We are soaked to the skin. First came Harvey, then came Irma, and now Jose is on its way.
This season of natural disasters battered and abused us, and had no mercy on others, either. Mexico suffered an earthquake. Tens of millions of people were impacted by monsoon floods in South Asia. All face a long recovery.
Even as we reach out to help our neighbors recover and rebuild from the epic storms, we pause to remember a different kind of disaster – brought on by malevolent ideologies and the people who hold them. This week marks the 16th anniversary of 9/11, a disaster that changed America and the world.
We learned from hurricane experiences, especially catastrophic Katrina, to be better prepared for nature’s fury. We learned from the terror of 9/11 to be vigilant about human fury – to recognize and name those who wish to bring disaster to us and our allies.
The natural disasters that dominate the news have crowded out the other threats we face. They have not gone away.
Today’s great human threat is the alliance between North Korea and Iran/Hezbollah.
Like hurricane winds that gather strength at great distances, Iran and North Korea, though far apart, are gathering and developing dangerous weapons. On one side of the globe is North Korea, busily building its nuclear capacity and missile sophistication. On the other side of the globe is Hezbollah, a terrorist organization proxy for Iran, whoch is pushing toward the Mediterranean, stockpiling arms in Syria on the Syrian-Israeli border. North Korea is a major exporter of arms to Iran, which then supplies them to Hezbollah. There is also a psychological side to the relationship: North Korea’s growing nuclear and long-range missile capacity in East Asia emboldens Hezbollah’s weapons buildup in the Middle East.
Thanks in part to the controversial Iran deal, Iran/Hezbollah has the resources to build a mega military force. Tal Inbar, head of Israel’s Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, said, “Iran has the money and North Korea has the technology … It’s a reciprocal relationship, in which the countries share their military knowledge, and in some cases there have been actual joint projects.”
Texas and Florida will dry out. Recovery will take place. But the threat of a nuclear North Korea allied with Iran/Hezbollah remains a powder keg that must get back on the American and world agenda.
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