KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The United States should take greater steps toward a diplomatic solution in the Persian Gulf because if fighting breaks out with Iraq it could turn into a world war, Jesse Jackson said Thursday.

''If talk and negotiations are impossible, then war is inevitable,'' Jackson told members of the Missouri Press Association. ''And if war in fact breaks out, it will not be a Grenada, it will not be a Panama, or a Six-Day War.

''If the war is fought, the poorest will die for the richest, blood will flow like rivers, oil wells will burn, inflation in the industrial world will soar, Third World countries will perish, and the war will not be fought just in the Persian Gulf. It will be fought here as well, and throughout the capitals of the world.''

''We are on the brink not of a regional war, but of a world war originating from the Persian Gulf,'' he said.

Jackson went to Iraq last month to interview President Saddam Hussein for the television program ''Inside Edition'' and brought home 47 Americans who had been held hostage.

The two-time candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination has called on President Bush and Secretary of State James Baker to make a greater effort to solve the crisis diplomatically rather than risk the use of American troops.

Jackson said Gen. Mike Dugan, the Air Force chief of staff who was fired this week after talking to reporters about the possibility of bombing Iraq, ''exposed our strike plan.''

''He was not fired for lying, he was fired for impropriety,'' Jackson said. ''So did we in fact have such a plan?''

Jackson said that while Saddam's occupation of Kuwait was morally wrong, the Iraqi leader has support for his position that he is working for a fairer distribution of the world's wealth.

''In Jordan, and Iran, and Algeria, and the West Bank, and Lebanon, and Libya, he is hailed as hero,'' Jackson said.

Jackson also called for a White House summit on domestic issues, including urban and rural development, racial justice, gender equality, health care and the environment.

He said that just as the United States bailed out Japan and Germany after World War II, and is now beginning to help the Soviet Union, it must pay attention to healing problems at home.

''I say we must not assume any longer that there is some crisis in the world that puts American farmers and American women and children on the back burner,'' he said.

He suggested some of the $800 billion in public pension fund money could be used to help fund an American investment bank to deal with the domestic problems.

Jackson said he is focusing his attention on his candidacy to become elected a ''shadow senator'' representing the District of Columbia in the Senate as a means of pushing statehood for the district.

''We deserve statehood,'' he said. ''We have people enough. We are a city with state responsibilities.''