21 April 2008

But He's Hopeful That He Can Talk Them Out Of It.

Carter Says Hamas May Accept Right of Israel to Exist (Alisa Odenheimer, Bloomberg, 4/21/08)
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who helped broker peace between Egypt and Israel in 1978, said that Israel's enemy Hamas may accept, under certain circumstances, the Jewish state's right to exist.

Hamas leaders told Carter that the group would accept a peace agreement negotiated by the leader of the rival Fatah group, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, on condition that the agreement is submitted to the Palestinian people for approval, the former president said in a speech in Jerusalem.

"Hamas leaders said they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 border and the right of Israel to live as a neighbor, provided the agreement was submitted to the Palestinian people for overall approval," Carter said.
The odd thing about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is that everyone knows what the peace would look like, it's just that no one wants it. Because of that, the standard negotiator's tactic of getting people to dicker over the small questions until they get so emotionally invested in the process that they compromise the big questions, won't work.

32 comments:

aog said...

Carter works fast — Hamas has already repudiated this statement.

Harry Eagar said...

World's biggest chicken coming home to roost. Christians ought to feel like right idiots about this, but I've never noticed that any do.

jim hamlen said...

Harry - why? Carter hasn't spoken like a Christian since probably 1977, and aside from a few contrite moments driving home nails, he hasn't acted like one, either.

David said...

And, of course, Christianly speaking, driving home nails is a thoroughly ambiguous pastime.

Peter Burnet said...

Harry doesn't like Carter. Ergo...

Harry Eagar said...

I was thinking of the regrets Christians might have for having persecuted the Jews for 1,800 years, so that the creation of a Jewish state far away from Europe was thought necessary.

Under any other historic conditions I would regard resettling populations and erecting a racial/religious state a bad idea.

Hey Skipper said...

was thinking of the regrets Christians might have for having persecuted the Jews for 1,800 years ...

Gee, ya think?

Harry Eagar said...

Actually, I admired Carter's brave conception of international relations during his presidency.

He almost became the only American president to serve out a term without killing anybody, which would have been remarkable.

He gave the world a chance to step up to the plate and demonstrate that the ideals of the UNO, of collective security, of equal dealings between the small and the great etc. were doable.

The world didn't step up, so we can consider that book closed.

Reagan, who followed, was too stupid to take the lesson, and we are suffering for that.

Carter didn't take his own lesson, either, a kind of personal tragedy but easier to explain and (for me anyway) accept than Reagan's stupidity.

No scalps on Jimmy's belt, so he's a sap, while the Lion of Grenada is heroized. Feh.

Peter Burnet said...

Harry, tell me, do you personally share the regrets and sense of responsibility you say the Christians should be feeling for those past persecutions? The reason I ask is that I am fascinated by the parallels between religion and modern secularism and I'm trying to figure out whether you also believe proclamations of faith wash away your sins.

Harry Eagar said...

No, I'm not a Christian.

The church claims to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which means continuous. And, as il papa reminded his flock last week, he ain't kiddin' about the continuity.

In for a dime, in for a dollar. If you enter the church, you are accepting all that baggage.

Secularism is exactly the opposite, not parallel at all. The whole point of secularism is the permission it gives to correct bad habits.

Sure, I choose to live under the U.S. Constitution, and when it was written slavery was legal. We changed that. We don't inherit the sins of the past, unless we keep sinning.

When I was a Catholic, I was taught that the worst sin was pride. I no longer believe in sin.

People do what they do because they think it right, not because they think it wrong.

But when I pass judgment on others for mistakes, I pass a heavier judgment on those who have had a chance to correct the old, bad ways and chose not to than those who are making novel mistakes.

The novel mistakes may have a worse absolute outcome than the old ones, but they are less culpable.

My physics adviser and I were just talking about the digital revolution and how we are doing a worse job in preserving our records than our paper-restricted ancestors.

His hard drive crashed, and he's working on a eulogy for a friend of his who wrote a book based on the diaries of a 17th century politician, so he's thinking about cultural heritage.

The people who created the digital revolution didn't think it through, and civilization will pay a high price for the mistake, because most of the records we are creating will not last 300 years.

This costly mistake was not 'sin' for the pioneers, but it's beginning to turn into sin now.

All our heavy blog thoughts. Who will be able to read them? Not our grandchildren.

aog said...

Mr. Eagar;

So you admire the admittedly totally unrealistic conception of international relations held by Carter, but think Reagan was the stupid one? Fascinating.

Harry Eagar said...

I admired the courage of the attempt. I was agnostic about its chances, just as I supported Bush's regime change in Iraq while being agnostic about the probability that our incompetent military high command could do the job

It's one thing to experiment -- and a very big thing to experiment with human lives -- and another again not to draw conclusions once the experiment was over.

What's your explanation of why neither Reagan nor any subsequent president has recognized the state of war with Iran? Or don't you think Iran is at war with us?

aog said...

Too infected by Carter's unrealistic vision of international relations. It's certainly the world view of the State Departments.

P.S. I think you're confusing delusion with courage.

Harry Eagar said...

Carter wasn't any more delusional than Reagan, just different delusions.

aog said...

Yet one is courageous and the other not? Fascinating. Of course, we disagree strongly on whether Reagan was delusional, but at least we agree about Carter's reality dysfunction.

joe shropshire said...

