WASHINGTON -- Now that the festivities are over, it is time for the masters of the media to stop asking inane questions of the new folks in town -- such as, "How do you like your new office?" -- and for the Obama administration to get down to work on a clear and present danger.
Notwithstanding the "day one" and "first week" coverage, the most pressing issue confronting the American people isn't closing "Gitmo" or the always ephemeral "Mideast peace process" in the aftermath of Gaza or even "fixing the economy." Item No. 1 ought to be preventing the world's No. 1 exporter of radical Islamic terror from obtaining nuclear weapons: Iran. Unfortunately, the new administration is not off to an auspicious start.
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after his inaugural, the Obama White House Web site announced, inter alia , that they will engage in "tough and direct" diplomacy with Iran "without preconditions" and that he intends to use "the power of American diplomacy" to deal with "Iran's illicit nuclear program, support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel." According to the statement, the new commander in chief believes that "seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress." If that's really what Mr. Obama believes, he is -- to put it politely -- mistaken. This "new approach" includes little more than what our European allies have been trying for more than five years.
The White House statement suggests that if Iran abandons its effort to acquire nuclear weapons, the U.S. will offer incentives, such as membership in the World Trade Organization, new economic investment and normalized diplomatic relations. It also notes that if Iran continues its "troubling behavior," we will lead efforts to further Iranian economic and political isolation. The only difference between this proposal and the Bush administration's is that the U.S. now will have an official seat at the table while Tehran's emissaries diddle the diplomats with deceit, deception and delay.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.