I don't think it's at all unreasonable to say that Hindrocket owes Carter a serious apology. Flinging this sort of totally unsubstantiated allegation is disgusting and utterly destructive of any effort to have serious debate about anything.
I tend to agree with Yglesias, in the sense that such hyperbole is destructive. And while I won't defend Hinderaker -- a thing I am, based on our previous interactions, not predisposed to do -- I should point out that such an allegation is not entirely without merit. If Matt wants substantiation...
Since leaving office, Jimmy Carter has intervened in US policy on more than one occassion. During the Clinton administration...
In 1994, President Clinton dispatched Carter to defuse an impending war with North Korea over that country's nuclear program. Again, Carter confused the foreign policy of the U.S. government with his own personal inclinations and conducted some free-lance diplomacy, this time on CNN. After meeting with Kim Il Sung, Carter went live on CNN International without telling the administration. His motive: Undermine the Clinton administration's efforts to impose U.N. sanctions on North Korea. Carter believed sanctions threatened the agreement he had worked out. By speaking directly to the world about the prospects for peace, he knowingly encouraged countries like Russia and China, which were resisting a sanctions regime. According to Brinkley, a Clinton Cabinet member referred to Carter as a "treasonous prick" for his behavior.
Perhaps no harm was done in that instance, and it may have even been good policy, though, it must be said, the Agreed Framework was mostly a framework in which the US and regional neighbors agreed to support North Korea, while North Korea agreed to pretend not to have a nuclear weapons program.
Worse, though -- and perhaps one of the most egregious, despicable actions ever undertaken by an ex-President -- was the time when Jimmy Carter actively campaigned to undermine the President of the United States with foreign leaders.
During the buildup to the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, Carter unsuccessfully worked to undermine the foreign policy of America's democratically elected president, George Bush. Carter behaved as the Imperial Ex-President, conducting a guerrilla foreign policy operation that competed with the actual president's. What's disturbing about this behavior is not that Carter opposed war with Iraq. Many Democrats opposed going to war, and they worked within the American system to try to prevent a war that many predicted would be bloody (which it was, for Iraq). But Carter went further than merely lobbying Congress to oppose military action or speaking out in an effort to tilt popular opinion against the coming war. He used his status as a former president to engage in foreign policy, a deliberate effort to subvert the democratic process.
In November 1990, two months after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Carter wrote a letter to the heads of state of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. He urged the countries to drop their support for Bush's proposed military solution. Instead, as Douglas Brinkley outlines in The Unfinished Presidency, his glowing but not uncritical assessment of Carter's post-presidential years, Carter asked the countries to give "unequivocal support to an Arab League effort" for peace. (As Brinkley notes, Carter's anti-war position conflicted with the Carter Doctrine he had outlined as president: Any "attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such force will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.") Right up to Bush's Jan. 15 deadline for war, Carter continued his shadow foreign policy campaign. On Jan. 10, he wrote the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria and asked them to oppose the impending military action. "I am distressed by the inability of either the international community or the Arab world to find a diplomatic solution to the Gulf crisis," he wrote. "I urge you to call publicly for a delay in the use of force while Arab leaders seek a peaceful solution to the crisis. You may have to forego approval from the White House, but you will find the French, Soviets, and others fully supportive. Also, most Americans will welcome such a move." Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft later accused Carter of violating the Logan Act, the law that prohibits American citizens from conducting unofficial foreign policy.
I wouldn't, as Hinderaker did, say that Carter is "on the other side". I also would not, as a Clinton administration official did, call Carter a "treasonous prick".
But I would point out that he appears to have violated US law, and attempted to undermine the US government.
Make of that what you will.
UPDATE: Matt may choose to call people tossing such allegations "just low-grade smear-artists" -- though, I'd pay a shiny quarter to find out the name of the aforementioned Clinton administration official whom Matt will henceforth call a "low-grade smear-artist" -- but it works both ways...
The truth, hard as it is to accept, is that Bush is an Iranian agent. Admittedly this theory suffers from a lack of direct empirical evidence. [...] The American people need to start asking themselves, whose side is Bush on?
UPDATE: Well, Powerline has responded, citing what appears to me to be a particularly damning instance in which Jimmy Carter attempted to ally himself with the Soviet Union rather than lose to Reagan.
I would not say that Carter is "on the other side", but--as I noted in the comments--he has certainly, and often, worked against the United States government.
Matthew Yglesias, responding to the Powerline post, writes...
Hindrocket would like to construe this as a dispute between his side and "those who admire Carter" but this is a red herring. I don't admire the Power Line bloggers, but I don't think they're on the other side. I don't admire George W. Bush, but I don't think he's on the other side.
I think Matt is correct to point out that "on the other side" implies that Carter is allied with our enemies -- and that is why I stop short of that description -- but I think he ignores Deacons more precise addition:
I'm not sure whether all of this places Carter "on the other side," but it's difficult to understand in what sense he's on our side.
I also find it odd that Matthew called that charge "unsubstantiated", but has proceeded to ignore the subsequent examples of Carter's (attempted) subversion of the US government.
I would point out that all I need to see, to understand Hindrocket's on the beam, is Carter sitting next to Rotundo Moore at the DNC last year.
