The story, as Mr. Carter recalled, began with a recent dinner for 17 he attended in New York, where the guests included the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Jan Eliasson; an unidentified American representative, and other U.N. ambassadors from "powerful" countries at Turtle Bay, of which he mentioned only three: Cuba, Egypt, and Pakistan. The topic was the ongoing negotiations on an attempt to replace the widely discredited Geneva-based Human Rights Commission with a more accountable Human Rights Council.Since when does a former president make statements asserting what the policy of the present administration of a different party will be?
"One of the things I assured them of was that the United States was not going to dominate all the other nations of the world in the Human Rights Council," Mr. Carter said. However, on the next day, Mr. Carter said, Mr. Bolton publicly "demanded" that the five permanent members of the Security Council will have permanent seats on the new council as well, "which subverted exactly what I have promised them," Mr. Carter said.
"So I called Condoleezza Rice and told her about the problem, and she said that that statement by our representative was not going to be honored," he said. But despite Mr. Carter's assessment that there are "a lot of people" in Washington who oppose Mr. Bolton on the Human Rights Council, Mr. Bolton's opposition to the proposed new structure became American policy.
And then he goes on to make fun of Bush's Christian faith.
But Carter is not done as he continues in his speech to attack Israel as being to blame for the problems between Israel and its neighbors.
He also reiterated his known view that most of the problems in the Israeli-Arab front derive from Israel's settlement policies and its building of a defensive barrier in what he insisted on calling "Palestine."Carter has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity as those who oppose Bush, like the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, can have Carter come speak knowing that he can be counted on to bash Bush's foreign policy.
"From Dwight Eisenhower to the road map of George W. Bush, our policy has been that Israel's borders coincide with those of 1949," Mr. Carter said, adding, "All my predecessors have categorized each settlement as both illegal and an obstacle to peace."
On April 14, 2004,President Bush said in a speech, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." He later cemented that statement in a letter to Prime Minister Sharon, which became the stated American policy on Israeli settlements.
The host of yesterday's event, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, who has served several presidents in key Middle East roles, including most recently Mr. Bush, told the Sun yesterday that while American officials frequently defined settlements as an "obstacle to peace" they refrained from calling them "illegal."
How about having a forum assessing Carter's foreign policy from his time as president? I'm sure that there are many lessons we can learn from studying his actions upon the world stage from both his presidency and post-presidency period. And his cultivation of dictators from Yasser Arafat to Kim Jung Il. If you need a refresher, read this piece at Ankle Biting Pundits which does an admirable job of reviewing Carter on foreign policy.