For the Love of Despots

by on April 18th, 2008

For reasons that defy both common sense and reason, modern liberals are drawn to despots and tyrants. The most notable, read egregious, example is former president Jimmy Carter, who this week met with Nasser Shaer, a senior leader of the Hamas terrorist organization.

Carter’s history of this kind of madness dates to more than thirty years ago. Recall that during some of the most tense years of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear missiles trained on the United States, Carter dismissed those who demanded that America take the threat seriously, calling them alarmists. He also had a hand in propping up the Pahlevi dictatorship in Iran, and, of course, left office with U.S. hostages in Iran–a shameful legacy.

We could also provide the gloss for his inimitable work with the North Koreans which led to the staggeringly naive Agreed Framework during the Clinton years, but it’s painfully embarrassing, so we’ll skip to the core of this issue: The Carter doctrine is predicated on the profoundly misinformed notion that good and evil are obsolete in the modern world, and that belligerents are always produced by economic and geopolitical inequalities.

The corollary to this is that by meeting with terrorists, someone of Carter’s standing in the world provides them with a wholly undeserved legitimacy, which effectively mainstreams them in the eyes of those ignorantly susceptible to arguments of moral equivalence.

Probing more deeply, the idea that no individual or group is beyond moral resuscitation, that ‘evil’ is a political convention rather than an innate, immutable force, are concomitants to the left’s contorted reasoning. Indeed, the proposition that there are groups or nations bent upon our destruction elicits disbelief and the liberal’s instinctive propensity to downgrade evil to a petty misdemeanor, while chastising those who argue it should be taken at its word.

That’s why the left naively believes that peace is a naturally occurring phenomenon in the world, that pacificism, and it’s close kin, non-aggression and non-proliferation, are the best guarantors of maintaining peace. It’s also why they wince at phrases such as ‘peace through strength,’ or, one of our favorite bumper stickers which features a B-52 creating a ‘peace sign,’ with the phrase, “Peace Through Superior Firepower.”

A final curiosity is that despite centuries of history dating to the Punic and Peloponnesian Wars, all of which demonstrate the timelessness of aggressors, liberals act as though they alone are capable of ‘moving beyond’ it all. It’s at the core of Senator Obama’s theme of transitional politics,’ which reflects his desire to sit down with the world’s despots, convinced as he is, that there is common ground.

It’s a shame Carter is so old, Obama could draft him for Secretary of State.

Mella is editor of

Philip Mella