WASHINGTON -- The U.S. dollar isn't the only currency headed to new lows. After months of drifting along in "the winds of change," America's diplomatic credibility is sinking alongside the greenback. The Obama White House and the so-called mainstream media -- preoccupied with hoopla over "health care reform," meaningless drivel about the 2016 Olympics and the vacuous award of a Nobel Peace Prize -- barely have noticed the water flooding into our ship of state. Unfortunately, the Iranians, North Koreans, Russians and the Taliban all have been paying attention. Don't count on any of them to help bail out our boat.
On Sept. 17, less than a week before he was scheduled to deliver his Utopian "world without nuclear weapons" speech at the annual U.N. General Assembly seance, Mr. Obama announced that he was abandoning plans for ballistic missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic. Commentators around the world drooled all over themselves commending the move as a step toward building "a new era of respect" and noting that the "initiative" would be "welcomed in Moscow."
Mr. Obama's presentation to the assembly Sept. 23 and his speech to the U.N. Security Council's summit on "nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament" Sept. 24 were celebrated for their "breadth and understanding" and his "appeal for dialogue in the quest for world peace." But the O-Team's careful choreography collapsed just hours later, when Iran's secret uranium enrichment facility, buried in the mountains near the holy city of Qom, was exposed.
In the aftermath, it was revealed that Mr. Obama had known about the site since January. When asked why he failed to mention the Iranian malfeasance in both of his U.N. addresses, a White House spokesman said the administration didn't want "to spoil the image of success" during Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N.
Of course, the problem isn't "image"; it's reality. And the reality is that the Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons has continued unabated for at least a decade. U.S. intelligence confirmed that Tehran was building its underground enrichment facility at Nantez in early 2002. Since then, the U.S., the Europeans and the U.N.'s toothless International Atomic Energy Agency have been aware that Iran has continued to build multiple centrifuge arrays for refining "weapons-grade" nuclear material. An arms-control scientist says the facility at Qom probably can produce "sufficient fissile material to produce one or two multi-kiloton-yield nuclear weapons per 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.