By Sig Demling
Speak softly and carry a big stick. -- American President Theodore Roosevelt, September 2, 1901
The current American president, Barack Obama, speaks articulately -- or so some think -- and carries a toothpick.
If there's a Chief of State more scorned than Obama by his Islamic enemies -- who nonetheless grab America's moolah -- that leader must be on the planet Mars.
Every day in every way since Obama's visit to Israel it is quickly becoming apparent that the excursion to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will have the force of some Maori fisherman declaring war on sharks.
Either because he's misinformed by aides -- or just plain stupid -- Uncle Sam's commander-in-chief once again is trying to ignite Israeli-Arab peace talks.
He might as well try to start a bonfire with a wet wash rag.
The Arabs know it's not going to happen because they'll never persuade the Israelis to give up defensible borders (i.e. return to the 1967 lines) although Mahmoud Abbas can dream, can't he?
Likewise, the Israelis realize that in the scheme of important decision-making, peace with the Palestinians will have the shelf life of an ice cream sandwich in the Negev.
What it all comes down to is Iran and Obama's determination to bob and weave with the mullahs like a boxer who is afraid to throw the first punch -- or be hit by one.
While Obama bobs, the Iranians are speedily weaving a nuclear arsenal aimed at not only dominating the Middle East but Western Europe and, eventually, pose a realistic threat to Washington.
Israelis understand the inherent danger in Uncle Sam's endless procrastination. As Richard Baehr of Israel Hayom details it, Iran's nuclear program is not a situation where inaction is tolerable to Israel.
"As more uranium is enriched," says Baehr, "Iran moves closer to securing its place among the nuclear nations."
Instead of endless attempts to negotiate with Iranians who have no intention of negotiating in the first place, it's time for direct, forceful action, but it won't intimidate Tehran if Washington's best threat has the intimidation quotient of a toothpick.
Any judge of "progress" in nuclear talks with Iran would have to declare that the negotiators have struck out again and again against the mullahs' pitching.
Baehr: "Based on the record of the last decade there will be one more 'final' opportunity to settle the issue diplomatically and then another."
And because Obama's appalling timidity is well known -- more than that, appreciated -- by rogue nations they are encouraged to believe that there's no price to pay for their misbehavior.
Exhibit A has to be Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood's domination has turned what once had been America's second friendliest nation in the Middle East into a sworn enemy.
Not long ago left wing American "humorist" Jon Stewart did what he gets paid for; poking fun at well-known characters. In one segment, President Mohammed Morsi was targeted by the Comedy Central host.
When Muslim Brotherhood leaders got wind of Stewart's ill wind from the West, the government issued a warrant for Stewart's arrest and demanded his extradition from America for the purpose of putting him on trial for "blasphemy and fomenting anti-Egyptian sentiment."
One would like to think that there would be a counterattack ordered by Pennsylvania Avenue since it was Obama's backstabbing of Hosni Mubarak that allowed Morsi to become the dictator of Egypt.
"Morsi must know," says columnist Ruthie Blue in Israel Hayom, " that his multi-millions of dollars in U.S. aid will continue to flow, no matter what lines he crosses -- including demanding the arrest and extradition of an American icon."
Islamic aggressors know full well that no damage can be inflicted by a toothpick and that's why Israel must act on its own behalf and not depend on impotent Obama.
The only way to sum up the futile American political bent in the Middle East is by borrowing a kernel from the U.S. Army lexicon and that is hurry up and wait.
Obama pretends he's in a big hurry to do something fruitful but the end result is more waiting and if any bromide fits the president's behavior vis-a-vis Israel it is this:
Procrastination is the thief of time>
In this case, Israel is being robbed of its ability to defend itself against Iran!