Jimmy Carter: John Bolton ‘a Disaster For Our Country’

Jimmy Carter and Yasser Arafat (Ric Feld / Associated Press)
Ric Feld / Associated Press

Former President Jimmy Carter called President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Ambassador John Bolton as his new National Security Advisor “a disaster for our country.”

Speaking to USA Today, Carter called Bolton “a warlike figure,” and elaborated: “Maybe one of the worst mistakes that President Trump has made since he’s been in office is his employment of John Bolton, who has been advocating a war with North Korea for a long time and even an attack on Iran, and who has been one of the leading figures on orchestrating the decision to invade Iraq.”

Carter’s mishandling of American foreign policy, particularly during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-80, was one of the keys to his political demise in the 1980 election.

He resurfaced in Pyongyang in the mid-1990s, when he intervened in the midst of a crisis with North Korea and negotiated an agreement — the “Agreed Framework” — under which the regime, then ruled by Kim Il Sung, agreed to “freeze” its nuclear program in exchange for new nuclear reactors that would not produce weapons-grade material, and oil supplies.

President Bill Clinton was known to be furious with Carter, whose intervention had effectively foreclosed any use of military force to confront the regime. Carter had, the Washington Post later noted, acted as “a private citizen … without authorization or authority.”

Carter was not, however, prosecuted under the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from conducting diplomacy on behalf of the United States, and which was used to spy on former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Later, Carter’s interventions were blamed for helping to launch a Palestinian terror war against Israel. As Alan Dershowitz argues  in The Case Against Israel’s Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace, during peace talks at Camp David in 2000, Carter may have advised then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat “to reject Israeli offers and walk away from the table.” (41) Arafat launched the second intifada soon thereafter.

Carter told USA Today that he was worried that Trump was appointing people who supported his administration’s policies.

“I am concerned as a matter of fact about his deliberate moves to get into the key positions of government just people who agree with him,” he said.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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