Former President Jimmy Carter has an op-ed in today’s NYT that, surprisingly, isn’t drawing any attention. It’s full of the unfounded optimism that is Carter foreign policy, most notably this rather credulous passage:

Carter Center monitors visited polling sites throughout Liberia on Election Day in July 1997, and were impressed with the overwhelming commitment to peace and democracy. Rosalynn and I began our day at a large open-sided shed near the capital, and we had tears in our eyes when we saw people, overwhelming numbers of registered voters, lined up in the dark, in a steady rain, long before the polls opened. At the end of the day, Charles Taylor received about 75 percent of the total vote — because of strong support of people whom he had dominated in the rural areas and because others in Monrovia felt that he might resort to violence if he lost.

Now, which is it? A tyranny ruled by fear? Or a peace-loving democracy? (Hint: There has been near-constant violance there for the last 15 years.)

Interestingly, while Carter calls for a token US effort there, he thinks the main burden should be borne by west African states.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. A civilized nation would hospitalize such a fool to protect him from himself…