WASHINGTON -- The glow is off the rose. The euphoria is gone. The thrilled, awe-inspired crowds are no longer there. No, that's not a reflection on the recent Michael Jackson media madness. Instead, it's a summary of the Obama family outing to Russia, Italy and Africa. Other than a week's respite from the deepening U.S. financial crisis, the collapse of constitutional government in Honduras, and staged photo ops, the trip yielded little to give the American people hope that the O-Team comprehends the dangers we face in this world -- or what to do about them.
The trip to Chad and the G-8 summit in L'Aquila, Italy, produced no serious risks to our future -- other than the snapshot of Mr. Obama shaking hands with Libya's colorfully clad Moammar Gadhafi, the usual Euro-pablum about global warming's (now re-branded as "climate change") being "the greatest threat to mankind," and empty promises to do more about peacekeeping in Africa. The real damage was done earlier, in Moscow.
According to White House officials busily briefing on what this week's trip was supposed to achieve, Iran was "front and center" on our president's agenda. But the Russians dismissed the recent "unpleasantness" in Iran and the thought of any action against the theocrats in Tehran before Mr. Obama even arrived in Moscow. As Air Force One headed east, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, dutifully following Vladimir Putin's well-honed lead, said: "If I understand correctly, the United States would like to establish more open and more direct relations with Iran. We support this choice. It would be counterproductive to resort to other sanctions." The O-Team describes this as pragmatism. So much for human rights in Persia.
The O-Team also sought to enlist Russian help in pressuring Iran and North Korea to abandon efforts to develop nuclear weapons and the means of delivering them. About the best they got was an acknowledgment from Medvedev: "We should make our utmost (effort) to prevent any negative trends there." To reassure the dubious, he added, "We share the same attitude toward this problem."
Whether the patently naive Mr. Obama believes this falsehood is unknown. We can only hope that those accompanying our commander in chief know better. In February, Moscow's nuclear technicians helped their Iranian counterparts turn on the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant. Despite American overtures to the contrary, the facility still is scheduled to come fully on line -- and therefore generate not only electricity but also plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons -- before the end of the year.
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.