The Gulf Wait a Minute

The mere whiff of a deal presses Washington to reinforce its stance against Iraq. Will more troops persuade Saddam to surrender?

Where was the gulf pendulum last week -- closer to war or to peace? As the fall and rise of world oil prices demonstrated, it was swinging wildly from one side to the other. Rumors of a dream -- the release of some hostages -- talk of possible deals, growing alarm at the costs of war, all sparked a flush of optimism that diplomacy could save the day.

By week's end, though, the prevailing sounds were decidedly hawkish. Whatever the conciliatory talk elsewhere, Washington was having none of it, at least in public. George Bush blasted suggestions that a trade could...

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