On Monday and Tuesday, President Obama convened a historic gathering in Washington to deal with the most urgent threat facing the globe: nuclear terrorism. Never before have so many world leaders gathered to discuss together how to thwart one of the greatest nightmares imaginable; 47 nations were represented. Though no sweeping treaties or agreements were reached, Obama did succeed on two important fronts. He placed the issue of controlling and securing nuclear material that could be used by terrorists (including al-Qaeda and its allies) at the top of the global to-do list. And he encouraged nations to take their own individual steps. Chile gave up its entire stockpile of highly enriched uranium (HEU), the material that terrorists need to produce a weapon. Ukraine said it would eliminate its HEU stockpile, as did Mexico. Canada agreed to do the same with much of its HEU. (Reducing and controlling HEU stockpiles is the key to preventing nuclear terrorism.) China, Japan, India, Argentina, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Italy each announced nuclear security initiatives.
There's still much that the nations of the world, including the United States, must do to prevent HEU from slipping into the hands of terrorists. (It only takes a lump the size of a grapefruit to make a bomb, and the bomb-building part isn't so tough. What's hard is getting the HEU.) But with this summit, Obama did move the world in a safer direction. He nudged it toward policies that could lessen the odds that one or more of our cities are incinerated by a nuclear weapon cobbled together by a band of evildoers. Everyone -- even people who believe Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim with a covert plan for imposing socialism on the United States -- should be grateful for that, right?
Maybe not. After Obama's summit was done, I went looking to see how prominent conservatives and Republicans were reacting to it on the Twittersphere. I found a lot of silence. Newt Gingrich tweeted on Tuesday about a meeting where he would "outline 2010 and 2012 big choice themes 2+2 equals 4 is key concept." (Don't ask me what that means.) But not a peep about the summit. Sarah Palin, ditto. Same for Karl Rove. These folks are all active Twitterers, ever ready to share their opinions and thoughts in 140 characters or less. But none saw fit to do so regarding the nuclear security summit.
To that list, you can add other conservative tweeters: John McCain, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, and John Boehner. But Boehner did find time to tweet about the possibility that sex offenders in jail will be eligible for erectile dysfunction medication (until the law is changed).
Some of these folks may have commented on the summit in other forums. A cursory Google News search, however, didn't turn up much. (At an Americans for Tax Reform breakfast meeting, Gingrich, while discussing other matters, did refer to the summit as a "charade."
) Rush Limbaugh's Web site
indicates he devoted more time to ranting about President Obama leaning forward -- or bowing -- when he shook hands with President Hu Jintao of China than to the substance of the summit. Liz Cheney's Keep America Safe site
likewise zeroed in on the bow. (It also focused on the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had canceled his plans to attend the event.) I spotted nothing at Michelle Malkin's Web site about the summit. And over at the home page of RedState.com
, a prominent conservative site, nada
. There was, however, a post suggesting that Obama did not really attend one of his daughter's soccer games on Saturday morning.
As Obama strives to lessen the chances of nuclear terrorism, are folks on the right putting their hands over their eyes and saying, "I can't see you, I can't see you"? After all, it's not easy to reconcile Obama's endeavors to save Americans from perishing in a nuclear holocaust with the argument that he's weak on national security. Actually, Obama's efforts in this area might be the most important actions of his presidency. And it might just be too difficult for his conservative critics to acknowledge this work -- or to thank him.
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