JIMMY CARTER, FATHER OF RADICAL

JIMMY CARTER, FATHER OF RADICAL ISLAM?….One of the most annoying things about the warblogger community is that their hatred of Jimmy Carter is so bizarrely over-the-top that it forces me to defend him now and again. So let’s get it straight: Carter was a mediocre president who never found a compelling voice and who had little to show for the four years of his presidency. I voted for him in 1976 (yes, 14 days after my 18th birthday!) but not in 1980.

But he did have at least one thing to show for his presidency: the Camp David peace accords. So why does Glenn Reynolds say this?

In fact, much of our problem with radical Islamism today is because of Carter’s weakness and ineptitude nearly twenty-five years ago.

This is simply ridiculous. If there’s one thing that Carter might have accomplished if circumstances had been different it’s the reduction of tension in the Arab world. By refusing to take a one-sided pro-Israel approach he gained the trust of the Arab states and might have been able to build on that if he’d gotten the chance.

He didn’t, of course, because he supported the Shah too long and opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However, considering that those are both things that Ronald Reagan surely would have done too, I fail to see how this indicates any “weakness and ineptitude” on Carter’s part.

Say what you will about his methods and the rest of his presidency, but Carter has a pretty good record when it comes to peacekeeping, and this in a business where a batting average of one in ten is considered decent. Sure, a lot of people find his moralizing annoying ? hell, I find his moralizing annoying ? but if I were seriously trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, he’s a guy I’d want on my side.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation