Archive for the ‘Jimmy Carter’ Category

Obama Respects Afghans More Than Americans

February 15, 2009

Earth shaking news today that Pressident Barack Obama has honored President Hamid Karzai’s request for Afghanistan’s official representation in the strategic review on the future of the U.S. and Afghanistan.

Karsai may have gotten the idea from U.S. Chaiman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen who has an Op-Ed in today’s Washington Post under the headline “Trust is the Coin of the Realm.”

Trust is the coin of the realm

 Obama Team Gloats: Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing

Too bad there was no such effort to involve Republicans in the formulation of the “strategic review” that built the just passed economic stimulus.

That’s because by most accounts, there was no real strategic review on the future of the American economy and what to do next by Team Obama, that we know about, for sure, even given the pledge on “transparency;” and the Republican involvement in the formulation of the stimulus was only given lip service.

We write this fittingly on Valentine’s Day; a day that is often charged with lip service.

Note to President Obama: Congressional Republicans represent something like 47% of the American voter population that voted for the other guy.

In Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke said President Obama welcomed President Karzai’s recommendation for his side’s total involvment in the U.S. planning effort.

Karzai said his foreign minister, Dadfar Rangin Spanta, would head the delegation.

Memo to Dadfar Rangin Spanta: when you meet Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid you are in trouble.  The “strategic review” is finished, if the stimulus is any guide.

Now maybe the White House, which honored Republicans before the vote on the stimulus with photo opportunity meetings with the president, a cocktail party, a Super Bowl feed complete with peanuts, and not one actual working group of real substance at the White House, Old Executive (excuse me, I’m old: Eisenhower) Office Building, or in the House or the Senate Office Buildings — will send a special envoy to meet Republicans.

I mean, there is a special envoy to the Middle East, isn’t there?  To Afghanistan?  Even Susan Rice, Ambassador to the U.N. is now said to have Cabinet Rank?

Where’s the outreach to Repubicans — and their 47% of the electorate — that has productive intention, real merit, and invites seriously serious input?

Real outreach to Republicans doesn’t exist and hasn’t yet in this presidency.

Trust is not the coin of this realm.

Let’s see: we need a White House special envoy to Republicans.  We are just thinking of guys that won’t be laughed at or ridiculed by say Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, John McCain, or talking heads like Karl Rove  and Charles Krauthammer.

How about  Rahm Emanuel or Jimmy Carter? 

No, maybe not.

Trust is not the coin of Rahm. Ask Judd Gregg.

And Afghanistan should know that the “bipartisanship” they really seek is not the kind of bipolar treatment that Democrats just gave Republicans during the stimulus enema. 

Hint to White House: you don’t need a special envoy to Rush Limbaugh.  Republicans only like him for his entertainment value….

But maybe the president himself could still be the special envoy to Republicans in the spirit of trust and bipartisanship?

Maybe not.

The president’s record on “outrach” and  bipartisanship to Republicans, and trasparency, so far, I mean during the stimulus, is like purchased sex with a working girl; it is sleezy and meaningless.  Maybe he needs some chachki toys or aluminum key chains with little hand painted “Air Force One” or “White House” gimmicks or the presidential Great Seal.  You know, creations to hand out to Republicans…..  Or maybe a little yellow tractor from Caterpillar on a key chain….  Or Abe Lincoln to remind one of two great presidents….

Karzai: watch out.  It’s not just the Taliban that will keep you awake with worry about trust.

If you get peanuts at the White House watch out.  And don’t be surprised….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

Missing from Congress’ stimulus negotiations: transparency

Afghanistan to take part in US strategic review

 Stimulus Proves Obama (And The NYT) Have No Idea What “Bipartisanship” Means; Or Could Care Less

 Stimulus: “Obama is popular but has no clout”

economic stimulus bill will prevent American 'catastrophe'

Photo: AP
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) talks with U.S. Special Representative ...

