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Why in the world can't we all just listen to one another?

October 01, 2006|by LINDA DUFFIELD

Commentary

Here were some of the news stories that came across The Associated Press wire in roughly a six-hour period on Tuesday.

· UNITED NATIONS - North Korea blames U.S. for breakdown in nuclear talks and shuns further negotiations.

· MANCHESTER, England - British Prime Minister Tony Blair says it is sometimes hard to be the United States' strongest ally.

· MOSCOW - Reports: Russia to ship fuel for Iranian nuclear plant by March.

· LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan - Suicide bombing outside governor's compound in southern Afghanistan kills 18.

· WASHINGTON - President Bush said it is naive and a mistake to think that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism, as a key portion of a national intelligence assessment by his own administration suggests.

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I think it's safe to say that the world news is not good. It is, in fact, scary.

I don't care where you are on the political spectrum, I think we all have to stop, take a deep breath and try to figure out what's best for this country, for the world and for future generations.

In addition to the situations in North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, it's worth considering that a number of South American countries aren't too pleased with the United States these days. Not the least of those is Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, who did not mince words in his Sept. 20 speech to the United Nations.

I don't want to get into who is right and who is wrong.

Like everyone else, I have an opinion on whether the war in Iraq has made us more or less likely to be attacked by terrorists, whether we should negotiate with the Iranians, whether we should find out what North Korea really wants. But to argue those points is futile.

I would, however, like to suggest that no country, no matter how strong and/or right, can take on the whole world.

We're not doing that yet, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of interest on the part of our leaders in Washington to find ways to get along with other countries.

Diplomacy seems to be a dead art, unless there's a lot more going on behind the scenes that can be discerned from news reports. You gotta hope.

Some of my younger years were spent worrying about the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union.

I was of the generation when schools had drills in which children got under their desks in the classroom, simulating actions we would be expected to take in case of a nuclear attack.

Yeah, right.

We were naive. We all know, now, that getting under a desk would be no protection from Armageddon.

But, hey, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Cold War threats seemed to diminish.

Now, here we are again, in a world so unstable that I'm not sure which country or insurgent group poses the biggest threat.

I do not intend to let the fear of oblivion bother me again. Once was enough.

But I do wish world leaders, including ours, would get together and find a way to hammer out plans to make sure future generations don't live in fear. Sure, that sounds too simple, but honest talk, compromise and respect for each other's point of view might go further than we think.

Even if it's too late, even if there's no going back, how nice it would be if political, religious and other differences were put aside long enough to make the attempt.

Linda Duffield is associate editor of The Herald-Mail. She may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7591, or by e-mail at lindad@herald-mail.com.

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