You have probably heard of a “rogue cop,” but now there is a “rogue former president” who is out independently and recklessly promoting his own foreign policy. However, this is certainly not a new stunt for Jimmy Carter; he has a long history of meeting with terrorist leaders in the Middle East. Once again, this former president defied the United States and Israel by meeting with top leaders of Hamas. U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick said of Carter, “His actions reward terrorists, lend support, and provide legitimacy to their belief that violence will eventually get them what they want.”
Myrick called on Secretary of State Condi Rice to revoke Jimmy Carter’s passport. He clearly is violating U.S. policy in meeting with leaders of a terrorist organization. The power to grant and revoke passports is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State. Carter reportedly hugged and kissed one of the Hamas leaders and met for seven hours with top Hamas officials.
After his visit, Carter told National Public Radio that he had not received a clear signal from the Bush administration not to go. In response, Condi told reporters, “We counseled President Carter against going to the region and particularly against having contacts with Hamas,” affirming that the State Department did indeed explicitly advise Carter against meeting with Hamas. Carter’s meddling creates confusion amidst the already ensuing Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Apparently, Carter has never gotten over losing to Ronald Reagan. “Perhaps [Carter’s] greatest regret in not being reelected was that it prevented him from completing a comprehensive peace agreement,” writes Carter biographer Peter G. Bourne. However, in 1983 Carter met with Hafez al-Assad, president of Syria, a known sponsor of terrorism. “In 1985,” Bourne continues, “Carter published The Blood of Abraham… what amounted to the strategy for a permanent peace that he would have pursued in a second term.”
By his actions, it appears that even though he lost the presidency in 1980, Carter is still trying to enact his strategy for Middle East peace. In 1987, Carter returned for a meeting with Assad despite the Reagan administration refusing to have any official contact with the terrorist organization, the PLO.
Upon his homecoming, Carter gave complimentary remarks concerning Assad. Around this same time, Carter began a dialogue with Yasser Arafat of the PLO. At a hotel in Paris in 1990, they finally met in person and discussed Middle East politics at length. On his most recent trip, Carter laid a wreath at Arafat’s grave, and praised him as a man who fought for “just causes” in the world. This was Carter’s heartfelt homily to a brutal killer.