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Jimmy Carter's Outrage

Wednesday, 15 May 2002 12:00 AM

He's more dangerous than most evil types because he runs around with a smile and looks like a well-intentioned peanut farmer.

The Good Book warns us that "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

I won't question Jimmy Carter's motives.

Let's accept, for the sake of argument, that he believes he is actually doing good.

Nevertheless, the havoc he has wreaked with his good intentions is enormous. In my last column I discussed the long-term implications of Carter's decision to force the Shah of Iran to fall.

The events of 9-11 can be traced directly to that decision and to the Iranian revolution that created a haven for radical Islam.

Just after 9-11, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Congress that Iran was the starting point for the Islamic revolution and terrorism.

Even Yasser Arafat told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "another country" controlled the suicide bombers. Blitzer asked, "Iran?"

We know that, thanks to Carter's "good intention" to end the rule of the despotic Shah, he allowed a far greater evil to arise in Iran.

Now Carter has more "good intentions" for Cuba.

Yesterday, in a televised address, Carter called on the U.S. to take the first step in lifting the U.S. embargo. He said, "... my hope is that the Congress will soon act to permit unrestricted travel between the United States and Cuba, establish open trading relationships, and repeal the embargo."

Carter did note something that is well known to anyone who has studied the issue of the embargo.

He said, "I should add that these restraints are not the source of Cuba's economic problems. Cuba can trade with more than 100 countries and buy medicines, for example, more cheaply in Mexico than in the United States."

In other words, Cuba has had open trade with all of Western Europe and the rest of the world, and yet this trade has amounted to nothing. Why? Because Castro has shown little interest in opening Cuba up to capitalist investment.

Take, for example, in the late '90s when Castro began to allow foreigners to buy real estate in Cuba. Millions poured into Havana from Europeans hoping to get in on the ground floor of a Caribbean real estate boom.

Then the predictable happened. Two years ago, the madman Castro suddenly changed the rules for investors. They could keep and buy property, but they could not resell it. As anyone can figure out, real estate with no resale market is practically worthless.

Why, then, does Castro want the embargo lifted?

The real reason is the embargo has meant that the U.S. has vetoed Cuba from getting any lines of credit from organizations like the IMF and World Bank.

This is the real gold mine Castro wants access to.

And if history is any indication, the hard currency Cuba gets from such credit lines will go not to help the suffering Cuban people but to support Castro's police state, his military, his bioweapons program, and his efforts to help other rogue states and to subvert other Latin American democracies.

Still, Jimmy Carter says America needs to offer the first carrot.

I don't understand this. According to the left-leaning Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and our State Department, Castro still runs one of the most brutal, repressive regimes in the world.

The causes that anger the liberal establishment in the U.S. – persecution of minorities, union members, gays, dissidents and journalists, and religious persecution of Jews and others – seem to have no effect when Castro's mistreatment of these same groups is pointed out.

Yet Carter and many liberals here say we should bow to Castro's demands.

Interestingly, the same people were saying during the Elian affair that if we just sacrificed the boy and returned Elian to Castro, it would be a sign of good faith. They said our gesture would bring a new dawn for Cuban-American relations and for Castro's treatment of his own people.

Well, we know happened after Elian was returned to Castro in June of 2000.

Amnesty International reported last year that immediately following Elian's return, the second half of 2000 saw a dramatic increase of repression in Cuba.

A statement issued by the left-leaning human rights organization last year described the time period after Elian returned: "The increasing number of people jailed for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression clearly demonstrates the level to which the government will go in order to weaken the political opposition and suppress dissidents."

Still, Jimmy Carter insists we should trust Castro. Of course, Jimmy Carter is a well-intentioned man.

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He's more dangerous than most evil types because he runs around with a smile and looks like a well-intentioned peanut farmer. The Good Book warns us that The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I won't question Jimmy Carter's motives. Let's accept, for the...
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Wednesday, 15 May 2002 12:00 AM
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