Careless talk can cost lives

Updated: 2012-01-13 08:08

(China Daily)

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To a large extent, the ongoing presidential primary elections and caucuses in the United States have been dominated by talk about the country's economic travails and the stubbornly high unemployment, with the candidates all too often pointing the finger of blame at China as the cause of the country's domestic distress.

But, aside from these spurious accusations, their exposure to the limelight has also spurred some candidates to try and cash in by talking tough on foreign policy.

This kind of saber-rattling bravado is dangerous, as it not only stifles constructive discourse, it can also get out of hand and take on a life of its own, becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Some presidential candidates have publicly advocated using preemptive air strikes to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities.

The proponents of air strikes argue that such military action would protect the world from a potentially hostile and nuclear-armed Iran.

But resorting to the use of a military hammer blow against Iran will not help forge a comprehensive and long-term solution, instead it will most likely spark an all-out war in the Middle East.

While the use of military force can seem to offer immediate results, these all too often turn out to be illusory as there are always unforeseen consequences.

Diplomacy and engagement are the only means to guarantee rewarding dividends that are long lasting.

The high price the country has paid for its ill-conceived war in Iraq, both economically and in human life, has brought home to many US citizens the true cost of war and the awareness that ending a war is far more difficult than waging one.

The top priority for the international community should be to prevent the situation in the Middle East from escalating further.

The candidates bidding to be the leader of the world's only superpower should shoulder their responsibilities and consider their words with care.

(China Daily 01/13/2012 page8)