Jimmy Carter continues his foreign policy follies. Now he claims to have brokered an agreement between Hamas and Fatah to form a "unity " government -- but there are conditions. From the Boston Globe:
WASHINGTON - Jimmy Carter is still trying his hand at peacemaking - this time among Palestinians themselves. In an interview with the Globe yesterday, Carter said he had obtained an agreement in writing from the leaders of the militant movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and the moderate Fatah party, which rules in the West Bank, to form a unity government of technocrats.
"They both have some preconditions, which is not very good," the former president said. "But [Prime Minister] Salam Fayyad, representing Fatah, could form a government with Hamas in a very short time under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and Egypt."
Following the meetings, Carter said he sent a letter to both leaders outlining a framework for a new government which they had discussed, and said they both sent him a written response approving the plan. Carter declined to detail the components of the proposal they endorsed but said he forwarded the letters to Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian official in charge of efforts to broker a lasting cease-fire with Israel.
Whether the Obama administration will shift its policy toward a unity government or toward Hamas remains to be seen. Obama's public statements on Hamas echo those of President George W. Bush. But shortly before Mitchell left for his trip to the Middle East, he asked Carter to urgently send a copy of his new book - which includes a chapter titled "Can Hamas Play a Positive Role?" Carter said.
"I think George Mitchell will carry out his mandate," Carter said.
Serial meddling in foreign affairs has been a bad habit of Jimmy Carter's since he left office. Habitat for Humanity is a charity and is non-political; but his ventures in foreign policy infringe on the role of the President. Americans who engage in such foreign policy making should be subject to the Logan Act. The Logan Act is a United States federal law that forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments. It was passed in 1799 and last amended in 1994. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable under federal law with imprisonment of up to three years.
The text of the Act is broad and is addressed at any attempt of a US citizen to conduct foreign relations without authority.
Bill Clinton was perpetually aggrieved by Carter's meddling during his administration and the bitterness lingers to this day. Carter frustrated and derailed Clinton's foreign policy approach towards North Korea and its nuclear weapons program (and this but just one example) and made it more likely that North Korea would continue its nuclear program
Faced with powerful evidence that the North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung was conducting a nuclear-weapons program that posed a looming threat to America's ally and de-facto protectorate South Korea, the President adopted the strongest of lines. "North Korea cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb," Clinton said last November. "We have to be very firm about it." Kim did not seem much impressed by Clinton's firmness: he refused American demands that he stop production of weapons-grade plutonium and open his nuclear facilities to international inspectors. By June of this year, the matter had reached the crisis point, with Administration officials threatening military action. On June 16, while Clinton and his top national-security aides were in the midst of a discussion on building up United States forces in South Korea, the phone rang, and it was Carter calling from Pyonyang. Carter informed Assistant Secretary of State Robert Gallucci, the point man on Korea, that he intended to appear live on CNN within 30 minutes to announce that he had negotiated a breakthrough agreement with Kim. As Clinton and his top aides watched aghast, Carter did appear on CNN. He described as a "very positive step" a stale, previously offered promise by Kim to freeze plutonium accumulation at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex and mistakenly assured the North Koreans that the U.S. was no longer pursuing economic sanctions against their country. Eventually, however, the North Koreans did agree to major concessions in return for diplomatic talks. But as congressional critics noted, the nuclear technicians at Yongbyon couldn't process the plutonium for 5 or 6 months anyway, because the highly radioactive rods needed to be "cooled." At the end of that time, North Korea could revive its nuclear program, finishing the year with enough plutonium in hand to make four or five bombs.
Now his meddling with Hamas and Fatah now may bring into existence a phony "unity government" that will usher in a new waterfall of foreign aid to Hamas (which will dominate the "unity" government until it is overthrown and dispensed with by them).
Most former Presidents realize when their role is over; they move on to a different stage (sage counselor, charity work); there has never been a President more determined to continue his term in office indefinitely. He has caused a lot of harm (validating the elections of Hugo Chavez, spinning for that tyrant and many other tyrants, such as Yasser Arafat). He is a disgrace. Time to give him the hook and pull him off the stage.