That said, I don't find Carter a whole bunch different from most Democrats in that respect, given that I don't see a whole bunch of people on the left objecting to either of them. One can only assume that there is total agreement on the left with the like of Moore, Boxer, Kennedy, Whoopie Goldberg, Chevy Chanse and John Kerry.
I would call his piece "un"serious allegations, seriously demented". It may have been tongue-in-cheek, but it was not satire. Satire uses extremes to attack the folly of the objects being portrayed as extreme.
Were Matt's article a satire, it would have been satirizing the Democrats tendency to see Bush in the most cartoonish terms.
On the other hand, perhaps you have a point, and Matt is merely an agent provocateur, operating within the walls of the Prospect. A fascinating possibility.
In any event, such an article is equally "utterly destructive of any effort to have serious debate".
There is a real sense that if someone attempts to undermine foreign policy for a long enough period and in a variety of ways, they are on the "other side".
Robert Fisk is on the "other side". He finds capitalism and Western democracy not to his liking, and does his best to undermine it. As a demented journalist, his best doesn't amount to much.
Jacques Chirac, Dominique de Villepin, and friends see the best interests of France to be diplomatic and economic opposition to the U.S.. They are on the "other side", but in a way that is perfectly normal in international relations.
Jimmy Carter is a more difficult call. He certainly feels that his own view of foreign policy is the correct one for the U.S. The fact that the 4 Presidents who have followed him, thought that Carter's foreign policy is naive and a bit idiotic must really bother him. So where he can, and it what ways he can, Carter seeks to supplant current policy with his own. As an ex-President he has enough standing to seriously mislead people. That can have bad repercussions for the country. I wouldn't put Carter on the "othe side", but I do recognize that he is capable of creating dangerous situations that someone else will have to correct.
Were Matt's article a satire, it would have been satirizing the Democrats tendency to see Bush in the most cartoonish terms.
Translation: Were it satire, it would agree with my point of view. Because I disagree with it, it is not satire. It is "seriously demented."
Now I understand.
As an aside, the points Yglesias makes in his article are valid. An objective observer would have to conclude that Bush intended to assist Iran, if only because the opposing assertion - that he unintentionally assisted Iran - is simply too hard to believe.
What is even more interesting is that absoulte unwillingness on the Right to acknowledge that Iran's hand has been strengthed in any way. It is not simply an unwillingess to acknowledge this fact, it is an unwillingness to even entertain the question. It's not just partisan - it's bizarre - or "seriously demented."
What is even more interesting is that absoulte unwillingness on the Right to acknowledge that Iran's hand has been strengthed in any way. It is not simply an unwillingess to acknowledge this fact, it is an unwillingness to even entertain the question.
What's even more interesting is that you didn't bother to even suggest that you have evidence to support this claim, let alone actually provide any.
I'm kind of at a loss for how you can write all of that, including his active opposition to the U.S. since leaving office, and still object to saying that he's "on the other side." I don't understand how a contrary conclusion is even possible.
I do make a pretty good case, don't I? :)
Really, I tend to agree with what Pilsener wrote, and with Matt's statement that it's simply not conducive to productive discourse. It's destructive.
I would not say that Carter is "on the other side", but he's certainly, and often, working against the United States. The two aren't exactly the same thing, but I can see how they appear the same to many.
"I would not say that Carter is "on the other side", but he's certainly, and often, working against the United States. The two aren't exactly the same thing, but I can see how they appear the same to many." How can working against the US not be the same as being on the other side? Please explain.
Opposing the foreign policy of a particular administration is not the same as treason or being on the "other side" of the US. Just as it is not being "on the other side" or treasonous to oppose, for example, an administration's effort to create national health care. If you thought it was bad policy, you would have every right to try to undermine it and replace it with something better. What you are undermining is a particular policy, not the government per se.
Opposing the foreign policy of a particular administration is not the same as treason or being on the "other side" of the US.
You're absolutely right. However, I didn't cite mere opposition. I cited active attempts to undermine the foreign policy of the United States, by lobbying foreign leaders to oppose us. In both instances, he knew he was working at cross-purposes with the administration, and actually thwarted their foreign policy.
I seem to recall that former President Carter also meddled in the Clinton administration's business in Somalia, intervening on behalf of Mohammed Farah Aidid and arguably prolonging the civil war.
In the grand tally, that makes one unsubstantiated, probably false, rumor of collaboration with the Soviets, along with countless substantiated accounts of Carter's anti-US government "personal foreign policy" in Latin America, the Middle East, the Balkans, and elsewhere. Add to this his willing acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize as an anti-US political prop, and Carter doesn't look good.
That said, Carter doesn't look like a traitor, either. I agree with you Jon, that Power Line goes too far with the "other side" smear, yet the truth about Carter may be almost as damning: the only side Jimmy Carter works for, is Jimmy Carter's.
Had Kerry won the election, and Jimmy Carter set out to undermine Kerry's foreign policy initiatives for the sake of personal glory -- a hypothetical scenario which former President Clinton would doubtless tell us is realistic -- I think Yglesias, Drum, and other generally high-minded liberal bloggers would be less eager to rush to the Carter's defense. Alas, hypotheticals...
Peanuts believes that the United States should be evened down with other nations. He did more damage to us than the Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor. He is an enemy in the sense that he wants our interests subordinated to some world view. I suspect that someone has a picture of Jimmy buggering his Yeoman, and sends him a print occasionally just to keep him in line.