In what ought to be a bigger story, President Trump surprised many people in Washington and beyond by confirming a report that he had sent letters to Tehran and Pyongyang offering no-strings-attached aid to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Iran is one of the nations hardest hit by the virus. With a population of just over 87 million, it has sustained a growing number of cases and fatalities which is far higher than the global curve. Only China, Italy and Spain have more cases.

Iran's fatality rate for COVID-19 is near eight percent, almost double the global average with 21,638 cases and 1,685 deaths.

North Korea's fate and circumstances are a bit more tricky as virtually no candid data is being shared by the isolated Communist state.

Expert watchers of North Korea have reported that there are cases in the country but the officials there are saying they are free of COVID-19 at this point. There is a growing concern that the impoverished nation will have catastrophic results if an outbreak is occurring there.

President Trump has put all the differences aside and decided that humanity must see this pathogen as the enemy over any differences between nations. It is a step that is being met with suspicion by his political opposition here, and a step that makes me proud.

The suffering in the ranks of the Irani and North Korean civilian community is what matters here. This could be a God-given opportunity to provide a path to peace but while that is not likely and certainly left undetermined, it is an enormous gesture of humanity by the United States.

While it is certainly better for the whole world to be on the same page to halt the advance of the victim count, it is also a move of compassion that leaves President Trump abandoning his position that regional powers should be doing more for the underprivileged ones and that the world must stop seeing the USA as the planet's solution to every problem.

I think this gesture befuddles those who despise him but perhaps it will also help them to see in him what some of us already have.

He is using the might of the United States to offer a helping hand to both states which are a threat to the nation in which he leads. Neither is able to stop this disease without international intervention. It is the right thing to do, even as we find ourselves lacking our own every need to combat this.

A five-star hat tip to the White House.

Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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