How should we judge the 150-page agreement produced by the foreign ministers of the United States, Iran and six other nations after nearly two years of intense negotiations?
First, let's admit the Vienna Accords have some pretty impressive credentials. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry call them a step toward a safer world and a more peaceful Middle East. But put them aside, as too many Americans do: the Accords also have the strong support of the six other major players at the table - Great Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Spain and the European Union. That's pretty strong. Can they all be as gullible and foolish as the detractors are claiming?
Few people will read the document, of course, including the Republicans in Congress and the talk show hosts such as Sean Hannity, who calls it the worst diplomatic mistake in U.S. history, comparing it to the Munich Agreement, an insult to both the British and the Nazis, not to mention Hannity's intelligence.
Those attacking the agreement are mostly the same ones who told us in 1991 that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was a threat to the U.S. and that his army must be attacked and destroyed.
Happily, the attack proved short and sweet in the short run - about three weeks, and just a few hundred American casualties - but it has proven much more costly in the long run.
They then told us in 2002 that Saddam had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and had to be put in his place again. The paper tigers keep springing up to provide a reason for the U.S. to spend its money and too often its young military personnel, on needless missions while undermining the U.S. role as world's essential peacemaker.
Now, another opportunity emerges for peaceful leadership, and in some ways this is the most important.
Iran has been our adversary - but not a military adversary - for many years. The Vienna Accords offer a chance to bring Iran into the circle of rational nations, with restrictions and inspections not now in place to prevent Iran's development of a nuclear bomb.
As the situation stood, Iran could continue developing a nuclear bomb; under the Vienna Accords, it cannot. It's as simple as that. But more importantly, the Accords provide Iran with incentives to become a member of the world community and to enhance its economic progress, which as we've seen in so many nations, is the best protection against dangerous national behavior. It is quite possible Iran will now join the battle against ISIL and other terrorists in the Middle East, on our side.
Stable governments are the critical need for the long-suffering peoples of most Middle East nations, torn as they are by warfare, starvation and disease.
There were celebrations in most countries when the long negotiations were successfully completed. Those nations see hope, rather than disaster - because they see a chance to end the bloodshed.
About the only dissenters are Israel and Republicans in the U.S. Their opposition is not to be taken lightly. Israel is usually described as America's best ally in the Middle East. More accurately, the U.S. is Israel's best ally, almost the only one, but in protecting against nuclear attack, or any other attack, the U.S. is then only ally another nation needs. The U.S. was the most powerful nation in the world before the Vienna Accords were signed and it will be the most powerful nation after they are finally approved.
Israel needs to be as good an ally for the U.S. as the U.S. has been for Israel. Actually, Israel has the most to gain from a more peaceful Middle East. In its entire 70 years of existence the state of Israel has been in a state of siege. With the seven nations that have signed on to the Accords, resolved to bringing stability and peace to the area, Israel has a chance to see the siege lifted.
Vladimir Putin, of all people, said the world breathed a sigh of relief at the news of the agreement. He didn't know the details but even he recognized the impulse for peace that kept the negotiators at their labors through nearly two years, and then long nights recently seeking a breakthrough for hope and peace rather than continued strife and fear.
For President Obama's enemies, the Vienna Accords will be a bitter dose to swallow, because they are another success in a month that has been very good for Obama.
But most importantly, they are good for the nation and for the world - and for Israel, for that matter.
Should they be approved? Absolutely. The world wants and expects approval and history will confirm that answer.
Millard Grimes, editor of the Columbus Enquirer from 1961-69 and founder of the Phenix Citizen. is author of "The Last Linotype: The Story of Georgia and Its Newspapers Since World War II."