Just a couple of days after calling the Bush admin "the worst in history" when it comes to foreign policy, former President Jimmy "Why Not the Best" Carter is pulling back.
In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazetter, the Man from Plains, laid into Bush thus:
"We now have endorsed the concept of preemptive war where we go to war with another nation militarily, even though our own security is not directly threatened, if we want to change the regime there or if we fear that some time in the future our security might be endangered," he said.
Carter, perhaps best remembered now for fighting a killer rabbit to a draw, collapsing during a Fun Run, and overseeing a spectacularly too-little, too-late botched rescue attempt of the American hostages being held in Iran, also kicked Tony Blair around a little, calling the outgoing Brit PM "Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient." More here.
Bonus: Carter was being interviewed to talk up a line of audiobooks of Bible stories he's doing.
Well, what do you know? Carter's on the money regarding the preemptive war stuff. Or, less precisely, he's right to intimate that our general foreign policy above and beyond Baghdad needs a hell of a lot work. There's no overarching vision that allows for a coherent strategy that either the U.S. or other countries understand right now. This is a problem that began five minutes after the Berlin Wall fell, and we've yet to have a serious debate about what U.S. foreign policy should be like.
In any case, Carter's trying to take it back now. The man who boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games as a response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has now told NBC:
"My remarks were maybe careless or misinterpreted. But I wasn't comparing the overall administration and certainly not talking personally about any president."
More here. So the legacy of this latest Carter intervention may be more to burnish Carter's rep as a feckless statesman (and supporter of dictators even as he preached humanitarian foreign policy) more than directing substantive analysis on Bush's foreign policy.