The notion that U.S.-Iran tension is rooted in a failure of communication or lack of mutual respect is not the brainchild of the Obama administration. It is, rather, the longstanding and uninspired status-quo position of Washington’s foreign-policy elite. Both the realist and liberal schools of thought take it as axiomatic that frustrations between the two countries are less a matter of ideological conflict than an inability to settle on reasonable, mutually satisfactory aims. This default posture is damaging not only because it has failed to curb Iranian provocation or advance American interests. Its open-ended implementation has had the cumulative effect of shaping the trajectory of an ever-more audacious Islamic Republic. The rogue regime in Tehran that now sprints toward a nuclear weapon while advertising its bellicose intentions is, in no small part, American-made. More than 30 years of wishful thinking have not forced Iran into stalemate; they have accommodated the incremental rise of the Islamists. Since the national fit of hysteria that was Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1978 and 1979 and the ineptitude of President Jimmy Carter’s reaction to it, Iranian leaders have been nurturing a sense of historical invincibility.