Jimmy Carter, the former president whose biggest claim to fame was the failure to win the release of U.S. hostages held by Iran’s regime — something that Ronald Reagan rectified on Day One of his White House career — has come forward to call out President Donald Trump as misguided for withdrawing America from the terrible Tehran nuke deal.
That’s expected; Carter’s no Trump fan. But what’s eyebrow-raising is the reason for Carter’s scorn — that history dictates Trump honor past presidents’ actions. Wrong. On history, it seems, Carter knows not of what he speaks.
“When a president signs an agreement,” Carter told CNN, “it should be binding on all his successors, unless the situation changes dramatically and it hasn’t changed.”
In January 2016, Barack Obama signed an executive order revoking sanctions on the rogue Iran regime.
As USA Today wrote at the time: “Obama signed an executive order … revoking a 20-year system of sanctions against Iran for pursuing a nuclear weapons program.”
Obama’s justification for doing so was that Iran had changed — that Iran had complied with global nuke-tied agreements and was therefore worthy of the relaxed punitive measures. But come on. Nobody but Obama and his Iran-friendly cronies believed that to be true. Just as leopards don’t change spots, demonic governments don’t drop their demons and turn saintly — and simply claiming sainthood doesn’t make them trustworthy.
But then there’s this, a headline from the Guardian from January 2017: “Presidents undoing their predecessor’s legacy: an American tradition.”
From John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, from Obama to Trump, the turn of tide of policy, regulation, foreign affairs and presidential orders from one White House administration to the next has traditionally gone forth, it seems.
“Presidents who repudiate their predecessors are not new,” the Guardian reported.
Somebody tell Carter.
“[This] may be the worst mistake Trump has made so far,” the ex-prez said, of Trump’s pull of America from the Iran nuclear deal. “Unfortunately, I think it signals a message to North Korea that if the United States signs an agreement, it may or may not be honored.”
No. Any nation that studies U.S. history already knows what one president does is not a guarantee of how the next will act. North Korea included.
So really, what Trump’s pull-out from the deal does instead is tell North Korea, as well as the rest of the world — particularly those nations that cast less-than-friendly eyes on America — that this White House, this country, is no longer content to sit back and wait for the diplomatic silliness to run its worthless route.
And on that, Carter ought to get his history straight. Strength through peace always works better than conceding, bowing and kowtowing. Just ask the three American prisoners who were just released from North Korea — the same North Korea that Carter just fretted would bail on Trump.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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