Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto never actually said he worried his nation had “awakened a sleeping giant” when it attacked Pearl Harbor 80 years ago in Hawaii. History should teach other foreign entities the wisdom of that apocryphal concern.

The United States may seem torn by political and cultural division these days; yet this sleeping giant surely will not just awaken but unify and rally with awe-inspiring effectiveness if our homeland or direct assets are ever attacked again. Thus it always has been, and thus it shall be.

If Japan had been content in 1941 to consolidate its gains from a decade of conquest, rather than continuing to try to subjugate other nations such as Australia, it surely would not have felt the need to eliminate the U.S. as a threat to its designs. With its brutal military government having no such compunctions, however, it tried a knockout blow that failed. That failure occurred not because the U.S. was well prepared (it wasn't), but because Americans are so innately capable of wielding righteous might when provoked.

The American colonies, disparate as they were, united when provoked by a British government that did not live up to its own admirable proto-republican standards. The U.S. responded to repeated German attacks that sank U.S. merchant ships by entering World War I, decisively ending that stalemate. The U.S., of course, responded to Pearl Harbor with a mighty mobilization, defeating both Japan and Nazi Germany. And while the U.S. military lost its way eventually in Afghanistan and Iraq, that came only after it had tracked down and obliterated the 9/11 sponsors and their international terror network.

In the first three of those examples, the people of these states (or colonies) were woefully underprepared militarily, yet they prevailed. After 9/11, when our military for once was strong from the start, not only did the U.S. hobble al Qaeda, but it also ousted the evil Saddam Hussein from power, forced Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi to turn over his arms and eliminate his more-advanced-than-we-knew nuclear program, undermined the A.Q. Khan nuclear network, and helped create the conditions for a broadening Middle East peace.

Yet, there are many who say that U.S. dissension makes it unlikely this nation could respond with as much unity or effectiveness as we did after Pearl Harbor or after 9/11. Others write that we delude ourselves by assuming our own righteousness.

Both of those attempts at revisionist history are dead wrong — as dead wrong as the Japanese high command was on Dec. 7, 1941.

On the former claim, the one saying we are too disunited to rally together again, it’s balderdash. In 2001, the U.S. was coming off a nasty impeachment battle, followed by the closest and most bitterly contested presidential election since Reconstruction. Those circumstances didn’t stop Americans from pulling together immediately in common cause. Today’s divisions, deep as they are, would do no worse.

A poll this year found that 78% of people in the U.S. consider themselves “patriotic,” and it is a dead-solid cinch that a large portion of the other 22% would react viscerally to an attack on even a homeland they profess not to love. Today, unlike in the colonies or before either world war, the U.S. maintains the most powerful military in the world (although China is closing the gap). We would start with an advantage, not a deficit, of arms.

Most important, though, are our love of freedom and freedom’s innate rightfulness. Aside from a few extreme antifa fanatics, can we really doubt that any of our neighbors (writ large), the same ones who create a Cajun Navy for hurricane relief or the ones who respond with such generous alacrity to almost any dire need in the news, would see us immediately again as valued countrymen, rather than as liberals or conservatives, gay or straight, woke or not?

While Pearl Harbor will live in infamy for what imperial Japan did then, its example will ever stand just as prominently for the American character it revealed: undefeated, undivided, and undaunted.