Americans, who increasingly oppose costly conflict, may come to recognize that the U.S. would be better off with a Cuba and an Iran (without nuclear weapons) as functioning members of the international community.
Just as Iran must accept certain limitations for a period time as a result of their past violations and the breach in trust, the West must accept that once Iran has restored trust, it must enjoy the same benefits that all other NPT states enjoy.
It would be great if we could push Iran in a more democratic direction, and have diplomacy address far more than the nuclear issue. But here is why the pretty language is deceiving. We have tried this before and it didn't lead to democracy. It led to war. Remember Iraq?
The United States is on the brink of war with Iran with no more understanding -- or discussion -- than why we are fighting an all-out war in Afghanistan. What has become a national habit of acting without public deliberation is a clear and present danger to the country's well-being.
It is lack of political courage that has permitted this looming confrontation. Only courage and will can bring us out of it. The question is whether Obama can muster that will in an election year when any compromise is bound to be cast by Republicans as a betrayal of Israel.
Obama was supposed to end the Bush policy and take us off of the trajectory to war with Iran, but with a little scolding from Congress and the pro-war lobbies, it now looks like the Barack Obama of 2008 has been put on time out.
As members of Iran's baby-boomer generation such as myself start entering our 30s, we are sending a message to our leaders: we've grown up, we're sick of your empty promises, and we've learned how to mobilize in true Iranian style.