If the Obama administration feels that there is even a faint chance to reach a lasting agreement with Iran, President Obama can improve the odds by insisting on a few conditions and satisfy itself and its allies that it has done all it could to prevent the military option.
Positive winds came out from Geneva on October 16 upon the conclusion of the first round of talks with Iran. Not so positive wind came from Iran's neighbors. The progressing thaw of U.S.-Iran relations is worrying the oil-producing Gulf States.
Whether the Obama-Rohani phone call will turn out to be the equivalent of the Nixon era's breakthrough with China remains to be seen. But, as in the case of China, such a dramatic turn of events requires assuring neighbors that their vital security interests will be protected.
Iranian leaders reiterated their political position on Syria as a non-negotiable issue, adding that any military strike on the Syrian government would not only lead to a retaliatory attack on Tel Aviv, but would also engulf the entire region.
The 20th century witnessed a string of influential women who have impacted the world of Western art from Gertrude Stein to Peggy Guggenheim. Perhaps unknown to some even in the arts field, a mixture of native and expatriate women across the Arab Gulf States have also played a major role.
The battle for Syria demonstrates that what started as a peaceful call for change can lead to the disintegration of an entire country, and creation of a new geopolitical reality. If it can happen in Syria, it can and will certainly happen elsewhere.
Most commentators were quite surprised that America's southern neighbor and economic partner did not play a greater role to the 2012 candidates' future plans. It can be explained by both the nature of the debate and the declining role of the United States in the region.
Below the surface, things may not be as quiet as these governments like to believe. In the Arab Gulf states, the core demands of their citizens who protested earlier in the year have so far not been met.
We have seen the deadly results and heartbreak in the Gulf of Mexico from every angle and are shocked and moved by what we see. But is it enough to get us to move from inertia into personal action and social change?