The defining moment of [Barack Obama's] presidency may well come at 2 a.m. some day when he picks up the phone and is told that the Israeli prime minister is on the line: Israel has just carried out a raid on Iranian nuclear sites. What then?Now, fears of paralysis on Downing Street:
Picture the scene: it's 3am and the phone rings in No 10. A bleary-eyed David Cameron finds Barack Obama on the end of the line. An attack on the Iranian nuclear reactor in Bushehr is imminent and "we need Britain with us on this", says Obama. "We need your base in Diego Garcia, we need logistical support in the Persian Gulf, and above all, we need you to stand with us in the UN."Yes, imagine Barack Obama getting that 2 AM EST call, taking an hour to figure out a plan that involves Britain and... issuing an emergency order suspending the world's time zones so that he can reach the Prime Minister by 3 AM GMT?
I'll grant, it's more realistic for the Prime Minister to be awakened by what would be a late evening call from the President but, leaving aside for the moment the conceit that any attack on Iran would be kept secret from allied nations whose cooperation is deemed essential until it's underway, truly, these commentators are not aware of time zones? We truly must imagine all of the worlds crises somehow occurring between 2 and 3 AM, no matter where people are on the planet?
Here's a wild idea - perhaps they could ask Tony Blair or Gordon Brown, "How many times did the President wake you up in the middle of the night?" Or ask G.W., "How many times did somebody rouse you from your scheduled slumber to inform you of an international crisis?" Nah. Why contaminate this stuff with facts?