Los Angeles Times
The war of words against Iran grew scorching this week when President Bush declared that "avoiding World War III" requires preventing that country from developing nuclear weapons.
The evidence suggests that Bush's bluster is backfiring, causing Iran to escalate its anti-American activities instead of backing off. As the U.S. has sent battleships and Patriot missiles to Iran's neighborhood, Tehran has rebuffed U.S. overtures for talks on Iraq, captured British sailors in international waters, jailed Iranian American academics, egged on Shiite militias in Iraq, told the United Nations that nuclear inspections are no longer necessary and stepped up its own hostile rhetoric.
This week, Iran signaled its interest in striking an alliance with President Vladimir V. Putin's Russia that is squarely aimed at countering U.S. influence in the Middle East.
In the post-Iraq war era, Bush's threats make other nations leery of joining the U.S. in imposing tougher economic sanctions against Iran. Those who opposed the invasion of Iraq fear U.N. resolutions against Iran might later be unilaterally interpreted by the United States as justification for military action.
Should a future U.S. president find it necessary to consider military action against Iran, he or she would need the support of Congress, the military, the American people and many other nations. Bush can muster none of the above. He should stick to diplomacy