Russian President Vladimir Putin is exploiting American weakness in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, while China, Iran and North Korea are acting aggressively with little apparent pushback.

President Barack Obama’s words are confronting deeds, and deeds are winning.

Meanwhile, 94.6 million Americans are not in the workforce, which makes a mockery of reported unemployment rates — something everybody’s favorite socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, continues pointing out as he seeks the Democratic presidential nomination.

And the party’s frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, keeps slipping in the polls in critical primary states, with The Wall Street Journal reporting Oct. 3 that some of her donors are defecting to Vice President Joe Biden even before he enters the race.

At the same time, authorities checking into her emails as secretary of state have found hundreds that contained classified information that was secret from the very beginning.

Now, both Obama and Clinton are making a big fuss over an issue that’s going nowhere. Of course, it’s gun control, which has very little to do with guns, but a great deal to do with control.

Whenever there’s a widely covered crime involving firearms, as there was in Oregon last week, the left wants to punish the 99.99 percent of the population that had nothing to do with it. Demonizing the National Rifle Association, the nation’s oldest and largest firearms civil rights group, is part of the campaign.

Why do politicians who never venture outdoors without dozens of armed guards want to disarm everyone else? As Internet news maven Matt Drudge said this week, if guns don’t protect people, let’s disband the Secret Service and save some tax dollars.

So we endure a massive shout of “Look, a squirrel!” as Obama ducks accountability and Clinton struggles to prove she’s left-wing enough to win back some of the hard-core support she’s lost to Sanders, who faithfully represents the original no-gun-permits-required state.

With the motives established, let’s examine the arguments.

Obama blamed “weak” gun laws and cited the experience of Britain and Australia as worthy examples.

Both nations have no constitutional protections for firearms ownership and conducted broad programs of gun confiscation in recent decades.

Leaving the Second Amendment aside — which no one will — there are as many private firearms in America as there are people, about 320 million. If we can’t deport 11 million illegal aliens, how can we confiscate 30 times as many guns?

The idea of legions of armed federal agents searching house-to-house all across America should be daunting even to a liberal, but apparently it isn’t. But then, they aren’t serious about it, so who cares?

An Obama spokesman said the president was considering “executive actions” in lieu of actually making an argument Americans could respect (certainly it wouldn’t be the first time for that), while Clinton proposed a four-point plan she also wants to impose without involving Congress.

It includes holding “high-volume” private gun sellers to the same standards as licensed gun dealers (who, by the way, must conduct background checks even at gun shows); expanding gun prohibitions to a wider group of “domestic abusers”; ending the provision that a gun sale can be completed if a background check isn’t finalized in three days (the law already says the gun must be confiscated if the sale is later proved invalid); and least justifiable of all, allowing gun manufacturers to be sued if their products are used in crimes.

If a badly made product injures someone, the maker is already liable. But what would happen if General Motors could be held responsible if a drunk in a Chevy ran down a pedestrian?

Any product that has a legal use could be driven from the marketplace if its makers were liable for illegal uses. But that may be the whole idea.

None of these proposals would have prevented the Oregon shooter from getting his guns (Oregon already mandates checks for all sales); firearm crime rates are dropping even as gun ownership soars; and prison interviews show criminals aren’t gun show patrons.

Instead, they get guns from friends, or pay someone who can pass a background check to buy them (“straw purchases”), or steal them — all of which are already illegal.

Want two reforms that will really work? First, do a better job of identifying the mentally ill loners who match the mass murderer profile, and get them help.

Then recognize that the vast majority of recent mass shootings occurred in venues where guns were banned. The Oregon school where the latest atrocity took place had one security guard — and he was unarmed.

Put armed professional guards and well-trained volunteer staffers in public schools, and everywhere else, take down the useless “gun-free zone” signs and let those who obey the law possess the only effective instruments by which they can defend themselves.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. Email at: [email protected].

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