There were no bright explosions lighting up the horizon, but this week's coordinated deployment of U.S. diplomats as well as military, intelligence and political leaders -- all warning of dire consequences for a defiant Iranian regime -- amounted to an Obama-style re-enactment of the Shock and Awe tactics made famous during the opening salvo of the war in Iraq.
The tactically synchronized detonations of tough talk were accompanied by a loud blast from Washington, where one administration official openly considered the possibility of regime change in Iran. But it was the Middle East that saw a swarm of high-ranking members of the Obama team, all making the case for facing up to Tehran through hard-hitting economic sanctions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Undersecretary of State William Burns visited Beirut and Damascus. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen went to Israel, Egypt and Jordan, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin headed to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other points in the region.
If there were no actual bombs exploding, there was an inescapable barrage of dramatic headlines and striking sound bites that Iran -- and all its neighbors -- heard, loud and clear. So clear, in fact, that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad felt obliged to issue his own counter-threat, saying that any country that imposes sanctions on Iran will "regret" the move. At the same time, he proffered Tehran's perennial claim that the West's proposal of sending Iran's uranium abroad for enrichment might still work.