A Note to Jimmy Carter


Yesterday, I met with some Americans who have just returned from traveling to Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, and Libya. They met a number of high ranking state officials in these governments but also met with representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah.
What they report back about the Carter mission to meet with Hamas is that there has been no follow up, no communications or ongoing dialogue since the high profile meeting.
I’m only hearing from Americans who were reporting what they heard — and am not stating definitively that Carter and his Center have not followed up. But it is interesting that Hamas had hopes for an ongoing discussion — which they are seemingly not getting.
— Steve Clemons


14 comments on “A Note to Jimmy Carter

  1. Jim says:

    Did you contact the Carter Center for clarification before you posted the chippie comment? You might have learned something more substantial to report.


  2. David says:

    “We dump on Jimmy Carter at our own risk.”
    Amen, rich.


  3. rich says:

    What’s got the most explanatory power? Given what we know of Carter and his character?
    Since a two-party Hamas-Carter dialogue isn’t exactly a summit of holistic scope, perhaps The Man from Plains is working on the other pole of the stakeholder picture here.
    Carter might be working on Israel to cough up an equivalent gesture of good faith. Which would be enormously time-consuming. Dunno enough; haven’t followed this specific narrative.
    We dump on Jimmy Carter at our own risk. The inexcusable “DAY 444” drumbeat of the Iranian hostage situation in ’79 brought us Reagan, Iran-Contra, Bush and a hugely resurgent Iran. Funny how that kinda foreign policy backfires.
    Contrast that with George Bush’s “Rose-Garden Strategy”—and the media’s plain double-standard in not pounding Bush with the same tactic: We’ve seen no “DAY 2,569 of Osama bin Laden On the Loose” nor a “Bush Hides in Rose Garden” hue and cry. Odd, that.
    Given their record, which Prznt deserves a fair hearing? Active and insistent pressure?


  4. Mr.Murder says:

    Bush micro managed people to the point of signing loyalty oaths.


  5. JamesL says:

    Many people love to dump on Carter. Among the criticisms was that he micro-managed. We currently have an administration that has macro-managed the country into a massive debt, international disrepute, and has managed to tie down and deplete the majority of the US military ground forces in a relatively small desert area in the Mid East from which there is know known exit. Short of actually taking the US over the edge into total collapse, which he may yet accomplish, Bush has done more bad things to good Americans than any president in history. Why anyone would deride a man in his 80’s for “not doing enough” while not demanding that Bush be impeached and then sent on to the Hague for international review is beyond my understanding. George Washington would be appalled at how ignorant we have become, but would immediately see why we are where we are.


  6. Linda says:

    The following on Carter’s education and early career from Wikipedia might be of interest since he went to Naval Academy just as McCain did (though McCain finished 894th in a class of 899):
    “He attended Georgia Tech and Georgia Southwestern State University where he struggled with basic science and math before receiving an appointment to the United States Naval Academy where he eventually received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1946 and is the only graduate of the Naval Academy to become President.[9] Carter finished 59th out of his Academy class of 820. Carter served on surface ships and diesel submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. As a junior officer, he completed qualification for command of a diesel submarinem but never commanded one.
    He applied for the U.S. Navy’s fledgling nuclear submarine program run by Captain (later Admiral) Hyman G. Rickover. Rickover’s demands were legendary, and Carter later said that, next to his parents, Admiral Rickover had the greatest influence on him.
    Carter claimed to love the Navy, and had planned to make it his career. His ultimate goal was to become Chief of Naval Operations. Carter felt the best route for promotion was with submarine duty since he felt that nuclear power would be increasingly used in submarines. During service on the submarine, USS Pomfret, Carter was almost ashed overboard.[10] Carter began studies in introductory nuclear reactor power at Union College starting in March 1953. This followed Carter’s first-hand experience as part of a group of American and Canadian servicemen who took part in cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown at Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories reactor.[11][12]
    Upon the death of his father in July 1953, however, Lieutenant Carter immediately resigned his commission and was discharged from the Navy on October 9, 1953.[13][14] This cut short his nuclear power training school, and he was never able to serve on a nuclear submarine, as the first of the fleet was launched January 17, 1955, over a year after his discharge from the Navy.[15] Carter is the first and only Korean War era veteran to be President.”


  7. Mr.Murder says:

    Camp David was historic as well. No Republican President in history has reached similar achievement in the Mid East.


  8. Kathleen says:

    Mr. Murder.. I didn’t know Carter was a submariner… that says a lot about his ability to function in tight places under extreme pressure… I was born and raised in New London, CT. home of the first Submarine Base. A submariner’s training program is renowned for its rigor. Not the stuff of draft dodging armchair warriors, who go faux hunting and shoot friends in the face for fun. OOOOOOps.


  9. Mr.Murder says:

    Carter was a submarine captain, the man understands subtle ways of getting results. Beneath the surface there remains an ability to shape outcomes and wield influence.
    By the way, Jimmy Carter’s Energy Policy in the 70s that big oil opposed demand their major themese be adopted today.
    He was four decades ahead of Peak Oil.


  10. Kathleen says:

    Jimmy Carter is being ridiculed for actually wanting peace in the Middle East and going there to try to achieve it. Something rotten with that picture.
    Carter is being criticized because he didn’t have a magic wand instant solution to something that has been unsettled since 1948.
    We should have sent Clark Kent.


  11. Michael says:

    Hi Steve,
    While it may be true that Carter hasn’t continued the conversation (I don’t know), it should be noted that the Israeli news last night (we get the Israeli channel at home) fawned over Carter’s involvement in getting Hamas to allow Gilad Shalit to send a letter to his family. The commentator said of Carter “the person that promises and delivers”… my shoddy translation. I think to acknowledge that Hamas had the letter sent through the Carter Center is meaningful. Now it’s up to Israel to respond in kind. When and if there is a prisoner swap and Shalit is released –Israel, the US, Obama, and McCain owe Carter an apology. And while there at it – they can apologize to Rob Malley as well!
    Cheers, Michael


  12. WigWag says:

    Jimmy Carter. The Israeli leadership wouldn’t even meet with him the last time he was in Israel. It’s been reported that the State Department practically had to beg the Israelis to provide him with a secuity detail. The Bush Administration chastises him every chance they get. McCain tries to ridicule Obama by comparing him to Carter and Obama operatives are working furiously to find a tactful way to prevent Carter from addressing the Democratic Convention in prime time.
    Where is his dialog with Carter supposed to go? The man is persona non grata with Israeli and U.S. leaders. I just don’t get it.
    I guess he could use his discussions with Hamas as the basis of his next book.


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