Monday, April 28, 2003
On Jimmy Carter: Some people have asked me to remove former President Carter from the trading block for imprisoned Cuban dissidents. While I will concur that his work with Habitat for Humanity is good and noble work, his dealings on the international stage, show, at best willful ignorance when it comes to some of the people he's embraced.
As reference, I would refer you to these columns by Jonah Goldberg and Jay Nordlinger.
Goldberg presents a bill of particulars against Carter:
As Joshua Muravchik wrote in the New Republic in 1994 - when Carter was bollixing up then-President Clinton's efforts to stop nuclear proliferation in North Korea - "Jimmy Carter, for all his heroic advocacy of human rights, has a long history of melting in the presence of tyrants."
At the time, Carter said of Kim Il Sung, a brutal Stalinist dictator, "I found him to be vigorous, intelligent, surprisingly well-informed about the technical issues and in charge of the decisions about this country." As for the North Koreans, Muravchik wrote, Carter said the "people were very friendly and open." The capital, Pyongyang, is a "bustling city," where customers "pack the department stores," which looked like "Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia." North Korea, it should be noted, has suffered from such government-imposed mass-starvation that millions have been forced to live off grass.
As the "human rights president," Carter noted that Yugoslavia's Marshall Tito was also "a man who believes in human rights." Carter saluted the dictator as "a great and courageous leader" who "has led his people and protected their freedom almost for the last 40 years." He publicly told Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, "Our goals are the same. ... We believe in enhancing human rights. We believe that we should enhance, as independent nations, the freedom of our own people." He told the Stalinist first secretary of Communist Poland, Edward Gierek, "Our concept of human rights is preserved in Poland."
Since Carter has left office, he's been even more of a voluptuary of despots and dictators. He told Haitian dictator Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras he was "ashamed of what my country has done to your country." He's praised the mass-murdering leaders of Syria and Ethiopia. He endorsed Yasser Arafat's sham election and grumbled about the legitimate vote that ousted Sandanista Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.
Carter does some good work -- but he'd be better off focusing on building homes for the poor and keep his mouth shut when it comes to international affairs.