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International Cooperation on the Big Threats

Iran is building a nuclear capability and threatens the destruction of Israel while it funds, arms and trains Hamas and Hezbollah – enemies of Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt and large parts of Lebanon. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a forum in Chicago, “Iran is the one that concerns me the most because there don’t seem to be good options [or a scenario] where one can have any optimism that good options will be found.

Iran is building a nuclear capability and threatens the destruction of Israel while it funds, arms and trains Hamas and Hezbollah – enemies of Israel, the Gulf States, Egypt and large parts of Lebanon. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a forum in Chicago, “Iran is the one that concerns me the most because there don’t seem to be good options [or a scenario] where one can have any optimism that good options will be found. [Part of the problem is the] inability of the international community to affect their determination to do that.” Gates, according to Agence France Presse, said he has struggled to convince other nations, particularly Russia, that the situation does not only threaten the United States.

Not to mention electoral fraud or the treatment of citizens by the local constabulary.

Yet Secretary of State Clinton said of Iran this week, “We will still hold the door open” to talks, although “we also have made it clear that we will take action, as I’ve said time and time again, crippling action…”

This does not appear to mean military action and apparently does not mean that Iran has to actually stop doing anything. To avoid what Mrs. Clinton called “crippling action” (probably more sanctions, watered down to the lowest common denominator, i.e., Russia), President Obama said as he left the G-8 meeting, “We will re-evaluate Iran’s posture toward negotiating the cessation of a nuclear weapons policy.”

So Iran has only to change its posture toward “negotiating the cessation” of its 30-year quest for nuclear weapons? And not now – it will come up for discussion when the G-8 meets again in September. Move along, folks, nothing to watch here.

North Korea has nuclear capability, proliferates nuclear-related equipment and technology to Syria, Iran and who-knows-where-else, and is shooting multi-stage missiles over Japan and toward Hawaii. Its citizens are dying by the hundreds and thousands in North Korean gulags. Mrs. Clinton said of North Korea this week, “What we’ve seen is this constant demand for attention… Maybe it’s the mother in me, the experience I’ve had with small children and teen-agers and people who are demanding attention: Don’t give it to them.”

No big deal folks, just adolescent angst.

On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton called Honduran President Micheletti this week to say there would be “serious consequences” if his government did not accept the return of Manuel Zelaya who was ousted as president on the 1st of July for thwarting his country’s supreme court and legislature. The EU suspended $93.1 million in aid to Honduras and the White House suspended $16.5 million in military aid. U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens told Honduran business leaders they could face “tough sanctions” following the hold that has been already placed on about $180 million in development aid. Still in the U.S. pocket is the threat to cut off trade and remittances. Talk about “crippling action.”

All of this concerted effort to punish Honduras. It’s amazing how fast the United States and our European friends can move against a small, poor country trying to maintain rule of law and uphold its constitution in the face of aggressive radical populism funded by Hugo Ch├ívez. Less than three weeks and Honduras faces ruin for not jumping through the hoops set by the Obama Administration and the EU at the behest of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

At least we know where they think the big threats are.