Jimmy Carter’s Notable Post-Presidency
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
He’s cut from a different cloth than other former US presidents. The Clinton co-presidency, Bush/Cheney and Obama use their former positions for self-enrichment.
Not Jimmy Carter, at age-93 still using his persona for public service and charitable causes. In 1982, his Carter Center in Atlanta was established to promote peace and human rights, improve global health, help mediate conflicts, and monitor elections worldwide, supporting an open, free and fair process.
Since 1989, it monitored 96 elections in 38 countries. Four US presidents were Nobel Peace Prize winners – Carter the sole deserving one for exemplary activities since leaving office.
Interviewed by the New York Times, below are the highlights of his remarks.
He’d love to undertake another diplomatic mission to North Korea. “I would go, yes,” he said to try easing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
He’s “afraid” of what’s ongoing, not sure what may happen ahead. The DPRK’s main concern is self-preservation.
“(W)e greatly overestimate China’s influence on North Korea. Particularly to (leader) Kim Jong-un. He’s never, so far as I know, been to China,” said Carter.
“And they have no relationship. (His father) Kim Jong-il did go to China and was very close to them.”
“Pyongyang has advanced nuclear weaponry that can destroy the Korean Peninsula and Japan, and some of our outlying territories in the Pacific, maybe even our mainland,” Carter explained. Not yet the latter capability, perhaps sometime ahead.
He told Trump’s National Security Advisor HR McMaster he’s “available” to meet with Kim in Pyongyang if asked to undertake a diplomatic mission – so far getting a negative response.
“The United States has been the dominant character in the whole world, and now we’re not anymore,” he said, adding: “And we’re not going to be. Russia’s coming back and India and China are coming forward.”
Conditions may be heading toward eventual multi-world polarity, a worldview Vladimir Putin strongly advocates, a way to advance peace and stability over endless conflicts today. The wildcard is nuclear armageddon, putting humanity’s survival up for grabs.
Carter sees little chance of Palestinians achieving self-determination or regional peace any time soon.
He blasted Obama for “ma(king) some very wonderful statements (about the region) when he first got in office, and then he reneged on that.”
He justifiably feels “his role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents.”
The Carter Center often deals with Russia on Syria. He doesn’t believe Moscow did anything to change votes in last year’s US presidential election.
He and wife Rosalynn (aged 90) voted for Sanders, not Hillary. He announced after leaving office he wouldn’t sit on corporate boards or “try to enrich (himself) with speeches.”
“I was patterning my policy after Harry Truman,” he said. After leaving office in January 1953, HST returned to Independence, MO as a private citizen – living in the same home he and wife Bess shared with her mother.
He declined offers to sit on corporate boards and engage in other commercial activities, believing using his persona for self-enrichment would diminish what the nation’s highest office is supposed to stand for – despite rarely fulfilling its promise.
His only retirement benefit was a $112.56 WW I army pension, no executive branch one and none for his Senate service.
On July 1, 1966, he and Bess were eligible for Medicare, enrolled as its 001 and 002 recipients.
In 1957, he said “(h)ad it not been for the fact that I was able to sell some property that my brother, sister, and I inherited from our mother, I would practically be on relief, but with the sale of that property I am not financially embarrassed.”
The following year, the Former Presidents Act authorized a $25,000 annual pension for former presidents. It’s now $205,000 along with other generous benefits.
Comparing the Carter Center to the Clinton Foundation, the former president said “Rosie and I put money in…We never take any out.”
Major media are “harder on Trump than any other president certainly that I’ve known about,” he said. “(T)hey feel free to claim that Trump is mentally deranged and everything else without hesitation.”
He called tearing down Confederate statues “hard” for him to accept, explaining his “great-grandfather was at Gettysburg on the southern side, and his two brothers were with him in the Sumter artillery.”
“One of them was wounded but none of them were killed. I never have looked on the carvings on Stone Mountain or the statues as being racist in their intent.”
“But I can understand African-Americans’ aversion to them, and I sympathize with them. But I don’t have any objection to them being labeled with explanatory labels or that sort of thing.”
He’s unsympathetic to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, preferring they demonstrate views in other ways.
At age 93, when most people need help from others, not physically the persons they used to be, Carter remains remarkably active, a cancer survivor going strong, using his post-presidency constructively.
For that, he deserves high praise.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”