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) talks with U.S. Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke in Kabul February 15, 2009.REUTERS/Omar Sobhani (AFGHANISTAN)
Heavy reading 

Psst: Karzai.  If this is your agreement at the end of the ‘strategic review’ and you get it just before decision time, BEND OVER. House GOP leader John Boehner shows a copy of the massive bill, which he and every other Republican in the House opposed, along with seven Democrats. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior ... 
Special envoy material….. Trust is the coin….Leadership, bipartisanship, transparency, honesty, integrity and clout?  Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)


Middle East: President on Al-Arabiya, Mitchell Moving, Jimmy Carter Advice to Israel

January 27, 2009

President Obama was on Al-Arabiya TV telling Muslims they are not America’s enemy, envoy George Mitchell was traveling to discuss peace with all sides in the Middle East and former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Israel will face a “catastrophe” unless it revives the Mideast peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state.

Obama: Muslims not America’s enemy, “I have Muslim members of my family”

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama threw his weight Monday behind Arab-Israeli peacemaking when he sent envoy George Mitchell to the region with a brief to “engage vigorously” to achieve real progress.

Obama, promising to be more actively engaged in Middle East diplomacy than his predecessor George W. Bush, set the tone for the trip after meeting Mitchell who is due to visit Israel, the Palestinian West Bank and Arab states.

In the short run, the trip is aimed at bolstering a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip — following a three-week Israeli military offensive — and tackling the humanitarian crisis there.

Read the rest:


By PETER JAMES SPIELMANN,Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK – Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that Israel will face a “catastrophe” unless it revives the Mideast peace process and establishes an independent Palestinian state.
In an interview with The Associated Press, he said Arabs will outnumber Jews in the Holy Land in the foreseeable future.

“If we look toward a one-state solution, which seems to be the trend _ I hope not inexorable _ it would be a catastrophe for Israel, because there would be only three options in that case,” Carter said.

One would be to expel large numbers of Palestinians, which he said would amount to “ethnic cleansing.”

The second would be to deprive the Palestinians of equal voting rights, which he said would amount to “apartheid.”

The third would be to give the Palestinians equal voting rights, and therefore the majority, he said.

“And you would no longer have a Jewish state,” Carter said. “The basic decisions would be made by the Palestinians, who would almost very likely vote in a bloc, whereas you would have some sharp divisions among the Israelis, because the Israelis always have different points of view.”

Carter spoke to The Associated Press as his new book, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land,” was released.

Read the rest:

Did Obama set up Mitchell to fail in the Middle East?

January 24, 2009

In naming George Mitchell as special envoy to the Middle East, President Obama unfortunately made statements indicating no departure from the failing policies of previous administrations.
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, Ph.D
Online Journal Contributing Writer

In particular, Obama emphasized Israel’s right to “defend itself,” never once mentioned things like the occupation or international law, attacked Hamas (a duly elected movement that represents a significant portion of the Palestinian people), supported the strangulation of Gaza, demanded no resistance from an occupied people, and supported the Israeli occupiers in their violence that most recently killed over 400 children.

George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama's newly named ... 
George Mitchell, US President Barack Obama’s newly named Special Envoy to the Middle East, stands after the announcement at the State Department in Washington, DC. Obama vowed Thursday to aggressively pursue Middle East peace as for the first time since taking office he laid out his vision for ending the age-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.(AFP/Saul Loeb)

This logic has been tried before, including under the “aggressive diplomacy” of Bill Clinton and has yielded only a strengthening of Hamas, weakening of Fatah, continued Israeli colonization on Palestinian lands, and setting the stage for future conflicts. Further, such an approach is even more untenable now after the setback of the June 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon and the current war on Gaza.

As articulated well by President Jimmy Carter, it is wrong to frame this conflict simply as “democratic Israel” facing “terrorist groups like Hamas” and it is wrong to continue to fund Israeli wars while claiming to be an “honest broker.” It is analogous to describing the struggles in South Africa in the 1980s as “democratic South Africa” facing off against “terrorist groups like the ANC” (actually that was President Reagan’s framing in his first term in office as he supported Apartheid). Yes, some members of the ANC did use terror (including “necklacing” or burning their rivals alive) but that was miniscule compared to the state terrorism and apartheid they faced. The US cannot be an honest broker so long as the US government continues to….

