A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Does America need a regime change? Interview with Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter has given an interview to Der Spiegel (Germany's equivalent of Time Magazine or Newsweek). The original transcript has just been published on its website.

What's interesting about this interview is not only what the President has to say but rather what he kind of questions are asked. Some of these questions could have been phrased by Daily Kos contributors but I would doubt you'd read any of those in Newsweek or Time.

President Carter speaks about moral principles, the situation in the Middle East, Guantanamo, Christian fundamentalism, Iraq, Cuba and the November elections.

First, about those questions. How do you like the following:
You also mentioned the hatred for the United States throughout the Arab world which has ensued as a result of the invasion of Iraq. Given this circumstance, does it come as any surprise that Washington's call for democracy in the Middle East has been discredited?

One main points of your book is the rather strange coalition between Christian fundamentalists and the Republican Party. How can such a coalition of the pious lead to moral catastrophes like the Iraqi prison scandal in Abu Ghraib and torture in Guantanamo?

So how does this proximity to Christian fundamentalism manifest itself politically?

Was the whole country in danger of losing its core values?

You sought to normalize relations with Castro, but that never happened. Has anything been achieved through Cuba's isolation?
Does America need a regime change?
It's incredible to read this interview. I urge you to read it in full. However, I'll give you some excerpts of what President Carter had to say.

On the question of this administrations (im)morality:
There's no doubt that this administration has made a radical and unpressured departure from the basic policies of all previous administrations including those of both Republican and Democratic presidents.
On America's role in achieving peace in the Middle East:
Yes, as a matter of fact as you know ever since Israel has been a nation the United States has provided the leadership. Every president down to the ages has done this in a fairly balanced way, including George Bush senior, Gerald Ford, and others including myself and Bill Clinton. This administration has not attempted at all in the last six years to negotiate or attempt to negotiate a settlement between Israel and any of its neighbors or the Palestinians.
On Christian fundamentalism:
The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. [...] Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them -- which is also a radical departure from past history.
On the danger of America losing its core values:
For a while, yes. As you possibly know, historically, our country has had the capability of self-correcting our own mistakes. This applied to slavery in 1865, it applied to legal racial segregation a hundred years later or so. It applied to the Joe McCarthy era when anti-communism was in a fearsome phase in the country like terrorism now. So we have an ability to correct ourselves and I believe that nowadays there is a self-correction taking place. In my opinion the election results in Connecticut (Eds: The primary loss of war supporter Senator Joseph Lieberman) were an indication that Americans realized very clearly that we made a mistake in going into Iraq and staying there too long.
On the November elections:
As I've said before, there is a self-corrective aspect to our country. And I think that the first step is going to be in the November election this year. This year, the Democrats have good chance of capturing one of the houses of Congress. I think the Senate is going to be a very close decision. My oldest son is running for the US Senate in the state of Nevada. And if just he and a few others can be successful then you have the US Senate in Democratic hands and that will make a profound and immediate difference.
The President is of course talking about his son Jack Carter, who is running for Senate from Nevada. Show the President some love and respect and contribute to his son Jack if you can.


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