STOCKHOLM - A breakthrough might compel a phase of intense diplomacy, giving Iran a pathway to diplomatic normalization and opening the door for grand bargains that could begin to restore order and stability to the rest of the region. A breakdown, by contrast, though unlikely to lead immediately to war, could easily foment developments that lead in that direction, and the region as a whole could be pulled even deeper into the current vortex of chaos and violence.
Part of the reason why opponents to a nuclear deal with Iran are so bewildered by President Barack Obama's diplomacy is because their belief that Iran can be forced to capitulate. They adhere to a George W. Bush administration-era argument: If the U.S. only were to ramp up pressure, it can dictate the terms of the deal instead of having to agree to a compromise. Nothing could be further from the truth. This argument is as reckless as it is disproven. In fact, the reason the Obama administration abandoned this path was because it realized that insisting on Iranian capitulation was more likely to lead to war than to victory.