It is saddening to read of the cancer which President Jimmy Carter has reported he suffers from. As a politician, a President and as a ‘Leader’, the judgement on him, especially in Foreign Affairs, is both abrupt and uncompromising: he was little short of disastrous. From his decision to remove support for the Shah of Iran in favour of a new alleged ‘Messiah’ named Khomeini, to the wholesale lunacy of handing the Panama Canal Zone over to a bunch of drug runners, he positively demonstrated that, apart from knowing how to plant and harvest peanuts, he really didn’t have much of a clue.
However, there is one area where he did shine, and it would be unfair to leave this part of Carter’s career in the shade, especially when it is all the rage these days to speak almost casually of ‘Yooman Rites’. When President Jimmy Carter spoke of Human Rights, he did not mention the wishy-washy union- and liberal-friendly crap which is so loved by the European Union, but the real package, the freedom to worship, even if it’s a mish-mash of ideas like Falun Gong; the freedom to congregate, even in a place like Tiananmen Square and talk about honest reform of government; the freedom to say “get stuffed” to a uniformed bully; the freedoms laid down by the United Nations in 1948, which have long since been either forgotten or misplaced.
He said in 1997, during a Foreign Policy speech, “The great democracies are not free because we are strong and prosperous. I believe we are strong and influential and prosperous because we are free. Throughout the world today, in free nations and in totalitarian countries as well, there is a preoccupation with the subject of human freedom, human rights. And I believe it is incumbent on us in this country to keep that discussion, that debate, that contention alive. No other country is as well-qualified as we to set an example. We have our own shortcomings and faults, and we should strive constantly and with courage to make sure that we are legitimately proud of what we have.”