Harry: go here, pick a vendor, tell your old professor friend to do the same. Backups cost five dollars a month. Data recovery from old formats is an interesting subject, speaking as a guy whose life's work survives mostly onTK-55 and 75 tapes. Let's both hope that grad students 300 years from now are up to that challenge. I can tell you, and aog can explain to you why if he wants, that your old columns (and the condo ads that paid their wage) are at least as likely to survive a thousand years from when they were written as were, say, Florus's works. Pretty good deal for pretty minor output if you're asking me.

aog said...

Heh. I am not so sure about that anymore. I think that in the not distant future, encryption will do far more than the ravages of time.

Harry Eagar said...

Joe, as I understand it, the Library of Congress has a digital catalog that is unreadable because the dedicated machines (there were only a few) broke down.

It turned out not to be a hard drive crash but a motherboard failure.

My friend thought he was backing up with Ghost, but it turned out there was a hidden protocol that only supergeeks would have ever found, so Ghost stopped working at midnight on Dec. 31, 2005.

Oops.

jim hamlen said...

David - Thank you for (gently) pointing out my slightly uncharitable comment (and my double entendre).

What really bugs me about Carter is that he spent probably 20 years lusting after the Peace Prize, saying whatever would endear him to the elitist left, America and Presidential decorum (and his own intelligence) be damned. Now he has the gall to accuse Condi of lying, when the State Dept. made very clear the week before he left that his "mission" wasn't wanted.

He is a poltroon.

Duck said...

He almost became the only American president to serve out a term without killing anybody, which would have been remarkable.

Not for a lack of people needing killing. Like the Ayatollah, remember him, Harry? It's not a remarkable achievement, it's a shameful one. We'd be in a better spot today if Carter had the courage to nip that regime in the bud. Taking our embassy hostage was all the justification we needed.

aog said...

Without killing anyone? What about the of the military deaths every year Carter was in office?

Harry Eagar said...

Except for 8, at the very end and as a result of Carter's taking advice from idiot yahoos, there were 0 deaths as a result of military adventurism, good or otherwise.

Those deaths in your list were accidents, suicides and murders.

aog said...

Ah, you meant "didn't kill anyone through military adventurism", not "didn't kill anyone".

joe shropshire said...

The military loses plenty of people every year just from running around with sharp objects, so Harry's right about that one. Carter was yahoo-in-chief, though, as long as it was his watch. And of course the question here is, what would his second term have looked like. Khomeini beat Carter like a rented mule his first term, and might very well have enjoyed goading him into more yahooiness, and might very well have gotten some. Forbearance and forgiveness never were Carter's long suit; if they were, he would have eventually gotten over us not re-electing him.

Duck said...

Joe,

Carter can forgive any level of evil and depravity in the rest of the world - they're just children, after all. But he can never forgive America for rejecting his mantle of sainthood.

aog said...

joe;

I realize that, I just find it interesting that any number of domestic deaths are irrelevant, but a single "military adventure" death is a strong moral indictment of a President. If we're willing to have some number of soldiers die per year to have a military, does it much matter if they die in accidents or military action?

David said...

Harry's argument strikes me as similar to that caricature of fiscal conservatism that pretends that government spending money is, ipso facto, bad. Obviously, the real question is whether the money is well-spent. Similarly, as aog suggests, the question with military deaths in action is whether the goal was worth the sacrifice. (A questions that can only be answered ex ante but Americans have always judged our presidents ex post.)

The problem with Carter isn't that he tried to rescue the hostages. The problem is that the plan was half-assed, and the military was unprepared.

Harry Eagar said...

I, at least, do distinguish between military adventurism and ordinary misadventure, just as I distinguish between driving down the road at 55 and driving down the road at 105.

I dunno, who wanted to die for Grenada.

Joe might be right about a second Carter term. Iran has been at war with us since 1979. I favor escalating and concluding it, as cheaper in the long run.

As I said, I would have favored that in 1979, too, although the Carter alternative was not then obviously going to be unproductive.

Carter at least had the courage of his convictions. Why didn't Reagan finish the job?

David said...

US servicemen had died for much less reason than in Grenada, which turned out to be a key turning point in US military history. First, it was a win, however small, after a series of humiliations. Second, and more importantly, the politicians and Joint Chiefs were so horrified at the cost of interservice rivalry and poor communications (among other things, it killed a squad of Navy SEALS) that they actually went to work and solved the problem. It may be the Reagan Administration's most important military legacy. It is largely because of Grenada that platoons on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan can call down close air support quickly and reliably.

joe shropshire said...

I can remember a news story from Grenada, after the scrum was over, in which the commander of the 82nd Airborne contingent gave his troops the pep talk. "You are excellent! Don't let anybody tell you you're not" he told them, and I just laughed, and at the time that probably was a stone lie. But I knew even then why he said that, and it was the start of a long road back.

Harry Eagar said...

Dream on.

The one war story from Iraq or Afghanistan than resonates with me was from the Marine officer who had been strafed by a Warthog twice.

His comment: 'If I cannot have Marine air cover I don't want any at all.'

Nothing changed since 1945.

Duck said...

I dunno, who wanted to die for Grenada.

Did anyone die in Grenada?

But that's not the criteria for deciding where to go to war. It's not put up for a vote to the soldiers.

Grenada was a no-brainer. If a president isn't willing to take action in such a low risk situation, what credibility would any threat to a more formidable enemy have?