Peace is imperative
Not a month has gone by since our "withdrawal" from Iraq and forces in the United States are demanding war with Iran. Despite the deficit, despite the supposedly dire debt situation, these forces argue that somehow we have the wherewithal to destroy another country. We wouldn't have to occupy it. We could just bomb it to smithereens.
The arguments are familiar: we can't let a hostile, fundamentalist regime develop a nuclear weapon. Never mind that we have 8,500 in our own arsenal--which, along with Russia's, constitute 95% of the world's nuclear weapons. Never mind that we've taught our enemies to value nuclear weapons: if you've got one (like North Korea and Pakistan) we negotiate; if you haven't (like Iraq and Afghanistan) we invade.
Never mind that Iran would be insane to deploy a weapon of any kind--nuclear or conventional--unless absolutely cornered, because of the certain annihilation that would result.
What we're really looking for is an excuse to take Iran out now, before they develop a nuclear weapon, so that we can install a government more friendly to our interests. It's "the great game," don't you know. Trouble is, it's played with real people--people with children, lovers, hopes, and aspirations similar to our own. And it's played on a real planet--a planet staggering under the impact of our relentless assault as it is.
Wouldn't it make far more sense to have high-level talks with Iran? To stop harassing and isolating her as an "evil" regime and give her people a stake in a cooperative future? Wouldn't it make sense to stop supporting other oppressive regimes in the Middle East so that we aren't perceived as hypocrites when we advocate democracy? Wouldn't it make sense to use our diplomatic weight to insist on peace between Israel and Palestine, thereby removing a major source of geopolitical friction and despair?
Yes, the road will be rocky and full of pitfalls. Yes, we will have to overcome many differences. Yes, there is mistrust on both sides--distrust that is well-placed given our history in their affairs. But that is the hard work of peace. It is work that preserves life, promotes true problem-solving, and sustains the common ground we share--a place called Earth.
Peace talks are always required at the end of a conflict. Let's try them at the beginning. The world we'll save is our own.
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