Every president since Kennedy has tried to learn from what happened in that confrontation. Ironically, half a century later, with the Soviet Union itself only a distant memory, the lessons of the crisis for current policy have never been greater.
Today, it can help U.S. policy makers understand what to do — and what not to do — about a range of foreign policy dilemmas, particularly the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program. ...
The best hope for a Kennedyesque third option today is a combination of agreed-on constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities that would lengthen the fuse on the development of a bomb; transparency measures that would maximize the likelihood of discovering any cheating; unambiguous (perhaps secretly communicated) threats of a regime-changing attack should the agreement be violated; and a pledge not to attack otherwise. Such a combination would keep Iran as far away from a bomb as possible for as long as possible.
First, getting Iran to accept any constraints on their nuclear activities is unlikely.
Second, getting transparency measures that can detect cheating those constraints is even more unlikely.
Third, threats to change the Iranian regime now--if the lesson of destroying Saddam's regime after he cheated on accepted constraints and failed to follow his transparency measures was not learned in Tehran--if Tehran violates any agreement are even more unlikely.
Iran wants nukes. Iran can pretend to not want them and we can pretend to believe them, but that won't prevent Iran's mullahs from getting nukes. This effort to believe we can repeat history with a magical "third option" over Iran's nuclear ambitions is a farce.
We'll have a Mullah (Nuclear) Missile Crisis down the road if we follow this template. Will the odds of nuclear war be "only" 1 in 3 or "even" then?