Although forging a settlement will require both sides to muster a significant amount of political courage, it is well worth the risk. Obama's reelection should remove some political constraints, yet domestic resistance within the U.S. and Iran could still impede rapprochement.
The main problem I saw in last night's debate for President Obama was his unwillingness to point up the many successes he has had in his last three years as president. In foreign policy, a fresh success is brewing which no one seems to notice.
What seems to matter to Iran's rulers most is not the end goal of weapons, but the very process of tension with the outside of world. If we simply focus on stopping Iran from having nuclear weapons, the regime might in fact stand to gain more in the end.
With much of the population in the country having been raised under the Islamic Republic's counter-hegemonic ideology, subverting authority may become engrained in a manner that does not give the regime and its clerics immunity.
Does America have the guts, and the integrity, to finally help those struggling against Iran's regime? Or are we going to continue to play poker with Ahmadinejad, bluffing our way into a deadly showdown?
Failing to ratify START will have serious ramifications for other U.S. priorities around the world. Yet nuclear terrorism and reduced leverage on Iran are risks Republicans seem blithely willing to tolerate.
And so Iran is backing down. The Islamic Republic does it in its own way, tortuously, but it is backing down -- a fact made evident this morning in two announcements by officials from Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Brazil and Turkey's efforts to find a solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which generated a negotiated agreement with Iran last week, must be seen in the context of a growing challenge to the international political order.