July 26, 2001, - 12:15 pm
Jimmy Carter is a lot like Muhammad Ali.
Ali could have retired as undefeated champion in his boxing career. But he couldn’t get enough of fame and fortune. So he returned to the ring when he had no business being there, and was beaten badly. Now, suffering from Parkinson’s disease and what appears to be brain damage from repeated blows to the head, Ali is a virtual walking vegetable, sadly still trying to make himself relevant.
Then, there’s Jimmy Carter. The former peanut farmer could have retired as repeatedly defeated champion.
He could have retired with his reputation as one of the worst presidents in modern history – both domestically and in the foreign policy arena. Or he could have retired from the spotlight as the president who told Playboy he had lust in his heart. And he could have stuck with his best skill – home-building for Habitat for Humanity, for which he’s been lauded as a better former president than holder of that office.
But Jimmy Carter, like Ali, misses being important in the collective American psyche. He, too, is now trying, however futilely, to re-enter the ring, from which he was resoundingly KO’d in the 1980 elections, by a real champion, Ronald Reagan.
In a tasteless move uncharacteristic of former presidents, Carter is a man on a mission to make his irrelevant self, relevant again by tearing down President George W. Bush.
“I have been disappointed in almost everything he has done,” Carter told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, a newspaper of questionable national significance, but likely the only media outlet that would provide a forum to this has-been, disastrous one-term president. In the lengthy interview, Carter attacked President Bush’s foreign and defense policy initiatives.
His gall is incredible. Talk about disappointments. Remember Carter’s foreign policy? The U.S. wore a virtual “kick-me” sign at the United Nations, with Carter’s U.N. ambassador, Andrew Young, a willing participant. Carter’s blind eye to Japanese automobile dumping was killing America’s auto industry, resulting in a recession, mass plant-closings domestically, the Chrysler bailout, and 21 percent inflation. Remember Gucci-garbed Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Communist totalitarians that ravaged Nicaragua – torturing and murdering its citizens, seizing farms and turning the country into a training ground for PLO and IRA terrorists and Castro’s henchmen? We are now giving Nicaragua billions in grants and loans to subsidize its return to democracy after that Carter-imposed fiasco.
Significantly more strife around the world existed when Jimmy Carter left office than when he entered it.
Carter’s hypocrisy in criticizing Bush’s Middle East policy is amazing. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Carter is no expert on Middle Eastern affairs.
He ushered out the pro-U.S. Shah of Iran. And ushered in one of the most despicable, despotic world leaders – Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran’s been in the throes of Islamic fundamentalism ever since, courtesy of Carter. Not to mention that – thanks to Jimmy Carter – Iran is one of the most unstable forces in the Middle East, second perhaps only to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, whose military arsenal and nuclear weapons capabilities Carter allowed to be developed. All of those terrorist attacks over the past two decades against American civilians and military fomented by the Iranian “government” and its Hezbollah buddies – thank Jimmy Carter for those. Remember the Americans held hostage in Iran? Another crown jewel of Carter’s Middle East “legacy.”
In 1979, Carter brought about that historic Camp David Peace Accord handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. But where is the peace? It was the beginning of years of worse terror than the region has ever seen, worse today than ever – both against U.S. servicemen and Israelis. And Egyptian Hosni Mubarak has announced, time and again, that he is not bound whatsoever by the Camp David agreement. So much for Carter’s peace in the Middle East, where Yasser Arafat has begun his policy of brutally killing a Jew a day. This didn’t happen before Carter started them down the road to “peace.” More like piece – of paper.
But Jimmy felt good about it, and so did the Nobel committee. In Jimmy’s world of diplomacy, that’s all that matters. Not actual positive results.
Carter cautioned Bush not to neglect Africa. But Carter did. He allowed Communist forces in Angola to take over. He allowed Moammar Gadhafi to solidify power in Libya and make it a terrorist-host nation. All while his brother, beer entrepreneur and Good Ole Boy, Billy, took a $220,000 “loan” from the Libyan government to lobby for American transport planes and favorable U.S. policy for Libyan oil. Carter sat by, as Arab Muslims running Sudan continued to enslave, torture, rape, and murder millions of Black Christians.
But wait, there’s more: Like a set of Ginsu steak knives, Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy sliced and diced all over the world.
The Soviets’ hegemony over Eastern Europe went unchallenged, but for our withdrawal from the 1980 Olympics over the invasion of Afghanistan. Remember the Marielito boatlifts from Cuba, which included thousands of formerly-jailed criminals shipped to our shores? Or how about his sudden signing of the Panama Canal treaties, that gave away U.S. control of this vital, strategic waterway on our own hemisphere? In 1979, Carter established full diplomatic ties with China, completing what Richard Nixon started, and severed formal relations with Taiwan. Corporations loved that, but it provided little incentive for human-rights improvements. Just ask the veterans of Tiananmen Square and China’s multitude of slave laborers.
Carter also had the chutzpah to criticize Bush on his missile defense program and abandonment of the 1972 ABM Treaty. “I think it will re-escalate the arms race,” and is a setback for the “prestige and respect due our country.” That’s strange, since our country was the world’s Rodney Dangerfield during his presidency, and he attempted to negotiate foolish new arms treaties, like SALT II, all of which the Soviets laughingly cheated on.
Fortunately, Ronald Reagan, Bush’s foreign and defense policy role model, repaired much of the damage with his peace through strength paradigm. But we are still paying,diplomatically and strategically, for Carter’s failings. And his comments are that of a jealous has-been, envious that in six months President Bush has had more foreign policy backbone and success than Carter ever had in his four nightmarish years.
Thank G-d, Jimmy Carter was only a one-term president. Now, if only he could end his classless dissing campaign and shut up.
Or stick to something he actually knows something about. Like peanuts.
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