Now we know that it's actually not so hard to get Washington to do the right thing if the choices are framed correctly. Having learned this lesson, let us apply it to the question of future wars, and to the proposed Iran war in particular.
Speaking as a Jewish atheist, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the pope's appeal to me to make common cause with him for peace. A sus órdenes, Pope Francis. Count me in. The verdict of history has been decisive. Stalin was wrong. The pope is a powerhouse.
The range of problem areas between the West and Iran are extensive -- the nuclear issue, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and human rights in Iran just to name a few. And none of them can be resolved or effectively addressed unless the two sides talk to each other.
On Tuesday, President Obama has a historic opportunity to end the "Iran cooties" policy. Iran's newly-elected, pragmatic, pro-diplomacy President Hassan Rouhani is going to be addressing the United Nations General Assembly. So is U.S. President Barack Obama.
Favoring the pressure track of sanctions over a military intervention, it is not yet clear whether Obama is contemplating a grand bargain with Tehran, but the glimmer of an opportunity seems there. What is certain is that Rouhani represents Washington's best chance for peace.
The legislation would not only signal U.S. regime change policy to the Iranian government -- it would also signal to the Iranian people as a whole that the U.S. is determined to pursue regime change by making ordinary Iranians suffer.
Nearly half of the Senate has signed on to what is nicknamed the "Back Door to War" resolution, which calls for the U.S. to pledge military support for a potential Israeli attack on Iran. This resolution could be a precursor to a full-on authorization of military force.
President Obama's "red line" on Iran -- the point at which his administration would consider taking military action against the country -- has been the reactionary regime's actual procurement of nuclear weapons.
By delaying -- not lifting -- its impending embargo on Iranian oil for six months, Europe will give decisive breathing space to an otherwise constricted negotiation process. The Iranians should, in turn, freeze the enrichment of 20 percent uranium for that same period.
While an opportunity exists to create a permanent solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge through diplomacy, this opportunity is fragile and uncertain. Therefore, what we need now more than ever is patience.
If a nuclear-armed Iran is indeed the greatest threat we as a nation face, that is indeed good news. Even better: Our latest intelligence estimate suggests that Iran still doesn't have a nuclear weapon, nor is it clear whether its leaders have decided to build one.
When our arrogance makes us ignorant to the horror that is war -- WWIII will have begun. Recall with humility, then, that WWI and WWII killed 20 million and 60 million respectively and wounded many millions more.
The current tension between Israel and Iran, including incredibly heated rhetoric calling for preemptive actions and assassinations is eerily reminiscent of the period before the summer of 1914, when the sense of "inevitability" of war seized national leaders.
We have one person to thank for the fact that President Barack Obama successfully let Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu know 'who's the boss' both at the AIPAC conference and at a meeting between the two at the White House on Monday. Thank you, Mitt Romney.
Just as with the lead-up to the Iraq War, the pathway to war with Iran will be paved with false assertions, self-fulfilling saber-rattling and political weakness that might seem insignificant now, but will in retrospect turn out to be disastrous.
Yes, boycott the occupation -- the settlers, the politicians who support them, and the businesses that sustain them. But not Israel itself, unless you think that it is a society beyond redemption. It isn't -- no more than we are.
Largely missing from the recent political debate, until now, has been a full-throated defense of diplomatic engagement with Iran towards negotiated agreements that would resolve or mitigate international concerns about its disputed nuclear program.