Here is Jimmy Carter’s Sunday New York Times op-ed in which he reveals himself--as he understands himself--to be a philosopher and a statesman, manifesting Solomonic wisdom and Aristotelian prudence. He not only understands the sweep of American history, the nature of international diplomacy, but also the theory of just war and international law. And he has a very clear understanding of what is in the interest of the United States.
A former president of the United States should not pontificate so in public, it is not only against American interests, it is embarrasing. At best, he ought to give advice to the current chief executive in private (as Nixon did with him and with Clinton, and as the older Bush did with Clinton). It is embarrasing that one of the most ignorant and least effective presidents in our history pontificates so barba tenus sapientes. Do we need to be reminded that this was the president who said we have an inordinate fear of communism and then admitted that he had been taught something about the nature of Soviet tyranny when they invaded Afghanistan under his watch? Do we have to be reminded that he thought any ruler following the Shah of Iran would be better? Do we have to be reminded that he was unable to get the American hostages out of Iran? Do we have to be reminded that this is the ex-president who in 1999 warned us not to send troops against Milosevic because we would end up in a "quagmire"?
Mr. Carter is a tedious fool, his ignorance is not an accident, it is his trade. He really ought to stop talking, stop putting pen to paper, and get himself a few tutors; ones who could show him that the projection of American power is generally for the good, ones who could explain to him that we don’t need U.N. approval to pursue our national interests, and ones who could show him that there is a difference between regimes, and some are called tyrannies and that the U.S.A. is not one of those. And, in passing, maybe they could explain to him the meaning of the French word malaise and why it doesnt have a home here.