President Obama responded calmly and masterfully to a heckler at one of his New York fundraisers this week. "Hold on there, young lady, nobody's announced a war just yet," he said. The protester demanded the U.S. not take military action against the escalating threat of Iran's nuclear arms program.
No such action is in the offing. Mideast adviser Dennis Ross, who is forever counseling administrations of both parties on how to make nice with Israel's not-so-nice neighbors, assures us that Iran will not be able to "surprise" the West during any negotiations. He says Iran is not like Japan.
Really? How does he know that? Aggressive. Insular. Driven by a sense of the superiority of their own culture and religion. Willing to engage in suicide bombings. That's an apt description of the pre-Pearl Harbor Japan, or Iran under the Mullahs today.
The president tells his heckler not to "jump the gun" in assuming that he, Barack Obama, has decided on military action against Iran. "Nobody's announced a war just yet." That reminds us of the slogan of the anti-war Left in the 1970s: "Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?"
Mr. Obama's riposte makes about as much logical sense as that bumper sticker mentality from the Age of Aquarius. Suppose, Mr. President, Iran gave a war and you didn't notice? Starting in 1979 with the seizure of our embassy in Tehran and the 444 days of captivity for our 52 hostages, Iran has been engaged in acts of war against the United States. The murder of 241 Marines and Navy Corpsmen in Beirut in 1983 was an act of war against us by proxies widely assumed to be acting on instructions from Tehran.
What kind of reassurance can Israel take from the statements of Mr. Obama's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Gen. Martin Dempsey said Iran is a "rational actor" on the world stage. If you assume that that means they have taken this president's measure and will act accordingly, the general may actually be right.
Recall President Obama's first act in foreign policy. He signed an Executive Order requiring closing within one year of the U.S. detention facility at Guantànamo Bay. That was more than three years ago.
Gitmo remains open. It should remain open. In one of its last acts, the Lame Duck 111th Congress -- one of the most liberal Congresses in history -- required by law that Gitmo remain open. Mr. Obama's flourishing left-handed signature of Executive Order Zero is proof that you don't need to take what this president says too seriously.
The Iranians obviously don't take him seriously. Neither should the Israelis. President Obama recently told an interviewer from The Atlantic magazine:
We, immediately upon taking over, mapped out a strategy that said we are going to mobilize the international community around this issue and isolate Iran to send a clear message to them that there is a path they can follow that allows them to rejoin the community of nations, but if they refused to follow that path, that there would be an escalating series of consequences.
"Mobilize the international community?" Would that include Russia and China? Sec. of State Hillary Clinton recently called their non-cooperation at the UN on the matter of sanctions against Syria "despicable." Syria is a client state of Iran. If we cannot rely on Russia and China to help us with a non-nuclear Syria, how can we ever expect genuine cooperation with them on Iran? So far, both of these permanent members of the UN Security Council have been busy pulling the teeth of every UN sanctions resolution they see.
Barack Obama may worry about rejoining "the community of nations." That was, ostensibly, the rationale for all his bowing with apologies tours of foreign capitals.
But the Iranian Mullahs have shown no concern about rejoining the community of nations. They are happy enough dealing with Castro Cuba and Venezuela's anti-American dictator Hugo Chavez.
Contrast the feckless Obama administration's handling of nuclear threats to Israel with that of Ronald Reagan in 1981. When the Israelis struck the Osirak reactor being built by Saddam Hussein, Israeli military leaders were invited to the Pentagon. Instead of being censured for their unilateral action, Reagan military chiefs wanted to know how they achieved such a stunning success.
Amos Yadlin, former chief of Israel's military intelligence, argues in this week's New York Times that now may be the Jewish state's "last chance" to stop Iran's nuclear bomb.
We should never have allowed it to come to this. As Charles Krauthammer says, "Israel was founded to prevent a second Holocaust, not invite one."
Now is the time: Let Israel be Israel.
Follow Ken Blackwell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kenblackwell