WASHINGTON, D.C. -- According to William Shakespeare, King Richard III proclaimed that winter was the season of troubles. But that was 1482 -- and this is 2006. For us, it's a summer of discontent. If one is to believe the so-called mainstream media, compared to the challenges facing George W. Bush, England's last Plantagenet had it easy.
History documents that Richard's reign was marked by internal rebellion, treachery, betrayal, external threats and war. The king, abandoned by his feckless friends, met what his detractors describe as a well-deserved end in the bloody battle of Bosworth Field. Those who chronicle current events are now forecasting a similar -- though perhaps less sanguinary -- demise for President Bush. With great glee, the potentates of the press point to a growing list of hot-spots, calamities and crises -- and prognosticate gloom and doom:
-- Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, attacked by Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north, is now fighting a two-front war against well-armed, foreign supported terrorists intent on destroying the Jewish state.
-- Iran is accelerating enrichment of uranium despite U.S.-European Union inducements to desist. As he has before, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the radical Iranian mouthpiece, is calling for Israel to be "wiped from the map."
-- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's democratically elected government has been unable to end foreign-supported sectarian violence in Baghdad and is increasingly concerned that European commitments for rebuilding his country may not be fulfilled.
-- India, the latest transit-target for radical Islamic terror, is now confronted with the necessity for major security upgrades in order to protect the populace of the largest democracy on earth.
-- In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzi's democratically elected government is contending with resurgent Taliban violence as NATO moves in to replace U.S. troops.
-- Venezuela's Marxist strongman, Hugo Chavez, awash in petro-dollars, is meddling in Nicaragua's democratic electoral process in an effort to re-install Daniel Ortega and the Sandinistas in Managua. His threats to cut off oil supplies to the United States have helped drive fuel prices to record levels.
-- North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, ignoring the pleas of his neighbors, is proceeding with preparations to "test" more ballistic missiles -- a direct threat to democratic South Korea and Japan. In Tokyo, government officials are "exploring" whether the country's constitution permits "pre-emptive self-defense."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.