- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

The mullahcrats in Tehran made it official yesterday: John Kerry’s grand alternative to the Bush approach for dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat is dead in the water. At Thursday night’s debate, Mr. Kerry suggested that Iran be supplied with nuclear fuel for power reactors if the regime agreed to forego its existing nuclear program. Yesterday, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected the Kerry proposal, saying it would be “irrational” for Tehran to rely on nuclear supplies from abroad.

But don’t expect Mr. Kerry to be chastened by the contemptuous response from Iran. If recent history is any guide, the senator will soon be out with some new spin explaining why President Bush, and not the Islamist regime, is to blame for the Iranian nuclear-weapons progam.

Indeed, at Thursday’s debate, that’s what Mr. Kerry tried to do: rewrite history in an effort to blame Mr. Bush for a pattern of hostile behavior that began with the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and has continued ever since. In an effort to show that Mr. Bush was asleep at the switch, Mr. Kerry claimed that the British, French and Germans initiated their effort to curb Iran’s nuclear program “without the United States.” Mr. Kerry failed to mention the fact that Mr. Bush agreed to support the Europeans going forward with their diplomatic effort despite serious misgivings —which have been borne out by the abysmal failure of the EU 3 to get Iran to change its behavior.

Mr. Kerry said that the United States should have offered to provide Iran with nuclear fuel in order to “test them [and] see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes.” But the premise is delusional: No serious observer could possibly claim that Iran has been acting in good faith. The International Atomic Energy Agency has documented the fact that Iran has been misleading the world about its nuclear intentions since the 1980s. Tehran’s refusal to cooperate with the EU 3 is simply a continuation of its efforts to cheat.

Mr. Kerry also tried to rewrite history regarding North Korea’s nuclear program. At one point during the debate, he suggested that the Clinton administration fixed the problem by negotiating a 1994 agreement with Pyongyang and that President Bush destroyed a promising U.S.-North Korean “dialogue” two years ago. In fact, the Communist regime has been going forward with a covert nuclear program for a decade after promising not to; Mr. Kerry’s apparent solution would be an updated version of the failed Clinton approach.

Two principles appear to underlie Mr. Kerry’s approach to foreign policy: First,that anything done by Mr. Bush is by definition wrong, and second, that Mr. Kerry will be able to fix everything by holding summits and bilateral talks, at which he will use his unique persuasive powers to get foreign despots to behave themselves. Twenty-nine days from now, the American people will decide whether someone who lives in such a fantasy world is fit to lead the free world.

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