President Carter Meeting With Iran's Khatami in Doubt
President Jimmy Carter has never been ashamed to say that he places a major emphasis on human rights. It is no secret that the Bush presidents - George H.W. and his son alike - have often been at odds with President Carter for Carter's sometimes assertive post-presidency involvement with international leaders while bypassing the authority of the Oval Office. President Carter firmly believed, before the U.S. became involved in war, that the first Gulf War would be the wrong move for America. It would be the first time we'd have shed blood in a Muslim nation and, always a prescient leader, Carter knew there would be repercussions for years to come.
9/11 was a by-product of America's many foreign policy disasters. Looking back, the first Gulf War was no victory. It was a half measure at best. If America was going to make the world safer back in 1990 by resorting to a war in a Muslim nation, we should have removed Saddam Hussein from power back then, Bush 41 popularity ratings be damned. But politics was played then as politics is being played by Bush 43 now. 130,000 troops in a place like Iraq where 700,000 is closer to the number necessary to occupy the cities, towns, and villages and subdue every insurgent element is an indication that this effort has been far less than a half measure.
Iraq had no 9-11 connection - zip - zero - nada.
Bush now proudly (?) calls Iraq his centerpiece of his war on terror, and he may as well be fighting it with American troops' hands tied behind their backs because it is far less than a hlaf measure.
Bush the chickenhawk tells us that it's a fight for civilization, yet he refuses to look into the eyes of the leaders of Syria and Iran. Some fighter he is. Some civilized example.
President Carter had wanted to meet with former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami when he visited America. Unfortunately, Khatami has said that he appreciated an invitation by Jimmy Carter to meet in Atlanta, but said "his schedule was already full." He said he hoped they might work together later on international peace and reconciliation issues 'if the grounds are prepared'. At least President Carter offered - and it's an open-ended offer. Experts on Iran had hoped that the visit could've opened a channel between America and Iran. Khatami attended the United Nations Dialogue of Civilisations conference in New York, addressed an inter-faith meeting at the National Cathedral in Washington and gave a speech to an Islamic group in Chicago. One Iranian expert in the UK, Dr Ali Ansari says, "This is an important visit because Khatami does still have clout in Iran. Much will depend on how the visit is hand. It is a very delicate matter." If there's one thing we know, it's that George W. Bush doesn't "do" delicate. It would've been quite a twist of fate if President Carter could have made a diplomatic difference with a willingness to look a foe in the eye and talk to him for the sake of humanity.
But don't expect the Bushes to ever support the former President. They are from two totally different Americas. The Bushes are far too proud. Political vengeance is the hallmark of their character. Cheney, too - he's still pissed off at President Carter for a certain letter of November 19, 1990 to international leaders that overstepped protocol. Perhaps President Carter was wrong at that time, but Cheney should have learned a great lesson from everything that's happened since. Unfortunatelyfor America, co-President Cheney is stuck in the muck of his uncivilized, inhumane, undiplomatic, and mistaken past.
Carter represents what we COULD have been, and what we should now strive to be. The problem is that a man of a truly altruistic and humanitarian nature, such as Carter, is morally incapable of committing to the kinds of political posturing and actions that allow you to prevail in today's political environment. The only way that society will chose morality over personal material enrichment is if society itself is moral. The despicable reality of the current American political scene is a window into the despicable reality of current American societal values. That is one of the reasons I am so pessimistic about our chances. They only sell us what we willingly buy.
Posted by: Pissed Off American at September 6, 2006 10:50 AM
In his latest book, President Jimmy Carter has pointed out that, until recently, all American presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have striven to restrict and reduce nuclear arsenals. Today, U.S. policy is threatening the effectiveness of international agreements that have been laboriously negotiated by almost all previous presidents. Because of the decisions of the U.S. President and some other national leaders, serious doubts have been cast on the future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], which has been in force since 1970. In rejecting or evading almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the past fifty years, the United States has now become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation. President Bush's move to lift nuclear restrictions and grant privileges to India, who has rejected the NPT, such as having exclusive access to nuclear technology, is a clear incitement for other nations to violate the treaty's restraints. While claiming to be protecting the world from proliferation threats, American leaders have abandoned existing treaty restrictions; have asserted plans to test and develop new weapons; and have reneged on past pledges, reversing long standing policy by threatening first-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states. The world is crying out for positive leadership from Washington.
In this NYT article, US ambassador to India David Mulford is pushing the idea of Congressional approval of what President Carter feels is the wrong path for America on the issue of non-proliferation.
"We hope the Senate will vote this month. If there is Senate action, we believe there will again be a large majority,'' [Mulford] told a Indo-U.S. business summit in New Delhi.
Mulford knows that if it goes past November, there will be more Democrats in the Senate who will take issue with the U.S. lifting nuclear restrictions and granting special nuclear privileges to a non-NPT nation.
India shows that it is unwilling to bend on very important U.S. concerns about accountability with the proposed new nuclear privileges, and that, combined with the fact that they've refused to be a NPT member, should be very disconcerting
Some changes proposed by U.S. politicians include a clause that would make it mandatory for the U.S. administration to certify India is sticking to the deal's terms and a condition that nuclear cooperation would end if it tests an atomic device. [..] New Delhi has repeatedly warned that any changes could destroy the pact.