubio and Bush, especially the latter, are likely to be presidential candidates in 2016 and will struggle to explain why maintaining an anti-competitive embargo against Cuba, which prevents the Castro regime from having to compete with American freedoms and ingenuity, is a better option than engagement and competition. Barack Obama and Rand Paul are correct in asserting that it is better to proudly assert American values and competitiveness than to put up protective barriers.
To win an ideological battle, you must first compete. By isolating North Korea and Cuba, we cannot win.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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