Allen B. West

Geopolitics meets Hollywood: Sony surrender over The Interview sets dangerous precedent

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There’s now a new front on the 21st century battlefield which has just struck deep into the fabric of the United States. It was an attack that even Constitutional scholar and lawyer Alan Dershowitz compared to Pearl Harbor — and I tend to agree.

We cherish our First Amendment rights in America to the point of allowing the enemy to infiltrate our country and turn those freedoms against us. And so it seems an enemy has found a new way to terrorize and alter our way of life — and censor our speech and expression.

As reported by Reuters – and you probably know by now — “Sony Pictures has canceled the release of a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea’s leader, in what appears to be an unprecedented victory for Pyongyang and its abilities to wage cyber-warfare. Hackers who said they were incensed by the film attacked Sony Corp (6758.T) last month, leaking documents that drew global headlines and distributing unreleased films on the Internet. Washington may soon officially announce that the North Korean government was behind the attack, a U.S. government source said.”

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“The $44 million raunchy comedy, “The Interview”, had been set to debut on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, on thousands of screens. “Sony has no further release plans for the film,” a Sony spokeswoman said on Wednesday when asked whether the movie would be released later in theaters or as video on demand.”

Basically, what has happened to America is via cyberwarfare, a sovereign nation launched an attack against the United States and made threats to commit further cyber-terror as well as a potential terrorist attack — and we blinked.

This surrender will have long term ramifications for the future of free speech in America. Let’s suppose Islamic terrorists didn’t appreciate the release of the upcoming movie “American Sniper” and threatened to launch a terrorist attack at any movie theater showing the film? Would we cancel that film’s release as well? Now, chances are I wouldn’t have gone to see “The Interview” anyway, but for the sake of standing up to a 31-year-old tyrant I certainly would.

How is it that the United States has cowered away from a petulant dictator? Perhaps because over all these many years, we’ve allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons.

Imagine what happens when the mad mullahs and crazed clerics of Iran are equally armed? There is a dangerous precedent being established and an example that we don’t want to become the new normal.

Just as Osama bin Laden perceived America after our withdrawal from Somalia after the Battle of Mogadishu — our weakness and minimal threshold for pain and loss of life — it emboldened the Islamic terrorist enemy. So shall this retreat.

“The North Koreans are probably tickled pink,” said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Nobody has ever done anything this blatant in terms of political manipulation. This is a new high.” Sony came under immediate criticism for the decision to pull the movie. “With the Sony collapse, America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very, very dangerous precedent,” said former Republican House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich in a Twitter post.”

And any search of the Twitter universe will turn up Hollywood actors disturbed by this occurrence. Could this be a turning point in our culture that unites the country? Could it be the crisis that does more to bring us together than even the Ft. Hood shooting — or even the abandoning of four Americans in Benghazi?

A Christmas Day movie release cancelled because of a faraway sensitive dictator may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back — even Bill Maher is speaking out against the cancellation of the movie.

Is there another course of action that Sony could have taken to do thumb its nose back at North Korea? Sure, as recommended by Governor Mitt Romney, release the film online and ask for a donation. It might be the biggest online movie release in history.

Consider that Texas cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse said its Dallas-Fort Worth theater would show the puppet-comedy “Team America: World Police” in which a U.S. paramilitary force try to foil a terrorist plot by late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il — which I can proudly admit to having watched at least 15 times while stationed in Afghanistan.

That is the American way — to find a way, never to cower and surrender, and in defiance clearly state we shall not be defeated. However, it seems Sony is concerned about yet another data dump that may cause it even more embarrassment. In effect, Sony has decided its pride is more important than American pride — but when dealing with thugs and terrorists, it’s a mistake to believe they have any honor. I would presume the North Korean-sponsored hackers will release the data anyway to add further insult to injury.

“By not releasing the movie, they won’t be hacked again. Investors think that from here on, further damage probably won’t be done,” said Makoto Kikuchi, CEO of Myojo Asset Management. “Whether that justifies a 5 percent jump in Sony’s stock, I’m not so sure.”

I believe the aforementioned logic is flawed. Japan is well within the missile range arc of North Korea who has China’s backing and is usurping Japanese territory on the Senkaku Islands. And as we’ve written here, the Japanese no longer feel America has its back, which is why they’re altering their Constitution to allow a full military.

We’re now open not just to additional cyber attacks, but also further terrorist threats to force a self-imposed censorship — something which, regardless of the material, we should pride ourselves in not doing.

North Korea won the opening salvo in the newest front of the 21st century battlefield. The question is, how shall we ultimately respond to this high tech Pearl Harbor?

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