Former President Jimmy Carter believes President Donald Trump is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize if negotiations with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un are successful, Politico is reporting.
That assessment from Carter, a Nobel laureate himself, came in an interview during Politico's "Off Message" podcast.
"If President Trump is successful in getting a peace treaty that's acceptable to both sides with North Korea, I think he certainly ought to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize," Carter said. "I think it would be a worthy and a momentous accomplishment that no previous president has been able to realize."
But Carter, who was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts," said the actions by the United States so far have hurt North Korea's people.
"We've done everything we could to destroy the economy of North Korea, and every North Korean knows that," he said. "And we've done everything, at the same time, that we could to help South Korea have a good, successful economy."
"The North Korean people ought to be treated with respect, and I think that the embargo that we've enforced on them has basically hurt the people who are already suffering under a brutal dictatorship, and has not hurt the leaders of North Korea very much."
And he noted the erratic behavior on the part of North Korea is not a surprise.
"If they're under constant belief that the United States wants to attack them, even using nuclear weapons — which many Democrats and Republican leaders in our country have mentioned as a possibility — and that we are destroying their economy, and they know that they're starving to death primarily because the United States withholds food aid, for instance, just giving them surplus food that we can't ever use, then I can understand how they feel." Carter said.
He added: "I think that the next mediator, next negotiator — maybe President Trump, I hope — will reassure them that we're willing to give up some of those things — the threat of attack on them and to lift the embargo. That would be a cheap price, in my opinion, to pay for a cessation of their nuclear program."
Even though Carter believes Trump dealt "a damaging blow to peace" in the Middle East by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he was careful in discussing the president.
"I'm not here to criticize, but I think that, you know, telling the truth is one of the basic moral values that's important," Carter said. "And obeying the law is an oath that all of us take before we assume public office."
Carter recently delivered the commencement address to graduates of Liberty University in Virginia, where he alluded to the nuclear tension over North Korea and Iran.
He said the example of Jesus Christ shows we need to learn "to get along with our potential enemies, instead of how we can prevail in combat."
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