President Bush ended an hour-long summit in the Azores today by giving the UN a deadline of 24 hours to act on a resolution authorizing war with Iraq, marking an abrupt end to six months of feverish but failing diplomacy in which world opinion grew steadily against a US invasion.

With little hope of passing a resolution, Bush signaled his intention to flout the Security Council and quickly unleash the more than 250,000 US troops currently massed near the Iraqi border.

Yesterday’s global antiwar protests, which again saw millions of people worldwide come out to express outrage at Bush’s plans for war, could be just a hint of opposition to come if and when war begins. Tonight, evening peace vigils are taking place around the world, starting in New Zealand and following sequentially in time zones in more than 2,800 cities in 104 countries.

Starting tomorrow, March 17, a nationwide campaign of sustained nonviolent direct action will commence in Washington, DC, along with last-ditch lobbying efforts by a host of citizen groups, organizations and individuals. And if you can’t make it to DC, it can’t hurt to email, fax and phone (again!) your elected reps imploring them to oppose an unnecessary war.

Then next Saturday, March 22, United for Peace and Justice is staging a national march in New York City. The city has been much more cooperative this time around, allowing a permitted march, as the organizers requested, starting at 42nd Street and Broadway and moving downtown through Union Square to Washington Square Park.

We may be at war by then, in which case it’s anybody’s guess how the rally will shape up. But, if US bombs are raining down, it’s all the more imperative to get as many people out on the streets as possible. Download and distribute flyers in English and Spanish, make a donation, help volunteer in a United for Peace office, and watch this space for emergency antiwar actions if and when a US invasion is launched.