Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jimmy Carter: There He Goes Again

Jimmy Carter, the darling of the anti-Israel left, continues his effort to give legitimacy to Hamas in the pages of yesterday's New York Times. Anyone with a working knowledge of 20th century history cannot fail to recognize the parallels between Carter and another tragically wrong-headed failed Western leader, Neville Chamberlain.

Actually, Carter's misguided missive adapts surprisingly well to Chamberlain's capitulation at Munich in 1938. Imagine that Carter had been writing at that time...... (you can apply the appropriate "Wayback machine" sound effects and visuals here) and this is what would have appeared in the Times in September 1938:

A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE Washington policy in recent years has been to boycott and punish political factions or governments that refuse to accept United States mandates. This policy makes difficult the possibility that such leaders might moderate their policies.

I, my wife and my son went to Germany. My goal was to learn as much as possible to assist in the faltering peace initiative endorsed by Prime Minister Chamberlain. Although I knew that many in the West were concerned about the government of Germany and leaders of the Nazi Party, I did not receive any negative or cautionary messages about the trip.
The Carter Center had monitored German elections since 1928, including one for parliamentary seats in January 1933. The Nazis had prevailed in several municipal contests, gained a reputation for effective and honest administration and did surprisingly well in the legislative race, displacing the ruling party. Eventually, the Nazis gained control of Germany and opinion polls show them steadily gaining popularity. Since there can be no peace with Germans divided between Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, we at the Carter Center believed it important to explore conditions allowing the Nazis to be brought peacefully back into the discussions.
We met with Nazi leaders from Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland, and after two days of intense discussions with one another they gave these official responses to our suggestions, intended to enhance prospects for peace:

Germany will accept any agreement negotiated with the government of Czechoslovakia, as long as it is put to a referendum of Germans everywhere.

When the time comes, the Nazis will accept the possibility of forming a nonpartisan professional government of technocrats to govern the Sudetenland until the next elections can be held.

The Nazis will also disband the SS if a nonpartisan professional security force, led by the same individuals, can be formed.

The Nazis will permit Jews held in concentration camps to send letters to their families.

The Nazis will declare a peaceful border between the Sudetenland and the rest of Czechoslovakia, which might be extended to the rest of Europe at some later time.

Through more official consultations with these leaders, it may yet be possible to revive and expedite the stalemated peace talks between Germany and its neighbors. In Europe, the path to peace lies in negotiation, not in isolation.

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