Ed asked this morning if any “preparations” have been made for that meeting of the minds Obama’s planning with Chavez. Given this bombshell, a better question might be just how long The One’s been “preparing.”

[E]ven before winning the November 4 election, Obama unofficially used what experts call “track two” discussions to approach America’s two foes in the region.

Nuclear non-proliferation experts had several “very, very high-level” contacts in the last few months with Iranian leaders, said Jeffrey Boutwell, executive director for the US branch of the Pugwash group, an international organization of scientists which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

Former defense secretary William Perry, who served in Obama’s election campaign, participated in some of these meetings focused on “a wide range of issues that separate Iran from the West: not only their nuclear program but the Middle East peace process, Persian Gulf issues,” Boutwell told AFP.

The Pugwash official declined to name the other participants, except to say they had considerable clout.

Omri Ceren’s righteously outraged that Obama would undermine Bush by meddling in foreign policy, particularly during a campaign when he stood to benefit personally from the results. Fair enough; watch the short clip below from early January to see just how egregious The One’s hypocrisy here is. I’m not so sure, though, that talking to either country had the effect of undermining anything. In the case of Iranian nukes, they’ve been jerking the west around for years to buy time. How do you “undermine” that? It’s a transparent farce, neatly illustrated by the fact that even the guy in charge of keeping the bomb out of their hands can’t get his story straight about how long it’ll take them to build one. As for Syria, Omri notes that Assad’s willingness to chat with Israel sure did seem to Change after he met with emissaries from Hope, the implication being that Obama’s advisors might have promised him better concessions if he held out until The One was in office. Would Assad really need to be formally told that a Democrat would go softer on him than John McCain would, though? Every enemy regime had an incentive last year to hold out on Bush in hopes of a better deal from Obama. As stupid as Assad is, he’s not so stupid that he couldn’t figure that out.