Loose Nukes

President Obama turned from the domestic third-rail issue of health care to the international radioactive subject of dirty-bomb terrorism by hosting a nuclear summit in D.C., convincing the leaders of 47 countries to attend — presidents and prime ministers and kings and queens and a couple of expendable pawns. No bishops, they have their own problems these days. Pretty much all the cogs in the atomic machine showed up except North Korea and Iran, which admittedly is like holding a steroids conference without Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, but hey, it’s a START.

Cartoon by Paresh Nath - The Khaleej Times (click to purchase)

Cartoon by Paresh Nath - The Khaleej Times (click to purchase)

The focus was on security, an encouraging sign, since the global stockpile of bomb-making materials is now large enough for 120,000 suitcase nukes. Which most experts agree is about 120,000 too many. It wasn’t a total Potemkin summit. Everyone agreed that terrorism is bad and nuclear terrorism is real bad, and working with one another is good and they should all meet again in South Korea in 2012 if the Mayans aren’t right.

Took 60 years to assemble this pile of mutually assured destruction. Going to take at least a couple of meetings to get rid of it. Only nine members in the nuclear club right now. But a lot of wannabees. And since you can’t tell your nuclear players without a Nuclear Players Scorecard, here they are, with official Threat Level grading.

WILL DURST’s NUCLEAR PLAYERS SCORECARD

United States. Have weapons. Duh. But we’re not the problem because we’re the good guys. TL: Dove of peace flying under the rainbow of international co-operation.

Russia. Have weapons and big problem. Leakier than a tinfoil sieve after 3 days of target practice on a 50mm range, and the world’s largest source of loose nukes. TL: Giant Bear with flame thrower, roaming woods while being chewed on by Balkan squirrels.

China. Have weapons. Concerned only with economic strength. Need to convince them an irradiated consumer is not a repeat consumer. TL: Drunken Panda staggering through a shopping mall with a fistful of short-fused flares.

United Kingdom. Have weapons. Not quite positive where they are. In the garden shed of their lake-country home perhaps. TL: Your Aunt Gertrude with a bagful of knitting needles on the subway.

Pakistan. Have weapons and worried we pay too much attention to India. As stable as a two-legged stool. TL: Swarm of angry wasps inside a papier mache tent on fire.

India. Have weapons and worried we pay too much attention to Pakistan. Don’t you hate lovers’ spats? TL: Sacred bull in a china shop full of crystal decanters stoppered to the rim with nitro.

Germany. No nuclear weapons. But if they really need some all they have to do is knock on France’s door and ask to borrow a couple. TL: A domesticated wolf on an ankle bracelet, but a wolf nonetheless.

France. Have weapons, but more interested in discovering ways to use them to braise lamb. TL: Carnivorous escargot in a mine field.

Israel. Everybody knows they have weapons, but they won’t admit it and haven’t tested any. Making a scary situation scarier. TL: Tasmanian Devil tethered to a water soluble stake in the rain.

North Korea. Have weapons. But delivery system is a team of musk oxen. TL: Electric Cuckoo Clock made out of C-4 with faulty wiring.

Iran. No weapons, but definitely in the market for a fixer- upper. TL: Cigar-smoking pit bull headed straight for the fireworks factory.

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Will Durst is a San Francisco-based political comic who often writes. This being a glaring example. Catch him hosting Showtime’s “The Green Collar Comedy Show,” starting Thursday April 22 at 9 p.m. And don’t forget his new CD, “Raging Moderate,” from Stand-Up Records, now available on both iTunes and Amazon.

Copyright ©2010, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. Call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail [email protected]. Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at [email protected]. Check out willandwillie.com for the latest podcast. Will Durst’s book, “The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” is available from Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes at: http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/shows/BurstOfDurst.

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The Diplomacy of Change is Failing America

Making Sense, by Michael Reagan

The Obama administration has seen a frustrating lack of progress in diplomatic relations. After spending so much time bashing the Bush administration for failing to achieve unity in matters of great international importance, this administration is failing to realize the types of diplomatic gains they predicted.

Obama nukes

Cartoon by Cam Cardow - Ottawa Citizen (click to purchase)

Repeatedly, anything claimed as a success has involved movement on America’s part, not on the part of a foreign power, be it friendly or hostile. From a lackluster climate

agreement to Iranian flouting of international pressure, President Obama’s vaunted international prestige has proven itself no more than meaningless popularity.

The current iteration of America’s disappointing negotiations involves China. Recently, American officials have indicated China might be open to placing new sanctions on Iran. As Iranian nuclear ambitions become increasingly obvious, this type of international pressure is necessary.

But in complete contradiction to American hopes and the Obama administration’s claims, this week China renewed their opposition to sanctions on Iran. Chinese officials say they oppose Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, but they believe negotiations, not sanctions, are the correct approach. However, after years of negotiations, the situation with Iran has only worsened.

Moreover, in exchange for Iranian oil to fuel their growing economy, China has poured money and technology into Iran. This trade, as well as similar benefits from Russia, makes any sanctions placed on the country nearly worthless without the cooperation of all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

China is not the first country to back out of proposed sanctions. Just last week, the president of Russia told the world that there was only so far they would go with Iranian sanctions — and it wasn’t as far as American leaders has pushed, nor the victory they had claimed. Just Monday night, Secretary Clinton and leaders from China, Russia, France and the U.K. met again to discuss Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Given the extent of the threat posed by Iran, I can only hope this endeavor was more successful than past attempts.

We can not afford to step lightly on this issue. As president, my father knew how to confront international threats. He did not incite conflict, and he did not rampage against the rest of the world. But he made American intentions clear, and he did not back down.

President Obama has scored PR points, and a Nobel Prize, with his emphasis on curbing nuclear weapons. I concur in the assessment that nuclear weapons, in the wrong hands, are an active threat to our security, not just as Americans but as humans.

But my father, Ronald Reagan, showed us all how a leader can oppose nuclear weapons, work actively for disarmament, develop strong alliances, and captivate the imagination of the world, while still keeping America safe, strong and secure. President Obama still has much to learn on that front.

This world is a dangerous place. The threats against us are real. We can not afford to let other nations call the shots. I believe in the value of international cooperation, but on some issues we simply must not — can not — compromise.

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Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is spokesperson for The Reagan PAC (www.thereaganpac.com) and chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation (www.reaganlegacyfoundation.org). Look for Mike’s books and other information at www.Reagan.com. E-mail comments to [email protected].

©2010 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or Web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate. For info contact Cari Dawson Bartley. E-mail [email protected], (800) 696-7561.

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