The Iranian Government's insolent march towards nuclear capability together with its intolerant and belligerent president has presented the world with a dangerous crisis. On the one hand, the United States seems to be completely taken up with the war in Iraq to the extent that it can ill afford to further disrupt the delicate equilibrium it has tried to create in Iraq by attacking the Shiite dominated Iran. On the other hand it is undeniable that a nuclear-armed Iran will be a menace on the world stage.

There are basically two "text-book" approaches to dealing with this type of issue. The right-wing conservative approach, championed by people such as Robert Kaplan, maintains that while the so-called "Judeo–Christian" values and morality are important guides for private interpersonal relationships, when it comes to the international arena pragmatic values must be applied. They maintain that the nation must place self-preservation over self-sacrifice, public virtue over private virtue and pride in achievements over humility. According to them, "do-gooders" cause chaos on the international stage.

They therefore conclude that western nations must be prepared to use violence when acting in necessary self-interest. Only by demonstrating strength will the powerful be able to defend its interests therefore, to them, a preemptive strike on Iran is inevitable.

The liberal left, on the other hand, believes that because we need each other to survive, mutual cooperation is human instinct. Thus, if we want to overcome "the evil empire" or indeed "the axis of evil" we need get them to cooperate together with us through dialogue, we must therefore always keep the channels of conversation open. This, they maintain, explains why during the cold war the Soviet Union and the United States never actually came to war –- although they differed in ideology they realized that they depended on each other and they therefore always maintained open lines communication.

According to this view dialogue is primary and force can virtually never be contemplated and therefore diplomacy is the only option we have with Iran.

Although most people will adopt one of the above two approaches, there is nonetheless a third way –- the way found in the first text book to deal with such dilemmas and crisis, namely the Jewish Bible.

When G‑d wanted to take the Israelites out of Egyptian oppression and slavery he first sent Moses and Aaron on a diplomatic mission. Force, in the form of the ten plagues, was used only after diplomacy failed. In Deuteronomy (20:11) G‑d tells the Israelites, "When you draw near to a city to wage war against it, you shall call out to it for peace. If it does not respond to you in peace and does not open for you, then the entire people found within in shall be a tribute for you [through the war you should wage against them]."

So in the crises that feature in the Bible, diplomacy was always given a chance. This philosophy agrees with the liberal view: when faced with a more powerful adversary, human instinct is to cooperate and this must be given the opportunity to surface. However, the Bible also clearly believes that when a rogue government rebuffs diplomacy and it becomes obvious that for some reason the survival instinct to cooperate is being overruled force becomes the only option.

Indeed the Egyptians suffered the ten plagues after they failed to listen to Moses diplomatic overtures begging them to emancipate the Israelites.

The Biblical view, it can thus be argued, is a philosophical mixture between the strategy of the Conservative Right and Liberal Left.

In addition, the Bible recognizes that diplomacy can only work if, number one: it is backed up with the credible threat of force, and number two: if the enemy is available and open to dialogue. If there is no credible threat of force or if there is no real positive response to diplomatic overtures, the chances of diplomatic success shrinks appreciably.

The international community is losing the standoff with Iran on both fronts. Firstly, there is no credible threat of force being placed on the Iranians; and secondly, they are not responding positively to diplomacy. If we are going to head off this existential threat to Western power and economic dominion there has to be a drastic change in policy towards Iran. Yes, diplomacy must continue but for it to work it must be backed up with a credible and near-term threat of force.