I try not to overdose on the fear factor, but the shocking intelligence failure in the Christmas airline plot isn't the only national security night mare facing America. While we were all absorbed with the underwear bomber, the Iranian nuke mess took another big turn for the worse.

President Obama's end-of-the-year deadline for the mad mullahs to make a deal on uranium enrichment came and went, but not without incident. There were three, none good.
Most troubling, the White House proved it still doesn't have a Plan B, even though its unBush diplomacy has proven to be a total dud. Get a load of the double-talk from press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Asked at a briefing what the U.S. will do now, Gibbs did a good imitation of comic Professor Irwin Corey, without the laughs. "Well, the next step is ongoing, and that is working with our partners in the P5+1 and throughout the international community in looking at the next steps to hold Iran accountable."

In plain English: We don't have a clue.

Unfortunately, the Iranians know what they want -- the bomb. The only question is whether we will stop them.

That's been the question since Obama took office. He promised during the campaign it would never happen, but with each passing day, it appears we are on a glide path to accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton added to the impression our policy is surrender. She also was asked what's next and, though more diplo-speak than doublespeak, served up a long-winded nothing burger.

Here's a taste: "We remain committed to working with our international partners on addressing the serious concerns we have regarding Iran's nuclear program . . . We have an engagement track and a pressure track...

"We have concerns about their behavior, we have concerns about their intentions, and we are deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression that they are exercising... We want to keep the door to dialogue open. But we're going to continue on our dual-track approach."

Gibberish aside, the "dual track" is a fiction because sanctions are off the table. A top Chinese diplomat made that clear, saying last week, "This is not the right time or right moment for sanctions," and more "patience" with Iran is needed.

Not coincidentally, a report surfaced showing Chinese companies routinely evade the three rounds of sanctions the United Nations already slapped on Iran. The Chinese firms sell, among other banned goods, missile technology.

Without tough sanctions and real enforcement, more talk is the only track left. It's getting us nowhere, but it's fine with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime because diplomacy gives it international legitimacy and buys more time to develop its nuclear program.

Showing how they have seized control of the talks, the Iranians even had the chutzpah to set a deadline for the US and others to accept their terms for a deal.

There is no way to understate the danger ahead, yet there is no evidence Obama is alarmed enough to change course.

Perhaps the president is too busy connecting the dots on the Christmas security failure. An Iranian bomb would certainly solve his problem. It would make everything else look like child's play.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist and Fox News contributor. To continue reading his column, click here.