Iran Elections: Where's Jimmy Carter?

“I supported Mr. Obama from the beginning, even when he was a senator.” – Erica Kasraie, Confederation of Iranian Students, talking about her disappointment over Obama’s muted reaction to the Iran election.


 “The American political system wouldn’t measure up to any sort of international standards…” – former US president Jimmy Carter, on why his Carter will not monitor American elections. The Center is known for monitoring elections in places like Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nigeria, along with Palestinian elections in 1996. Center


 Where’s Jimmy Carter now? Why is he not injecting himself into Iran in one of the most consequential elections of our time? Because Carter is nowhere to be found in the Iran debate. He should have sought entrance to Iran weeks before the election to make sure that it was fair.


But Carter’s silence on Iran is understandable because Iran is strongly anti-American and anti-Israel, and Carter has long allied himself with such factions. And so he has not sought to question the fundamentalist mullahs by interfering in the election.


The Carter is a so-called ‘human rights organization’. So far, all of the foreign elections Carter has monitored have been certified as free and fair when most absolutely were not. If Iraq were having questionable elections, Carter would get involved to assure that they were “fair”, i.e., that that the anti-American side had just as good a chance as the pro-American side, just as he has done in places like Nicaragua and Venezuela. Center


Meanwhile Obama has been strangely muted over Iran, saying only “It’s not productive to be seen as meddling” and “The difference between Ahmedinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.” This latter statement is a disgraceful capitulation to moral equivalence.


Thus Kasraie should not be so puzzled over Obama’s lukewarm reaction to the Iranian crisis. Obama has Muslim roots. He recently gave a speech in Cairo praising the Muslim world. And he has long been associated with anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian characters like Rashid Khalidi.


In December 2006, Obama’s Muslim cousin Raila Odinga challenged a close election where his opponent Mwai Kibaki was declared president of Kenya. Following Odinga-inspired riots in which more than 1,000 people, mostly Kikuyu Christians, were killed and 300,000 people were forced from their homes, Odinga signed a power-sharing agreement in 2007.


In fact Obama’s offer to talk directly to the current Iran dictatorship is indicative of weakness and a willingness to skew American policy toward anti-democrat Muslims in the Middle East, rather than toward our ally Israel.


 “(Obama’s) request (to talk to Iran) means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed,” Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told the state news agency Mehr. “Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change.”


This appeared to be Carter’s message during his presidency, and why America telegraphed weakness during those years. Under Carter the United States, along with the American media, allowed the pro-American Shah of Iran to be driven from his nation by supporting his opponents and smearing the Shah to make him seem infinitely worse and more oppressive than he was; watched the Soviet Union invade Afghanistan without challenge; and terminated our relations with democratic Taiwan and recognized only communist China.


What does all this mean?


It means that we won’t see Jimmy Carter meddling in the Iran elections either. Because he prefers the current election outcome, with the pro-American candidate Mousavi defeated.


Carter sanctioned a 1996 Palestinian election in which Yasser Arafat claimed 88% of the vote. He approved the election of Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria in 2003 while Carter’s one-time UN ambassador Andrew Young was benefiting financially from Obasanjo. Carter “monitored” the most recent Venezuela elections in one of the most unfair systems in the world run by an increasingly tyrannical Hugo Chavez.


Yet Carter believes that American elections are not free and fair?


This is leftist dementia.


So what drives Carter?


Anger. All liberals are angry. And despite outward appearances, Carter was an angry president, and is still fuming over being voted out of office by a landslide in 1980. So as he did during his presidency, he continues to favor all world factions that are anti-American, just as Obama has offered dialogue with Iran and listened patiently as Nicaraguan demagogue Daniel Ortega ripped America to shreds in a speech.


President George Bush refused to hold talks with Iran which he dubbed part of an “axis of evil”. He demanded that Iran  suspend uranium enrichment and never eliminated the military option to strike Iran if it was decided that Iran had moved too far toward obtaining atomic weapons.


Obama has said that he will continue to reserve the military option, but is much less likely to use it than Bush. And the world knows it.


One cannot necessarily fault Obama for taking a relatively mild approach to Iran, although it has been far too passive. Here is his written statement from June 20:

The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.


As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.


Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.


Obama should ratchet up his rhetoric.


But there are dangers of speaking out too forcefully. In 1991, following the Desert Storm war to eject Iraq from Kuwait, president George HW Bush urged the Shi’ite population in Iraq to rise up against Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. But Bush offered no support for the Shi’ites. They did rise up and were slaughtered by Hussein.


The protests in Iran appear to be winding down and the mullahs may have won this round. More than 20 people have been killed. If Obama had used all his alleged international sway to organize a coalition to speak out against Iran, the world could be making a much more forceful statement. But with people like Jimmy Carter on the stage, that is going to be more difficult.


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