|"Issue One! Issue Two! Issue Three!"|
Taking a foreign policy turn, the 12-19-2014 episode of the McLaughlin Group touched on three distinct developments, all of which connected to foreign relations. Because the Republicans have not officially taken over the US Senate, the internal federal machinations are not yet on full display, and the Group has praised or excoriated Obama's extralegal executive actions on immigration
|Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro|
I have written at length on this topic, but I would add my displeasure with Mort Zuckerman's fawning over Cuban Dictator emeritus Fidel Castro. The media mogul and international investor described the aging cartel thug as a mesmerizing speaker, compelling and influential, yet Zuckerman did not understand one word he was saying.
Buchanan and Rogan remind their co-hosts that the Castros are political criminals, murders, chaotic types. Revealing some latent foreign policy realism, Clift chided her conservative counterparts reminding them that the United States has engaged in diplomatic relations with despotic regimes for decades, and they cannot start demonizing one country.
Sony Pictures produced an action comedy spoof "The Interview", starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as TV producers who land an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The CIA then approaches the two producers and hires them to assassinate the dictator.
|Sketch of Kim Jong Un|
A mysterious hacking enterprise infiltrated Sony Studios, the firm which produces "The Interview", dumping thousands of confidential, sensitive emails onto the Internet a la Wikileaks.
The same hacking group announced targeted terrorist attacks against movie theaters which presented the movie. Fearing the worst, Sony Pictures cancelled the Interview.
Commenting on this backward move, Tom Rogan was the most critical, citing the cowardice of the company, and the negative precedent which such measures induce. Buchanan also landed on the political correctness which has taken over Hollywood. Movies go out of their way not to offend anyone. Strangely enough, Academy Award nominated films often touch controversial, even offense topics, and get nominated for those reasons only (read, "Brokeback Mountain").
Eleanor Clift and Mort Zuckerman considered the liability of the producers and the theaters should something violent occur at any showing of the money. Clift faulted Sony Pictures for making the film in the first place, since North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is a "nut ball" who had his mentor uncle executed (eaten alive by ravenous dogs). Rogan's rebuttal was well-taken: "That's not your decision, is it?"
I found Rogan's take on the Sony-Korean fiasco the most agreeable and sentient. Sony Pictures should not have pulled away from releasing the film. They should have invested in more security, or reach out to city police departments wherever the film was playing.
One hundred and fifty Pakistani children were systematically slaughtered by the Pakistan Taliban. Rumblings about American military efforts in Afghanistan had discussed the potential blowback in the region for Pakistan. Once a reliable ally in the War on Terror, Pakistan has become unreliable, and now unstable.
The recent attack was retaliation of Pakistan's military strikes against Taliban terrorists. John McLaughlin observed that terrorists were turning "centers of learning into factories of death." There is no greater threat to freedom, prosperity, and democracy in any country than undermining education for young people. Taliban fighters want to undo education and wreak havoc on local communities. Politicians are demanding not just their own people but the international community intervene and stop this violence.
The conflict with the United States centers on Pakistan's counter-terrorism operations, which rely on extremists and Taliban fighters to upset India, Afghanistan, and even the United States. Pakistan can denounce the cruel, callous attacks on their children, but not they cannot justify teaming up with limited terrorist cells to advance diverse national goals out of sync with United States former policy.
Foreign policy received full attention on this episode if the McLaughlin Group. The heated, diverse, and intriguing views of the four guests prove that despite his lame-duck status, President Obama's flapping, and the consequences of his policies, will get plenty of analysis. Also, Obama's remaining years in office now focus on establishing a credible legacy abroad, much like his predecessor. However, the Democratic Party's terrible losses in 2010 and 2014, plus his declining political capital and rising unpopularity, suggest that what little good he creates will do little good for his reputation, or compensate for his growing irrelevance (and incompetence).