Jimmy Carter: Not Just Peanuts

Jimmy Carter's provincialism is what made his the worst presidency of our lives. His contribution laid the seeds of the current crisis faced by the world today; a crisis he continues to fuel with his current book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

Bennett Zimmerman,

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Let's be clear before Jimmy Carter does any harm to the sole democracy in the Middle East. Israel's Arabs have full citizenship and full rights to vote. If a plurality of their fellow citizens deems it appropriate, any Arab of appropriate age can become the prime minister of Israel.

In the midst of the 1948 attack from six neighboring countries, Israel reached out to her Arab minority with a Declaration of Independence that should be a model of enlightenment for anyone interested in democracy. This, while Jimmy Carter rode around in Plains, Georgia, where Black Americans could not eat in the same restaurant with him, sleep in the same hotel next to him, and most could certainly not vote with him. And today, the radical Hamas government is elected while hall monitor, "My Name is Jimmy Carter," not only tolerates, but salutes, their victory.

Southern segregation was bad. Real bad. And the guilt of it has driven Jimmy Carter's political outlook ever since. Reaching out with love to Black Americans, descendants of slaves who wanted nothing more than to be part of the USA, was long overdue.

But every issue in the world is not defined in the same terms. Or in South African terms. And Jimmy Carter's provincialism is what made his the worst presidency of our lives. His contribution laid the seeds of the current crisis faced by the world today, a crisis he continues to fuel with his current book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

An Enlightened Peanut Farmer From Georgia

In Israel, there are 7 million people, 1.35 million of them Arab and all of them with equal rights before the law. There are another 1.4 million in the West Bank, a zone that wanted independence and impunity to attack Israel. That's 16% of the population in Israel and the West Bank. When Jimmy Carter recommends Israel annex the West Bank, he may then argue for Israel's democracy to bring another 16% into its system - while he figures out what to do with his democratically elected regime in Gaza. But Jimmy Carter demands another solution for the territory.

The Camp David Accords

As Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Cy Vance plotted an international conference to drag concessions from Israel, Anwar Sadat of Egypt was alarmed at the naivete of Jimmy Carter bringing the Soviet Union back into the Middle East. Sadat made the bold move (although it was a move Israel was always willing to make) and went to Israel's Knesset. He hit the jackpot. He received the enormous Sinai Peninsula, three times the size of Israel, oil wells producing a billion dollars a year, and a Carter-endorsed $2 billion a year of aid (which was unnecessary for a deal Sadat had already decided to make). Carter forced Israel off each grain of Sinai sand and established a horrible precedent of Israeli withdrawal from all disputed territory (rather than "from territories"). And Carter passed Israel $3 billion a year, which, I'm sorry to say, was the price Israel sold the Sinai Peninsula for a bailout of the debts of the 1973 War, and an Israeli GDP of $30 billion. (No one ever discusses the economics, but they are overwhelming.)

Jimmy Carter added another complication. He personally resurrected the idea of Palestine. UN Resolutions 242 and 338 did not call for the establishment of another state. It was the Arabs who rejected Palestine, as Jordan and Egypt grabbed the land for themselves. But Jimmy Carter pressured Israel to concede eventual Palestinian Autonomy zones, in addition to other mass concessions to Egypt. That only emphasized Jimmy Carter's long love affair with regimes led by dictators, excused of moral judgment.

The Carter Years

Even as a high school student, something struck me as wrong. President Carter explained US leadership as the result of historic anomaly after World War II. Power would soon be shared with other nations, including the Europeans, the Soviets, China and Third World blocs.

Before he could yell, "Retreat!" the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. The formerly peaceful nation entered into a blood revolt led by the Mujahadeen, the precursor to Al-Qaeda. The Shah of Iran, an ally of both the US and Israel, and a counterweight to the Arabs, flew from capital to capital in search of support, and finally into exile. A cleric named Khomeini living in Paris was welcomed by Jimmy Carter with a note, "religious man to religious man," who understood revolutions in the natural order of progress. It wasn't long before the gas lines started, the misery index exploded, and Americans were taken hostage in their own Embassy. Jimmy Carter hid in the Rose Garden to manage a crisis he had created.

Latin America Provides a Clue

I was in Panama in December 2004. You see homage everywhere to Omar Torrijos, the strongman selected by Jimmy Carter to receive the Panama Canal. In the national museum, there he is in all his glory, smiling "my name is Jimmy Carter" with the beaming eyes of a lunatic, as he embraces a dictator, while fulfilling their mutual dream: the USA giving strategic assets to bad guys. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, a Democrat at the time, caught Ronald Reagan with this clear thinking: "When Marxist dictators shoot their way into power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies... they blame America first." She could not have penned anything more accurate about Jimmy Carter.

Thank G-d for Ronald Regan. And thank G-d for Ambassador Kirkpatrick, a clear voice that sadly left us this month. With simple honesty, they called the Soviet Union by its true name, the "Evil Empire," and stared it down and outspent it; and the empire was gone before a decade passed. That might have been humbling for an ex-president. Not for Jimmy Carter.

Lowering Golf Scores or World War III

Ex-presidents usually gain a modicum of respect. The nation forgave Richard Nixon as he seemed contrite and perhaps a bit embarrassed about the excess, and respected him for his wisdom and his legacies, opening the door to China among them. Others had the grace to go play golf and understand their term was up. And Americans are a polite lot. We are happy to let ex-presidents go play golf or return to life on the peanut farm or to build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

But Jimmy Carter, you are responsible for the madness in the world today: The Islamofascists plot our destruction, with a near-nuclear, insanity-based government in Iran that thinks G-d will be pleased if they use their weapons. And while it's almost axiomatic to describe the Camp David Accords as a success, the multi-billion dollar shakedown by Anwar Sadat will never aid the US in Iraq, and might well be seen by history as a disaster if the Egyptian army you've modernized, bought and paid for ever shows its true purpose.

With a record like that, sir, you would be best not to lecture anyone on anything. You've screwed up the world and have no authority, moral or otherwise, to judge anyone.

Your time is through.

Copyright 2006