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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Is Carter Smarter?

Terry's mention of Jimmy Carter reminds me of something that raised my ire. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has a pair of columns (behind firewall) lauding the former president for his development work. Fair enough: Carter has undeniably done impressive and important work in this field, and he should be commended as such.

But Kristof goes beyond complimenting Carter's commitment to Africa and comes up with this:

At the end of the day, this one-term president who left office a pariah in his own party will transform the lives of more people in more places over a longer period of time than any other recent president.

There was a reason Ronald Reagan was nicknamed "The Great Liberator"--the man is a hero to most East Europeans. When Reagan died in 2004, the Economist conservatively estimated that the Soviet Empire would have survived for another 20 years had he not stared them down. The Poles are erecting a statue of him. Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, said that Poles "owe him our liberty." All the development work Carter will ever do won't touch Reagan's assistance to Eastern Europe. And he didn't wait until he was out of office to do good work.


Posted by Jordan Michael Smith on February 21, 2007 | Permalink


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Sorry but I find nothing admirable about Carter. He was a weak president and totally failed in dealing with Iran during the hostage taking. Since leaving office he is heavily funded with Arab oil money thus disqualifying him from any form of neutrality. I consider very little difference between him and the Clintons.

Posted by: Alain | 2007-02-21 2:27:18 PM

Carter did put 35 milions of Iranians' lives (70 milions by now) in the hand of Islamofascist ayatollahs. He didn't do much in Afghanistan and the today mess that we are having difficulty getting together, is a result of his mismanagement and cowardice. He is the worst president of the US. His humanitarian work means nothing and his anti-israeli rhetoric is another sign that he is really a weird person.

Posted by: Winston | 2007-02-21 4:23:57 PM

Carter did put -35 MILLIONS- of Iranians in the hands of -35 Ayatollahs- ...?...?

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-21 4:57:22 PM

Carter has always reminded me of Howdy Doody.

If you are old enough you remember that he was a marionette with his own show. I think it's the mouth and jaw lines that are so similar. The wooden head is right on too.

In any case, he is a phoney mofo twit.

Posted by: Duke | 2007-02-21 5:50:22 PM

Carter was only elected because the American people wanted to change parties after Watergate. The 1976 election was a Nixon/For/Watergate loss and not a Carter win.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-02-21 5:58:35 PM

For -> Ford

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-02-21 5:59:36 PM

A bit like the last Canadian elections, right ?

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-21 6:15:00 PM


"Carter did put 35 milions of Iranians' lives (70 milions by now) in the hand of Islamofascist ayatollahs. He didn't do much in Afghanistan and the today mess that we are having difficulty getting together, is a result of his mismanagement and cowardice. He is the worst president of the US. His humanitarian work means nothing and his anti-israeli rhetoric is another sign that he is really a weird person."

While I am no fan of the Dems, especially Carter, I find the idea that because he didn't do much in Afghanistan 30 years ago and consequently, the difficulty today is because of his mismanagement is not convincing. No US president is omniscient nor nor omnipotent. The problems there are directly attributable to (in order)

1)the Afghani people not getting their act together after hundreds, if not thousands of years.
2) its neighbours for interfering (USSR primarily and most recently
3) others

Same goes for Iran. The people of any given nation deserve first crack at the glory and the shit that gets bestowed upon them. Carter didn't give the people to the Ayatollahs. The people were cowed into it by a bunch of their own fanatics with wild promises. I wish them the best in shedding their shackles and getting out of this mess alive but it is primarily of their own making... but we should help where possible.

I'm tired of all the worlds problems being laid at the feet of the US. They seem to get blamed when they act and when they don't act.

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-02-21 6:38:25 PM

Great end H2.
The only reason the US get blamed (even hated) right now is because it is pretty poorly driven.
This, is about to change and the USA will start to be a much better and more appreciable place to deal with. Like "in the days".

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-21 7:55:59 PM


I had not thought of it until you mentioned it and, of course, there are differences, but you did say "a bit like" and so it is a fair statement.

If you are comparing Adscam to Watergate, it is probably true that the Liberals lost the election rather than the CPC won it, notwithstanding the fact that many here would have liked to have seen Canadians actually gravitate towards the CPC rather than away from the LPC.

