Even as we live through it, we may already conclude that this is a crucial time in history, with far-reaching consequences for the future. The “Arab Spring” that bloomed around the Middle East soon transformed into an global “Islamic Winter.” War has once again broken out along the Shi’ite-Sunni divide in various regions of the globe, while conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian one that once seemed all-important have faded into insignificance; one more dispute in a series of similarly marginal skirmishes between greater global forces.It is therefore vital to avoid underestimating the effect of the talks between the world powers, led by the US, and Iran.The meaning of negotiations with Iran far exceeds the fear of the nuclear threat the Islamic Republic might pose. It is a critical historical juncture, a litmus test of the Western world’s ability to preserve the founding principles of democratic society while confronting radical powers that employ terrorism to impose a radical Islamic worldview, denying rights to women and minorities and violating the freedom of speech and choice. The world has not seen such an opposition between democracy and despotism since the advent of World War II.The goodwill the world powers exhibit towards the ayatollahs in Iran is perceived as weakness by US enemies and allies alike. The might of the US is tremendous, but in the global jungle that is our reality, no one, however strong, can afford to seem soft. That is the surest way to encourage the extremists and fanatics to commit further violence.Whereas Putin, the president of Russia, offers unreserved support to the Assad regime despite the horrors perpetrated by it in Syria over the years, Israel finds itself under constant public criticism by the American administration on various issues, even those directly involving its future survival.Many leaders and citizens the world over struggle to reconcile the unfaltering bond between the US and Israel with the willingness of the US to compromise with Iran, the very country that openly declares the destruction of Israel as the main goal on its path toward the establishment of a global Islamist regime.The US and Israel enjoy a steadfast friendship, to which US President Barack Obama has shown himself fully committed more than once. Moreover, during his time at the White House, our cooperation and US military assistance to Israel reached unprecedented heights. We in Israel trust the strength of our bond with the US and appreciate its support during difficult times. We will therefore spare no effort in convincing decision makers in Washington and other Western capitals that enabling Iran to become a nuclear superpower is not an Israeli issue alone, but will affect no less than the future of all free individuals the world over. The author is a Likud Knesset member and chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.