There appears to be real progress toward an interim nuclear deal with Iran. Of course, assorted neoconservatives will see this as appeasement or a betrayal or the impending end of life on earth as we know it…but they’re wrong. It’s not nirvana, but it’s a step in the right direction. It may mean that the anti-missile deal that Obama cooked with the Russians, the U.S. advances toward Syria, the internal troubles that the Iranian government is facing, all have had an impact on convincing the regime to cooperate. It could also mean that the Iranians may continue on the nuclear path in a more circuitous manner (although our improved human intelligence capabilities–and, in fairness, we should thank George W. Bush for that–will probably suss that out).
One thing is certain: It wouldn’t be happening if we were still pursuing Bush’s intransigent policy toward Iran–or John McCain’s free-range bellicosity. This is not a triumph for Barack Obama, but it is a small victory. Successful diplomacy is the art of producing small victories and avoiding large defeats.