NEW YORK -- Vice presidential candidate John Edwards said last weekend that a Kerry administration would propose a "grand bargain with Iran," allowing that nation to keep its nuclear power plants only if it agreed to not retain nuclear fuel for bomb-making. In a Washington Post interview, Edwards said if the Iranian government agreed to this deal, but then did not comply, a President Kerry would make sure that European "allies" would join us and impose heavy sanctions on Iran.
We tried that approach with North Korea. In October 2002, the Bush administration disclosed that North Korea was abrogating a deal it signed during the Clinton administration under which it agreed to freeze its nuclear weapons program.
In 1994, Jimmy Carter went to Pyongyang to negotiate that deal with North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, the father of the country's current leader, Kim Jong Il. Carter, who had expressed surprise that Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev "lied to me" when Russian troops invaded Afghanistan in 1979, took the word of another communist thug, only to again reveal his limitless capacity for self-deception.
Carter and the Clinton administration thought they could make love, not war, with the North Korean government by allowing it to develop light-water reactors in exchange for its promise not to convert nuclear material into bombs. What made them believe that Kim Il Sung, and then his son, would suddenly beat their nuclear swords into power units?
It is this kind of wishful thinking that presents the greatest danger to a successful prosecution of the war on terrorism, along with our porous borders. The Border Patrol was recently told to be more friendly to invading, uh, entering aliens. Have a nice day, any killers among you.
Is our government blind to what is happening and the invaders' intentions? Look at France, which has allowed large numbers of Muslims into that country. Many are now demanding that they be granted rights afforded no other religious group.
Two French journalists kidnapped by Islamic extremists in Iraq have urged the French government to give in to their captors' demands and revoke a law banning Muslim headscarves in public schools. Should the French capitulate (so far they have refused to do so), the fanatics will be emboldened to step up their infiltration by immigration in France and the United States until they become an influential voting block and a bigger terror threat.
If one visits some of the more radical Islamic Web sites (and they by far outnumber any so-called "moderate ones"), one sees information about voter registration and mobilization to alter U.S. domestic and foreign policy, particularly toward Israel, and to gain political power for objectives that may not serve the general welfare.
Clearly not all Muslims are terrorists, or wish to hurt or bring down America. But how can we identify who fits this profile when the fanatics are instructed how to "blend in" with the rest of us until they can unleash death and destruction? Where is the Muslim Martin Luther King Jr. to urge Muslims to embrace nonviolence, not jihad?
A Zogby poll conducted for the Center for Immigration Studies shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, found that 76 percent of Americans believed the government was not doing enough to control our borders and screen those allowed into the country. That view was held by self-identified liberals, conservatives and moderates -- and by nearly identical margins. An overwhelming majority (85 percent) of likely voters at that time thought that lax enforcement of border and immigration laws has made it easier for terrorists to enter the country, and most believed it was lax enforcement that contributed to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The war will not be won by platitudes, or attempts to convert radicals to our way of life by admitting people into the country who mean us harm. If we want to win this war, we must control the borders, substantially reduce or eliminate the immigrant quota from radical Islamic countries and find the Islamic terrorists already here and get them before they get us.
That's the way you fight a war. That war we can win. Anything less is appeasement and surrender, and guarantees defeat.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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