The Great Debate
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in the White House in Washington, July, 27, 1965. LBJ Presidential Library/Yoichi Okamoto
The success of any nuclear framework agreement negotiated by Iran and the P5+1 (United States, Britain, Russia, Germany, France and China) this week ultimately will be determined not by the signing of a final accord in June but by Tehran’s fidelity to nonproliferation in the years and decades to come.
President Barack Obama, during his year-end news conference, promised a proportional response to North Korea’s cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. “They caused a lot of damage,” Obama said, referring to the theft and exposure of corporate records and private emails. “And we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”
Moviemakers strive to outdo themselves with fantastic plots, super-heroes and special effects. But the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment this month proves that, even in Hollywood, reality is still stranger than fiction.
Okay, it’s official. Some people may be getting a little overwrought about North Korea’s possible reaction to the release of “The Interview,” that much-hyped movie where Kim Jong Un is (fictionally) assassinated by the CIA, via bumbling patsies played by James Franco and Seth Rogen. Since news of the comedy’s plot leaked, there have been some typically, and not all that surprising, strong words from Pyongyang. Then Sony Pictures got hacked, possibly by North Korea or possibly by someone else entirely. Incidentally, a major corporation being hacked by an unknown assailant that’s either a dictatorial rogue state, or some teenagers who want to watch movies for free, is a much better plot idea than that of “The Interview.” Cue much outpouring of punditry and comment (this commentator and pundit included) on what’s going on.
It seems Kim Jong-un doesn’t like the new Seth Rogan movie, The Interview. Not surprising really, it’s a comedy about a fictitious plot to assassinate him. Now Sony Pictures has been the subject of a massive cyber-attack disrupting the company’s communications system and leaking upcoming movies – no more rogue DPRK nukes to keep us awake at night, but rather illicit downloads of a new version of Annie!
As nuclear talks between Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1 group are extended for another seven months, one issue is sure to remain a sticking point. The most important differences between all sides relates to the size of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.