Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Blast from the Past

Is it 1977? I only ask because the media has been dominated by the story of Jimmy Carter's upcoming meeting in Syria with the leader of Hamas. This is an organization hell-bent on the ultimate destruction of the state of Israel in the Middle East. They are unwavering in their objectives and will stop at nothing in order to accomplish them. They advocate attacks upon civilians and attempt to legitimize their outfit by running for public office in the Palestinian Authority. This is an entity listed by the United States along with other countries as a terrorist organization. The bedrock principle in modern American foreign policy is our refusal to negotiate with terrorists.

Jimmy Carter must have been absent from his high school civics class during that lesson.

For a man whose presidency will not intrigue too many historians, his life since being ousted from office by Ronald Reagan (489 electoral votes compared to Carter's 49, but who's counting) has been admirable. He has worked as a humanitarian on a range of issues and has established the Carter Center specifically to address human rights conditions throughout the world.

But he hasn't been quiet in his criticisms of his successors, particularly those on the other side of the aisle. He was critical of President George Bush (41) and his operation of the Gulf War. Carter threw considerable remarks at President Clinton (and rightly so) after his pardon of Mark Rich in 2001. And recently Carter has called the current Bush administration "the worst in American history". He has also labeled the religious voters of the right as threats to American democracy and advocates against their influence in elections.

President Carter no longer speaks on behalf of this country. He is a distinguished man with an impressive track record of humanitarian accomplishments. His popularity as a statesmen is certainly higher out of office than it was during his presidency. But he has no legitimate authority in conducting foreign policy initiatives that directly contradict the stance of this nation. If he wishes to be included in the very important dialogues of Middle East peace, then he must go through the proper channels i.e. President Bush. The administration has an agenda it wishes to accomplish with regards to the Middle East. It is far from perfect but there are individuals working tirelessly to further the peace in the region and Carter's visit only serves as another roadblock.

Two distinctly different foreign policies are far more dangerous than a single yet admittedly flawed one.

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