The best America can do is to treat Iran the way it treated South Africa or Communist Eastern Europe, building an international consensus among democracies on isolating them while offering an olive branch to keep local populations yearning for change. Already, America's recent conciliatory stance on Iran, and Iran's aggressive responses, have put us in a stronger diplomatic position. The question is whether Americans can muster the patience to support this kind of policy, or whether we will view it as "weak". The policy itself—isolation, containment, deterrence, offers of friendship if freedom breaks out—is little different from the way America treated the Soviet bloc in the 1980s; Ronald Reagan never called for air strikes on Poland. But in the current political alignment, the temptation for the opposition to slam the president for "losing Iran" if sanctions don't produce quick results may be too strong to resist.
Look, either put your money where your mouth is, or shut up, hawks. Either say that you're willing to start World War III, or get off it. Either admit that you'd be fine with the untold number of U.S. Army (and Iranian civilian) casualties we'd incur if we were actually willing to follow through with your implications, or shove it down your war-holes. Weak, my ass. Suit up or SHUT THE FUCK UP, GODDAMMIT. How are we going to afford this aggression anyway? Take healthcare reform and multiply that times a billion and it would roughly be the cost of occupying Afghanistan, Iraq, AND IRAN. And what's more, some of you know that. I'm so sick of hearing this. Growling and waving your dick at a perceived threat is not a way to achieve nuclear surrender. MORONS.