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Diplomacy or War?

Diplomacy or War?While George Bush prepares to make his case for war against Iraq, Tufts experts say diplomatic compromise may be the ultimate solution.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.07.02] While many foreign policy experts believe that Iraq and its alleged chemical and nuclear weapons program pose a threat to peace in the Middle East, few agree on the right solution. This week, President George Bush is expected to make his case for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, which would mark the first preemptive military strike in American history. But Tufts experts say a diplomatic solution -- not war -- may be the path the U.S. ultimately takes.

"The American public is not giving George Bush carte blanche," Hurst Hannum, a foreign policy expert at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, told The Christian Science Monitor.

While polls show that Americans support weapons inspections of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein's possible nuclear capabilities, many fear that an attack without the backing of the United Nations could jeopardize U.S. foreign relations.

"People know it would improve our image with the rest of the world if Bush takes the time to work out an agreement with our international partners," Hannum told the Monitor.

While progress on such an agreement has been stalled for some time, as U.S. and U.N. leaders differ on its language, there are some indications a compromise can be forged.

"Hints at how the stalemate might be resolved are surfacing," reported the Monitor. "They begin with the U.S. toning down its public insistence on 'regime change' in Iraq-a shift already noted in Bush's most recent emphasis on 'disarming' Saddam. Beyond that, analysts say, the Security Council powers are likely to find the language to bridge differences."

The modified language-which would also tone down U.S. calls for immediate military action if Iraq breaks the agreement-should boost international support for the U.S. position on Hussein, Hannaum told the Monitor.

"I think they'll have to back down on wording that automatically authorizes the use of force," Hannun told the Monitor. "That would give the administration room to say, 'We're willing to give peace a chance,' and thereby tremendously boost international support for this action."

That may also ease fears raised by leaders of regional states in the Middle East, who worry about the impact of a U.S.-led military invasion.

"All the states in the region do worry about Saddam," Tufts political science professor Malik Mufti told The Boston Herald. "They would like regime change, but they fear what is going to happen if there is war."

 

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