Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jimmy Goes (Pea)Nuts

Jimmy Carter, our 39th President and man who ran the most disastorous presidency of the 20th century, has come out today calling President Bush's foreign policy the worst in our nation's history. He has equally kind and uplifting words for Tony Blair.

One wonders what is going on with Mr. Carter. His presidency was an utter catastrophe. In his post-presidency years, Mr. Carter actually accomplished far more for humanity building houses and erradicating parasites in Africa then he ever did as President. Why he did not maintain some dignity and stick with what has worked for him is a mystery.

Please note that I am not criticizing Mr. Carter solely to make an ancillary attack on his veracity and judgment. Rather, Mr. Carter's history and his view of acceptable foreign policy must be considered in assessing the worth of his judgment. And that assessment can only be that Carter's judgment of Bush's foreign policy is worthless as a valid criticisim. Actually, one could even go beyond that and argue that Carter's censure is actually to be taken as a sign that Bush is doing all the right things in the foreign policy arena.

Carter, besides domestically presiding over double digit inflation and the worst economy since the depression, was a tsunami of disaster in foreign policy. His one success was the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel. For a general walk down bad memory lane, here is a retrospective on the Carter years from 2002 by Jay Nordinger.

Perhaps President Carter's most infamous contribution to the mess that is the world today was his enablement of Khomeini's revolution in Iran and Carter's refusal to take effective action to end the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. As Amir Taheri recently explained:

The first contact between the US and the mullahs was established in November 1978, soon after Khomeini set up shop in a suburb of Paris. George Cave, the CIA's Iran specialist traveled to Paris and met Khomeini's close aides at the time: Abol-Hassan Banisadr and Ibrahim Yazdi. The message from President Jimmy Carter was one of support for the ayatollah and his Islamic Revolution.

When the Shah's regime collapsed, the early signs were encouraging for Carter. Khomeini's first Cabinet, under Mahdi Bazargan, included five ministers who had immigrated to the US from Iran and had become US citizens.

The Carter administration saw the Khomeinist revolution as the first step towards creating what Zbigniew Bzrezinski, the National Security Advisor, described as "a green Islamic belt" around the Soviet Union. The idea was that, in time, the "belt" would, become a noose that, when pulled, would strangle the Soviet empire.

Eight months after Khomeini had seized power, Bazargan met Bzrezinski in Algiers and obtained promises of US aid, and a resumption of military supplies, in the context of shared anti-Communist sentiments. Bzrezinski told Carter that Bazargan was "a man with whom we could do business."

A few days later, however, a band of militants raided the US Embassy in Tehran and seized its diplomats hostage. Bazargan and Yazdi, foreign minister at the time, were kicked out, never to return to power.
See here. And, for those of us who lived through the next 444 days, treated to video of our citizens paraded on t.v. while Khomeini consolidated power and made speech after speech about the Great Satan America, Carter's ineffectualness is seared into our consciousness. It is not unfair to say that Carter was midwife to the birth of political and radical Islam in the modern era.

Carter's recollection of events varies somewhat. According to Carter, he was responsible for ending the hostage crisis by his noble efforts.:
President Carter committed himself to the safe return of the hostages while protecting America's interests and prestige. He pursued a policy of restraint that put a higher value on the lives of the hostages than on American retaliatory power or protecting his own political future. The toll of patient diplomacy was great, but President Carter's actions brought freedom for the hostages with America's honor preserved.
That from an article on the subject available at the Carter Library. It's not even good fiction. Actually, the hostages were not released until the day Ronald Regean was sworn in as President. Only a fool would credit Carter with ending the crisis rather then Khomeini's calculus of Regean's likely response to Iran on Day 2 of his Presidency.

Possibly just below Iran on the scale of calamity, there was Carter's disastorous meddling in North Korea. In 1994, Clinton was in the midst of addressing North Korea's nuclear program when Carter, on his own initiative, travelled to North Korea and negotiated an utterly worthless agreement with North Korea that has, today, resulted in North Korea attaining nuclear weapons capability.

I could go on, but the legacy has been covered in far greater detail by far better authors then I. I would recommend that you go to Powerline and do a search for Jimmy Carter. The bottom line is, for Jimmy Carter to criticize Bush's foreign policy is the height of lunacy.


Dinah Lord said...

Scott- you are probably too young to remember the Carter Regime, unfortunately I am not. It was a nightmare! The memories of it linger and it makes me fear the possibility of a Dem victory in 2008. Talk about deja vu all over again!

I'm thinking old Jimmah has had too much time to sit and stew in his own juices down there in Plains and has become bitter and slightly deranged.

You want to see a mausoleum of spin? Visit his Presidential Library. Whoo! You feel dizzy after seeing the way they whirl his legacy around to make it sound good.

Cheers - Dinah

Dinah Lord said...

P.S. Love the peanut...

scott said...

I wish I were too young for the Carter regime. I was eighteen and in Washington D.C. for Regean's first inaguration when the hostages were released. It is a memory I can recall as clearly as yesterday.

And while I lived in Georgia for awhile, the only possible reason I would have stopped at that particular locale would have been were I to be driving nearby and have felt an overwhelming call of nature.

miriam said...

I doubt very much that anything Carter did for Habitat for Humanity was of any lasting value.

It is my theory that he is so crooked that he couldn't possibly drive a nail straight.

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