Paul Greenberg

"Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow, endangering the global nonproliferation regime, denying its own people access to the opportunity they deserve, and threatening the stability and security of the region and the world."

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

No, that wasn't Israel's tough-talking prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, warning against Iran's aggressive tendencies again. It was Barack Obama addressing the UN Security Council last week.

The president of the United States wasn't the only Western leader objecting to Iran's fast-developing, widely dispersed, ever more hardened nuclear sites. "There comes a time when stubborn facts will compel us to take a decision," said the French president, Nicholas Sarkozy. Things must be moving fast. Even the French have recognized the latest and most potent threat arising in the Middle East.

The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, chimed in, too. "The international community has no choice but to draw a line in the sand," he warned.

Yes, and this latest line will doubtless prove a perfect match for all the others the UN has drawn against Iran's nuclear program over the years. And will be just as easily ignored. For the only thing all these solemn resolutions lack is any real resolve.

Messrs. Obama, Sarkozy and Brown said all the right things at the Security Council. There was only one question they didn't answer satisfactorily: Just who do they think they're kidding?

At this late date, it becomes even clearer that Iran's mullahs are not going to be dissuaded from developing nuclear weapons by oh-so-brave speeches from the podium of the United Nations. For the UN is proving an all too worthy successor to the old, pathetically useless League of Nations, that earlier international debating society.

No wonder the regime in Iran is less than impressed by all these words that are only words. I hope I'm not revealing any state secrets here, but a wide variety of sanctions against Iran already have been imposed by the Western powers -- and they've already failed to stop its steady progress toward becoming a nuclear power.

This still new, not to say green, American president used to call the conflict in Afghanistan a "war of necessity," but now his administration quails at committing the kind of force there that success might require. Can anyone imagine his now giving the order to take out Iran's nuclear facilities? At this point he seems mainly indecisive; overwhelmed comes later. Which is how Jimmy Carter's presidency wound up.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.