However, I think there are also differences. In 1976, any Dem would have won (we could say any old Dem did win). I think some of the 2006 credit needs to rightfully go to Harper - it is much more difficult to see a MacKay or Stronach led CPC doing as well in 2006.

Any leader sooner or later needs to run on his own record - Reagan beat Carter by quite a large margin in 1980; it is difficult to imagine Harper loosing by such a large margin based on his current performance.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-02-21 8:07:18 PM

I despise Carter and I'm not alone. Even the Ayatollahs disliked him and waited for Reagan to send back the hostages.

It would be interesting to compare US in 1939 with US today. Before WWII US was very much against taking part in European conflicts. Otherwise, they could have sent troops in France with British troops in order to prevent agression.

Now US is trying to prevent agressions. In Afghanistan while USSR was trying to implement communism. In Koweit when Saddam invaded. In Afghanistan and Irak now. Maybe in Iran and North Korea in the near future.

Without the US intervention in 1941, there is a good chance Hitler would have taken over much of the world. He almost succeeded with USSR. All he needed was non intervention by US and some help from Japan, and it was done. Can anyone imagine what the world would have been like? Do you know what the nazis did when there was a terrorist action? They gave 48 hours for the people to surrender the terrorist. If not they would execute 100 persons in the area.

Now it is politically correct to attack US when they act. They are not sending armies to conquer any territory that I know. I suggest that we should study history on a longer period. People seem to think Nixon presidency was long ago. It was yesterday.

Not to forget also that US managed for UK and France to end colonialism after WWII. they could have built an empire and helped UK and France to recover their possessions.

Posted by: Rémi Houle | 2007-02-21 8:36:26 PM

Will see amigo. I cannot predict the futur and especially for politics.
Talk to you in the further weeks.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-21 8:39:12 PM

"They are not sending an armies to conquer any teritory that I know"
No further questions, your Honor.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-21 8:43:28 PM

"The only reason the US get blamed (even hated) right now is because it is pretty poorly driven."

The same could be said of Quebec, but I digress...

Posted by: deepblue | 2007-02-21 8:53:44 PM


If Harper loses, Canada is lost.

Pretty simple choice it would seem.

Posted by: deepblue | 2007-02-21 8:58:16 PM

No Deep, your hate is much more profound than only that.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-02-21 9:03:32 PM


I wish I could say your comments are profound, but they appear to consist of vacuous one liners wrapped in intellectual laziness.

Posted by: missing link | 2007-02-21 10:01:11 PM

Intelligence is not an accurate indicator of how one will react. Harper, Layton, and Dion all hold advanced degrees in economics and political science. By that reasoning, they should be perfect. But they're not.

Instead, it is emotion. Layton is damn near a lunatic, obsessed with trying to make his party stand out from the Liebrals and Greens. Dion is ambitious yet has saddled himself with the legacy of Kyoto - the very issue his party avoided during its term in office.

Harper, on the other hand, is trying very hard to balance the needs of the country with the fortunes of his party. Many Tories want to abandon Kyoto, but he knows it is too risky to just throw it away. It's not easy, but I think he's doing a marvelous job.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-02-21 10:14:06 PM

"The only reason the US get blamed (even hated) right now is because it is pretty poorly driven."

Not even close. They have been hated off and on since they were founded. Optimists and go getters usually are. Their philosophy of life threatens the elites and leaders of other countries who rightly fear US domination...and not in the imperialist sense...but the sense of being advanced.

Think "gate test"

Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2007-02-22 5:51:04 AM


"Pretty simple choice it would seem."

So it would seem. Your statement presumes a well-informed electorate; it also presumes that a well-informed electorate will come to a reasonable conclusion. Based on past experience, neither of these can be taken for granted.

The CPC may well "win" the next election (and even with a majority) but it still looks to me that it would be because the LPC would loose it because of poor leadership and policies rather than the CPC won it because of good leadership and policies. It is obvious that Canada has not yet appreciated the CPC and Harper to the same degree that Alberta has.

Posted by: Brent Weston | 2007-02-22 5:54:59 AM

I am beginning to wonder whether Carter has converted away from his faith. Even secreatly. By publishing the lies that he has, he has taken sides with terrorists. I wish I could look him in the face and tell him just how awful I feel he is, for being a liar. There simply is no Apartheid Laws in Israel.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-02-22 12:01:06 PM

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