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Reflagging of Oil Tankers

July 26, 1987

With respect to the Persian Gulf, an Egyptian official says that the reflagging "could put the whole region . . . even the world at risk." A Western diplomat asks, "What . . . if the tanker war escalates as a result of the U.S. presence? Does (the U.S.) become sucked into a vicious and unpredictable war?" (July 16)

At the same time Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Georgia), an opponent of the scheme, says, "If the Administration abandons its commitment to Kuwait, U.S. credibility in the region will suffer." (July 12) And an Arab diplomat is quoted, "(a) cut-and-run scenario would shred what remains of U.S. credibility in this part of the world. . ." (July 16)

And so the drift to war begins--if those of us who oppose the escalation of the Iraq-Iran war permit the credibility issue, which has the trappings of a self-fulfilling prophecy, to paralyze our thinking. The Security Council resolution, with its promise of a concerted international effort not merely to contain the war but to end it requires enthusiastic support. Peace is never easy to achieve--but it is never impossible either.

JANET V. KELBLEY

Rancho Palos Verdes

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