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Jewish World Review
April 15, 2008
/ 10 Nissan 5768
Jimma, tyranny's enabler
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Jimmy Carter's pathetic need for political rehabilitation
following a presidency widely regarded as one of the worst in American
history is once again making news. He reportedly will meet this week
with Khaled Mashaal, the Syrian-based leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's
Palestinian arm, Hamas - an internationally recognized terrorist
Mr. Carter maintains this is no big deal since he has met
with Hamas officials before. Indeed, in keeping with his Carter
Center's self-appointed status as global election monitor, the former
president did officiate in January 2006 when the Brotherhood's
terrorists defeated those of Fatah led by Yasser Arafat's longtime
crony, Mahmoud Abbas.
In point of fact, it seems there is scarcely a serious bad actor on the
planet with whom Jimmy Carter has not met. He is a serial
tyrant-enabler, the very personification of Rodney King's risible
appeal, "Can't we all get along?" Mr. Carter has come to epitomize the
notion that "dialogue" is always in order, no matter how odious or
dangerous the interlocutor - or the extent to which they or their
agendas will benefit from such interactions.
As Barak Obama (whom Carter has all but endorsed) is as
wedded as the former President to the idea of condition-free dialogue
with tyrants, it is worth reflecting on just a few of the many example's
of how this Carteresque practice has produced disastrous results:
In 1979, then-President Carter undermined the Shah of Iran and
made possible the Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Iran and subsequent
Islamic revolution. Although the uber-mullah returned the favor with the
sacking of Embassy Tehran and seizure of its personnel that assured
Carter's would be a one-term presidency, the regime thus born has ever
since been a blight on its own people and a state-sponsor of terror and
nuclear wannabe that represents an ever-growing menace to its region and
In 1994, Citizen Carter made a mission to Pyongyang at a time
when then-President Bill Clinton was first confronting evidence of North
Korea's illegal pursuit of nuclear weapons. The former president's
intervention gave rise to a deal that lent invaluable prestige to the
regime, perpetuated its hold on power and utterly failed to preclude the
North's acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.
In 2004, Jimmy Carter ignored abundant evidence of official
vote-rigging and election fraud in a Venezuelan referendum, handing
victory to Hugo Chavez and clearing the way for the most destabilizing
accretion of power in the Western hemisphere since Fidel Castro's
communist revolution in Cuba - a model and inspiration for Chavez.
In short, thanks in no small measure to Jimmy Carter's proclivities and
meddling, the world is a considerably more dangerous place. Following
his lead now will make it more so, for three reasons:
First and foremost, "talking" to tyrants legitimates them. Dictators go
to great lengths to conjur up the perception of authority and
permanence. They are particularly anxious to do so for domestic
consumption, to ensure their continued rule. To the extent that
outsiders recognize, to say nothing of embrace, them, it enhances their
stature at home and validates their misconduct on the world stage.
Second, such efforts generally have the effect of emboldening these
thugs. After all, they are being rewarded for bad behavior. The result
is predictable: even worse behavior. That can mean redoubled efforts
to: acquire nuclear weapons, destabilize their neighbors, raise the
price of oil and engage in other activities inimical to U.S. interests.
Third, it is ironic but true that - even as Carter-style enabling of
tyrants makes matters worse - it typically encourages in this country
the impression that vexing problems with those regimes have been made
more tractable. Diplomatic placeboes reduce the perceived need and
popular support for more effective, albeit more difficult, alternatives.
It is instructive that even an Israeli government known for appeasing
terrorists has finally had it with Jimmy Carter. Israel's ceremonial
head of state, President Shimon Peres, met with him Sunday for the
purpose of publicly denouncing Carter's "activities over the last few
years [that have] caused great damage to Israel and the peace process."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his foreign and defense ministers have
gone so far as to decline requested meetings with Carter.
The one possible up-side of the latest instance of tyrant-enabling by
Jimmy Carter is that it puts in sharp relief an issue that should
feature prominently in the 2008 U.S. elections: Do we want to entrust
the job of commander-in-chief to someone who believes, as Mr. Carter
does, that dialogue with our sworn enemies - notably, Iran, and its
vassal, Syria - is a good and necessary step?
This is, of course, the oft-repeated position of Barak Obama and other
Democratic opponents of the effort to secure victory in Iraq. Is it the
view though of what the former condescendingly calls "ordinary"
Americans, people who have generally shown more common sense than the
likes of Messrs. Carter and Obama?
In the final analysis, Jimmy Carter will be best remembered by history
as a man whose time in and out of high public office was almost
unblemished by success. Notwithstanding a Nobel Peace Prize (given by
an awards committee avowedly anxious to rebuke President Bush) and
assorted good works on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, his role as a
tyrant-enabler will be an object of scorn and derision rather than the
vindication he so transparently, and desperately, seeks.
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
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