Eagleburger's View on Paris Riots

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This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," November 7, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Joining us now to talk about the violence in Europe is former secretary of state under the first President Bush, Lawrence Eagleburger.

Mr. Secretary, you heard Greg Copley at the top of the show talk about the great Ramadan offensive and yet, in a way, you see France treating this as if it's the L.A. riots in '92. Which do you think it is?

LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, until I heard this interview just a few minutes ago, I really hadn't thought about it in those terms but if, in fact, he is correct and this is a Ramadan offensive in which Muslims around the world or in various spots have been encouraged to do this sort of thing, then the problem is far worse than anything we have considered so far. And I'm not sure it's correct. All I can say is, if that's true, then we have — we in the West — have a very serious problem. The French do, the Germans do. If they can enlist these young men like this, then we have a terrible problem.

Now, the normal considerations — and they were talked about just a minute ago — are that these kids in France have been badly treated for a long time and I think there is no question about that. The French have done a terrible job of trying to integrate these people into their culture. It's not easy, by the way, but they haven't even tried. The only country in the world where we have had any success in this sort of thing is here in the United States and we haven't been perfect in it by any means, but at least we have been able to integrate most people into the country, into the society, into the culture. That hasn't happened in France. It probably hasn't happened in Germany. And maybe one of these days, the Western Europeans will come to the realization that maybe we are smarter than they think we are.

And I have to tell you, I think, even if it's not planned, it is a terrible problem for all of them and I don't see how the French, for example, can with their present considerations and the way they deal with things, they are never going to integrate those 5 million Muslims into their society. And God help them in terms of what will happen in the future if they can't provide economic opportunity, which may — and I only say may — reduce some of these problems.

GIBSON: OK, but what if Gregory Copley is right? I mean, you see this happening all over western Europe and now in Australia. And suppose there is a great Ramadan offensive, as his information suggests, being run out of Bosnia by the Muslims in Bosnia.


GIBSON: So, what then? What does a government do?

EAGLEBURGER: As I say, the first I've even heard of this. Although I must say, evidence at the moment would give him some support if it's true. If it's true then — and I'm going to be careful how I say this, but I have to say it then — if it's true, all of the nations of the West, except maybe the United States, are going to have to take a very hard look at their immigration policies and the ways in which they have permitted large numbers of Muslims to enter their country.

I hate to say it but if, in fact, they have created this very serious fifth column in their own countries, then it seems to me that there are going to have to be some very serious measures relating toward permitting additional immigration and in fact, maybe, they're going to have to send some of these people home.

GIBSON: Lawrence Eagleburger, former secretary of state under the first President Bush. Mr. Eagleburger, thanks.

EAGLEBURGER: My pleasure, sir.

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