North Korea just let us know that it has faith the U.S. will back down in a conflict. Assuming our security experts have fingered the right country, why else would Kim Jong-un have the courage to attack the world’s preeminent superpower on our own turf?
This is not the first time North Korea has challenged us, but now we have been embarrassed on two fronts. A corporation was attacked and our government challenged. A major U.S. studio buckled on the release of a film, a big loss of face for a country that refuses to negotiate with terrorists. Our president didn’t agree with capitulation. We got a vow that America would respond. We can be reasonably certain, as can Pyongyang, that a meaningful response is not going to come. Did the U.S. back down so many times under Obama that we no longer have any credibility left?
We look like idiots: why does the U.S. back down?
How did the U.S. put itself in the position of being bested by a country struggling to stay in the Third World? Simple. We backed down too many times. We can only draw so many red lines in the sand. We can only threaten to get really, really angry once, then we have to do something (see: America Shamed as Obama’s Global Leadership Crisis Grows). Obama blusters. He does nothing.
The Sony hack speaks more to possibilities than the real problems we have not only with North Korea but also with Iran, another country that has achieved new strength thanks to a president who doesn’t know how to defend us. Embarrassing emails and threats are a far cry from the potential for cyber warfare that Democrats will respond to with cries for a massive cybersecurity bill. If they had a little more insight than their leader into how to handle threats to U.S. security, they would be asking why the U.S. no longer poses a credible threat of retaliation.
Hacked computers can be restored and bruised egos paid off but North Korea has nuclear weapons, too. The country’s nuclear tests have continued. Our government still warns about Iran developing its own nuclear weapons capability. We continue to prove we are powerless to do anything about it. With negotiations going nowhere, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk noted in a press release:
[Under Secretary of State] Wendy Sherman and her team are getting desperate, floating these so-called ‘creative solutions’ to hide the fact that they haven’t gotten Iran to agree to a single irreversible step to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons capability,” Senator Kirk said today in announcing the letter.1
In July the president talked about the November 24, 2014 deadline for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear activities:
We will not accept anything less than a comprehensive resolution that meets our objectives, which is why it is necessary for negotiations to continue.2
When the deadline came and that resolution wasn’t reached, we extended the deadline for another seven months, until June 2015. We will still be flapping our lips at the bargaining table when we get the news that Israel was right all along and Iran finally has its weapon.
We have assurances from President Obama about some sort of U.S. response to North Korea that no one takes seriously anymore. He would probably like to forget that big red line in Syria, but how can he? No one else has including, apparently, Kim Jong-un.
UPDATE DECEMBER 22, 2014: Rumors have been swirling all day about the possible source of a North Korean internet outage. We can only hope it was us.
Worst Political News Story This Week published December 20, 2014.