In Libya, secret stockpiles of chemical weapons are now being found on a nearly daily basis. That’s being taken by some as a good sign. It’s not. In 2004, Moammar Gadhafi famously promised then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he would “turn in” his weapons of mass destruction. We believed him. International inspectors - dispatched from the U.S., NATO, and the UN - verified that the Libyan dictator had indeed done as asked. We now know it wasn’t true. We also know that 20,000 or more man-portable surface-to-air missiles are missing from Gadhafi’s arms depots. One would hope that the economic consequences of just one of these weapons bringing down a commercial airliner might be on the agenda in Cannes. But it’s not.
The hasty withdrawal of all American troops from Iraq has emboldened pro-Iranian Shiite factions in the Land Between the Rivers. Thousands of Iraqis who have helped U.S. forces with intelligence collection, civil affairs and translation services are desperately trying to get out of their country – not unlike the final days of the Vietnam War. Desertions from Iraq’s armed forces have spiked since Obama announced the pullout on October 21. It might be logical to assume the world leaders frolicking in France might take note of the economic consequences should the government in Baghdad prove unable to protect the country’s oil infrastructure. But it’s not on the agenda.
In Iran, Iraq’s neighbor to the east, support for radical Islamic terror and efforts to acquire a nuclear arsenal continue unabated, despite hollow promises of “tougher sanctions” by the so-called international community. Israel – facing an existential threat from the Ayatollah’s atomic weapons – took the extraordinary step of demonstrating how it could respond to an attack by test-firing one of their own nuclear-capable ICBMs this week. The Fars News Agency – an organ of Tehran’s despotic regime – simply noted: “These arrogant threats have no credibility or value to us.” Unfortunately, that’s true. Though the leaders of the world’s leading economies may not be talking about it, the ayatollahs are committed to an Armageddon-like end-of-the-world scenario far more devastating than anything that can be altered by a bailout. But this isn’t up for review on the Riviera.
And in case it still matters to any of our “economic partners” in Cannes - or the present occupants of the White House - November 4 marks the 32nd anniversary of the U.S. Embassy’s being sacked in Tehran and the start of a horrific 444-day ordeal for 52 American hostages.
George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” True. But those who ignore the present sabotage the future for our children.
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.