The situation between Iran and Great Britain concerning the fate of 15 British sailors seized by Iran seems to be easing a bit. Iran has just announced that it does not think it necessary to try the sailors, a statement that seems to pave the way for a diplomatic end to the crisis. Iran seems to have realized that it made a serious miscalculation, as British and American pressure and threats were quick to follow the seizure. Furthermore, Russia has offered little defense to its client, and there was no mention of easing UN sanctions concerning Iran's nuclear program. And while the situation isn't completely resolved yet (Iran is still insisting that Britain apologize, something that Britain seems unlikely to do), things seem to be trending in the right direction.
While it's all well and good to avoid military force, the situation is an important reminder of what it means to be a "rogue state." This is not merely some designation cooked up by President Bush to describe states he doesn't like. Rather, it refers to states that do not play by the rules and seek to challenge the existing order. Iran is, plain and simple, a rogue state. It supports international terrorism, it violates its international legal commitments under the NPT, it ignores the UN and international law, and it seizes hostages to make political points and give itself leverage. While it may be nearly impossible to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we should not forget why the US and Europe should do whatever they can to prevent that from happening.