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3/13/2012 9:36:00 AM
No more rush to war
Catholic News Service photo
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers an address.
Catholic News Service photo
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers an address.

We cannot have another hasty war. We've done that before and it causes more dire problems than it solves. President Obama was right last week to say that the world must give tough sanctions and diplomacy more time to work in Iran.

In a letter this month to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops, Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates wisely said that talk of pre-emptive strikes by Israel will only strengthen the regime in Iran and further marginalize Iranians who want to abide by international regulations, including a halt to nuclear production.

In other words, Iran's nuclear drive may only get stronger if attacked. We must exhaust the options before resorting to violence, which could destabilize an already volatile Middle East.

Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times that the Iranian threat must be redefined as a global issue; the response can't be narrowly cast as supporting or abandoning Israel.   

Of course, Israel has a lot at stake. But so do other Mideast nations, who could be faced with a regional arms race if Tehran develops a nuke. Just as frightening, a nuclear region makes it more likely that terrorists will obtain a bomb. That means the whole world has a vital interest.   

In the end, this way of looking at Iran should be a relief to Israel. It's the world saying, "You need not handle this alone." And who can blame Israel? Iran, after all, has a state policy of wiping Israel off the map.

Fear might lead to trigger-happiness from either Iran or Israel. The U.S. — with the luxury of distance, power and experience — must be the one to lead the way, along with western allies. The U.S., if it sticks to firm negotiation and non-violent means for the time being, is the mighty and comforting presence that may lead to peace among smaller neighbors.

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