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As a member of NATO, an attack against Romania is the same as an attack against the U.S. American soldiers might then be required to go into harm’s way to defend a split personality regime nostalgic for its communist past.

Before taking that leap of faith, it would behoove President Bush to get on the blower to Romanian President Ion Iliescu. This would be a good time to make clear that the sine qua non of Romania’s NATO membership is cancellation of Mr. Pacepa’s two death sentences — loud and clear in a government communique that formally endorses the Supreme Court decision.

In the same phone call, Mr. Bush could also request a pardon for all other Romanian anti-communist Cold War defectors now hiding in Western democracies. Romania owes its new democratic NATO allies an answer to two fundamental questions — what is “treason” and who are the “traitors”?

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.