Seeing the highlights of Jimmy Carter’s silly rants last night made me very sad. Not that he was successful at international policy he is the President who gave us Islamic Iran (see Jimmy Carter’s Legacy -Islamic Iran) he also gave Zimbabwe the tyrannical Mugabe (see Mugabe’s Zimbabwe Reign of Terror: A Jimmy Carter Production)
After the news reports last night I just stared at my set. I actually felt sorry for the guy, Carter’s comments about torture as well as what he said about Dick Cheney made the former President seem like a doddering old fool who would be better off if he took his meds, watched M*A*S*H reruns and then went off to bed with a glass of his favorite fiber drink by 7:00PM.

And then today he added to stupidity by calling for the US to engage with Hamas. You gotta hand it to the drooling old SOB though, he’s got fight in him. What he doesn’t have is a sense of what is happening in the world and a tin foil hat.

Jimmy Carter is promoting another new book, this one described by Publisher’s Weekly as “less a memoir than an extended brochure for his nonprofit institution, the Carter Center.” For the second time in a year, he’s been doing the media rounds, and he’s given some revealing interviews, in which he’s gotten attention less for promoting the Carter Center and his book than for bitterly second-guessing the policies of the current administration. Lots of people carp about the government–some of us even get paid to do it–but most of us are in no position to answer “yes” to the question: Could you do any better? Carter is unusual in that he has actually done the top job himself, so one can compare. In an interview with Ed Walsh of Boston’s WBZ-AM (listen here or download here), Carter faults the Bush administration for the way it is dealing with Iran. No joke:

Walsh: And finally on Iran, what if they continue to defy world opinion and develop a nuclear weapon capability? What should the United States do about it? Carter: Well, first of all, I think we should be communicating with the Iranians directly, through diplomatic means. Even after the shah was overthrown, we still maintained diplomatic relations with Iran–in fact, that’s proven by the fact that my hostages were in Tehran. They had an equal number of diplomats in Washington, about 75 or so, and we should be communicating with them. And secondly, we should assure them that we don’t intend to launch a pre-emptive war against them as we did in Iraq. But there are a lot of threats coming out, and that tends to put the Iranians on the defensive and make them want to do everything they can to build up their weaponry. So communicating with them and letting them know that we’ll resolve their difference–differences diplomatically would be my recommendation.

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This column agrees that in most situations appeasement and diplomacy are better than war. For example, we wouldn’t advocate a military strike, or even the threat of such a strike, against Canada to resolve the current dispute over access to the Northwest Passage. But when you’re dealing with a real enemy as opposed to a friendly adversary like Canada, you sometimes do need to go to war–or, short of that, to use the threat of war to give muscle to your diplomatic effort. The crucial question about the course Carter proposes is: Would it work?