It’s good to know that in a changing world, there are still some things that remain constant. We may not be able to rely on the value of the dollar and our republic may be sliding into chaos, but as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, Jimmy Carter will have a new book to flog, and he’ll have no idea what he’s talking about.
At a University of Texas lecture yesterday, former President Carter, whose primary career success was to have fended off an attack by a killer rabbit, expressed his faith that everything in Egypt will turn out just fine. “The demonstrators will not accept anything less than honest, fair and open elections,” he said, and then shamelessly added that the Carter Center, which has grown infamous for rubber-stamping rigged elections, would be as “involved as possible” in that process. That’s all Egypt needs.
Despite the immense weight of history and human nature to the contrary, Carter seems to think it likely that the Egyptian military will relinquish control when the time is right. “My guess is the (Egyptian) military leaders don’t want to give up their political influence or power,” Carter said. “But the military has seen what the demonstrators have done and will most likely submit to their demands.” “My guess,” indeed. What he doesn’t mention is that it’s thanks to his misguided policies that we’re all guessing these days. It was, after all, Carter who gutted our international intelligence capabilities, and we’ve been hopelessly behind ever since.
Nor does the former president find anything to be concerned about if it’s the Muslim Brotherhood to whom the military hands the reins. “I think the Muslim Brotherhood is not anything to be afraid of in the upcoming (Egyptian) political situation and the evolution I see as most likely,” Carter said. “They will be subsumed in the overwhelming demonstration of desire for freedom and true democracy.”
The Muslim Brotherhood has not been subsumed by anything since it was founded in 1928. It has endured brutal crackdowns by authoritarian regimes and increased its followership at the same time. Its backbone in Egypt has been its establishment of civil institutions that have consistently done better than the government at providing jobs, finding homes, and caring for its members. If true democracy is ever unleashed in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood stands more to gain than anyone, because it has been quietly at work in peoples’ daily lives for more than 80 years. For all that time, it has been shaping the landscape that is most likely to emerge if or when the military turns over control.
What is most amazing about Carter’s ignorance is that he seems totally unaware of the grave danger the Muslim Brotherhood poses to his only other career success, the Camp David Accords. Brotherhood leaders have made it unmistakably clear to everyone but the former president, that an Egypt under the influence of the Brotherhood will find cause to “renegotiate” the agreement that has done more to stabilize international relationships in the Middle East than any other.
For all his fecklessness, Carter has shown a surprising ability to keep rehabilitating his image over the years, which implies at least an animal cunning as far as self-preservation is concerned. With his naive statement about the organization that poses the single greatest threat to his legacy, he seems to have lost even that.