December 18th, 2014
11:13 PM ET

Caving to North Korea on ‘The Interview’ sends the wrong message

By Fareed Zakaria

Why does a terrorist threat from North Korea produce appeasement, whereas threats from Islamic terrorists produce courage, defiance and resilience? I suspect it’s because we are fully aware of the barbarism of jihadi terrorists. But we tend to think of North Korea in somewhat comical terms — the odd dictators with their strange haircuts; the weird, synchronized mass adulation in stadiums; the retro-propaganda and rhetoric.

In fact, North Korea is one of the world’s most repressive and brutal dictatorships. Estimates are that it abducted thousands of people from neighboring countries following the Korean War, allowed 1 million to 2 million of its own people to starve in a famine in the 1990s and currentlyimprisons about 100,000 people in labor camps. The United Nations appointed a panel to investigate the human rights situation in North Korea;its report, released in February, paints a picture of a regime that has no parallel in the scale of its systematic cruelty and oppression.

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