Monday, September 26, 2011

Presidential Achievements to be Proud Of

From The Guardian, a British interview with former President Jimmy Carter:

What he's most proud of, though, is that he didn't fire a single shot. Didn't kill a single person. Didn't lead his country into a war - legal or illegal. "We kept our country at peace. We never went to war. We never dropped a bomb. We never fired a bullet. But still we achieved our international goals. We brought peace to other people, including Egypt and Israel. We normalised relations with China, which had been non-existent for 30-something years. We brought peace between US and most of the countries in Latin America because of the Panama Canal Treaty. We formed a working relationship with the Soviet Union."

It's the simple fact of not going to war that, given what came next, should be recognised. "In the last 50 years now, more than that," he says, "that's almost a unique achievement." He was bitterly opposed to both Iraq wars. "Iraq was just a terrible mistake. I thought so in Iraq 1, and I was against it in Iraq 2." And it's not just George W Bush who has blood on his hands, he says, but Tony Blair too: "I don't know what went on in private meetings when Tony Blair agreed to it. But had Bush not gotten that tacit support from Blair, I don't know if the course of history might have been different."

More than any other U.S. President in recent memory, Jimmy Carter, I think, best understands the limit, extent, and proper use of Presidential powers.

 

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