Tags: Jimmy | Carter's | Grand | Slam | for | Glory

Jimmy Carter's Grand Slam for Glory

Sunday, 19 May 2002 12:00 AM

Truth is, ever since he left the White House in 1981, it has been pretty clear that he wanted a Nobel Peace Prize. After all, Henry Kissinger got one in 1973 for bringing "peace" to Vietnam. Kofi Annan got one in 2001 for a "more peaceful world" via the United Nations.

Neither Kissinger's nor Annan's "peace" worked out, famous and elegant though they were, so why not an award for Jimmy Carter for spreading his "peace" expertise around the world? Mr. Carter has been doing that for the past 20 years.

For example, in 1999 he went to Panama to celebrate the surrender of the Panama Canal, and in 1994 to Haiti, to encourage civilian rule instead of military rule, and to North Korea to offer his expertise in the missile threat. He has often criticized America's foreign policy and, in some cases, undermined it with careless and unsolicited proposals.

His quantum leap for more and more fame and glory, however, came this year when he starred twice – first in Monterrey, Mexico, in March at the United Nations-sponsored International Conference on Financing and Development, where he berated his country for "stinginess" in its "embarrassingly low" foreign aid and for refusing to support the U.N.-proposed "global taxes" on the American people.

Fresh from his Monterrey "success," Mr. Carter took on his second starring role, the much-heralded visit with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. This is the man who has ruled Cuba as a despot for 43 years, abolished all vestiges of human rights, imprisoned critics and opponents, and allowed no elections and no freedom of speech or assembly.

As a special insult to Carter when he was U.S. president, Castro dumped thousands of crooks, crazies and other undesirables via the infamous Mariel boatlift into South Florida.

On May 14, Carter addressed students, faculty and the Cuban nation at the University of Havana, with Castro in the front row. He called for human rights, freeing of political dissidents and democratic elections, as expected – all noble goals and apparently appreciated by all hearers, present and via radio and television.

His challenge for the United States to lift the trade embargo was not surprising, but certainly inappropriate at that time and place. He was butting into American foreign policy.

President Bush promptly rejected the idea, saying, "The trade embargo is a vital part of America's foreign policy and human rights policy toward Cuba. Trade with Cuba does not benefit the people of Cuba and is used to prop up a repressive regime."

Even so, there's Mike Wallace of ABC-TV's "60 Minutes" fame praising Carter's courage for going to Cuba and speaking out, adding that we have to do business with Cuba. Not true. The U.S. policy has contained communism to the island of Cuba, for the most part. Trade with Cuba would help keep Castro in power, but any benefit to the United States would be minimal, if at all.

Mr. Wallace's logic has usually been on the liberal side. He has expressed admiration for Yasser Arafat, terrorist leader of the Palestine Authority. With that kind of reasoning, one could also admire Al Capone, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. Admiration, in a civilized sense, does not apply to mass murderers, cowards and terrorists.

President Carter has been called the "most amazing man ever to occupy the presidency" – until Bill Clinton came along. Critics have called him a politician of limited and uncertain talents, a well-meaning man whose power derived far more from the office he occupied than from any personal leadership.

Seeing the former president parading around Havana in a guayabera shirt, arm in arm with the cruel Cuban dictator, does not conjure up visions of statesmanship and well-being – rather, a grandstand play of a free-lancing, self-appointed secretary of state, naïve and ill-informed as he meddles in his country's foreign policies.

We remember President Carter for the Camp David Accords that brought temporary peace between Israel and the Palestinians, for the failed rescue of American hostages held by Iran, and the historic high "misery index" of high inflation, high unemployment and high interest rates.

Especially, we remember his shameless manipulations in ratifying the unconstitutional 1977 Panama Canal Treaties surrendering the "world's most strategic waterway" to unstable Panama that today, for bribes under the table, allows Communist Chinese agents to control the Canal ports.

His judgment and leadership have always been questionable, but not his desire to do good. Even so, his try for a "grand slam to glory" didn't work, and he should quit traipsing around the world with the Carter foreign policy when it's the Bush foreign policy voters selected.

Capt. Evans' columns are distributed by the Americanism Educational League of Buena Park, Calif. He lives in Norfolk, Va.

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Truth is, ever since he left the White House in 1981, it has been pretty clear that he wanted a Nobel Peace Prize. After all, Henry Kissinger got one in 1973 for bringing peace to Vietnam. Kofi Annan got one in 2001 for a more peaceful world via the United...
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Sunday, 19 May 2002 12:00 AM
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