Read the rest:

China woos U.S. ahead of Obama inauguration

January 13, 2009

China and the United States must boost cooperation to overcome the global economic downturn, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Tuesday, calling the crisis a crucial moment in their sometimes tense relationship.

Wen made the comments to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, visiting Beijing to celebrate 30 years since the two nations established formal ties, ending decades of Cold War estrangement.


The upbeat words of Wen and other senior Chinese officials to the Democrat elder statesman come at a time when the downturn is stoking trade tensions and Beijing is preparing for the new administration of Democrat President-elect Barack Obama.

“The current international political and economic situation is complex and changeable, and China-U.S. relations are at a crucial moment of drawing on the past to illuminate the way forward,” Wen told Carter, according to a report on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website (

“In particular, in responding to the international financial and economic hardships, we must strengthen mutual trust and cooperation and pass through the difficulties together.”

Wen’s published comments mentioned no specifics about handling the downturn, which has slowed China’s exports to the U.S. and other big consumers. But he and other Chinese officials sought to set a reassuring tone that one local analyst said was aimed at influencing Obama.

View of the first stage of the Yangshan deep water port located ... 
View of the first stage of the Yangshan deep water port located in Hangzhou Bay, southeast of Shanghai, showing piles of shipping containers ready for export. China’s exports fell for a second month in December — in its biggest fall for a decade — as the global crisis gnawed further into the nation’s trade-dependent economy, the government said Tuesday.(AFP/File/Mark Ralston)

“China is looking to reassure the U.S. that it doesn’t want to challenge its dominance even with the financial crisis,” said Yang Ping, chief editor of Beijing Cultural Review, a magazine on policy debates.

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China Trade Problems Means Loss of Jobs

From The New York Times

China’s exports and imports shrank at an accelerating rate last month, a trend likely to set off more job losses in the country’s export-oriented coastal regions.

The job losses, in turn, could cause further worries about social stability as millions of unemployed migrant workers return home to interior provinces.

Train stations across China are already mobbed with workers home early for the Chinese New Year holiday, which does not start until the end of next week.

A woman walks past containers at a port in Shanghai January ... 
A woman walks past containers at a port in Shanghai January 13, 2009. China’s exports and imports fell in December for the second month in a row, showing how badly the financial crisis is hitting the world’s fourth-largest economy and putting Beijing under pressure to do more to protect jobs.(Aly Song/Reuters)

Millions of workers have lost their jobs, according to Chinese officials. Others have been given extended furloughs by their employers because there is little work for them. And some workers have resigned from their jobs early to collect their paychecks before an expected wave of bankruptcies in the manufacturing sector over the holidays.

Measured in dollars, exports were 2.8 percent lower in December than a year earlier, while imports were down 21.3 percent, according to figures released on Tuesday morning by China’s customs agency.

The decline in exports followed a drop of 2.2 percent in November, and was the steepest drop since April 1999. China’s trade surplus narrowed slightly….

Read the rest:

Israel’s War In Gaza Unnecessary

January 8, 2009

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

By Jimmy Carter
The Washington Post
After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action.

Former US president Jimmy Carter, seen here in December 2008, ... 
Former US president Jimmy Carter, seen here in December 2008, speaks at the American University of Beirut.(AFP/File/Ramzi Haidar)

Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza.

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Obama Has Lunch With Bush, All Living Former Presidents

January 7, 2009

“I want to thank the president-elect for joining the ex-presidents for lunch,” Bush said.

“One message that I have and I think we all share is that we want you to succeed, whether we’re Democrat or Republican we care deeply about this country,” Bush said. “All of us who have served in this office understand that the office itself transcends the individual.”

See the resport from the Associated Press:

President-elect Barack Obama is welcomed by President George ... 
President-elect Barack Obama is welcomed by President George W. Bush for a meeting at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, with former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)