by Ben Cohen
I don't agree with Andrew Sullivan's somewhat sugarcoated analysis of America's geo-political power plays (according to Sullivan, the Obama Presidency now seems to make America the good guy and Iran the bad guy regardless of the history), but he makes a valid point that Obama's handling of international politics is far more sophisticated than his predecessors.
Obama has drastically cut down the rhetoric against Iran, and is allowing other countries to apply more pressure on them to come clean about their nuclear aspirations. Moving away from the hyper aggressive policies of the Bush Administration will hopefully allow Iran to come to the table and negotiate, and the chance of substantive action is improved.
On a side note, from any sane perspective, Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons/power is entirely rational. Given the U.S has invaded two of its neighbors and threatened it with obliteration on numerous occasions, they would be crazy not to want nuclear weapons. This isn't to say that anyone wants the Iranians to go nuclear (quite clearly a very bad idea), but you can see where they are coming from.
However, Sullivan is on the money when he says that Obama's politics of reconciliation and cooperation are paying dividends internationally, and hopefully, it will give the Iranians a way of dropping their plans for nuclear weapons while saving enough face at home.