- Category : Political
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- Incarnation Cross : LAX Upheaval 2
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born October 1, 1924(1924-10-01)), was the thirty-ninth President of the United States from 1977 to 1981, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Prior to becoming president, Carter served two terms in the Georgia Senate, and was the 76th Governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975.
Carter's presidency saw the United States crippled by stagflation, suffer massive gas shortages, and struggle through several major crises. His administration also saw the creation of two cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. He established a national energy policy, removed price controls from domestic petroleum production, and advocated for less American reliance on foreign oil sources. He bolstered the Social Security system by introducing a staggered increase in the payroll tax. In foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties and the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Carter advocated a policy that held other countries to the highest moral standard possible, a standard by which, he believed, Americans would want themselves to be judged. The final year of his term was dominated by the Iran hostage crisis, during which the United States struggled to rescue diplomats and American citizens held hostage in Tehran. Ted Kennedy challenged Carter for the Democratic Party nomination, which Carter won. Carter, however, lost the 1980 presidential election to Republican Ronald Reagan.
After leaving office, Carter founded the Carter Center to promote global health, democracy and human rights. He has traveled extensively to monitor international elections, conduct peace negotiations and establish relief efforts. As of 2007, he is the earliest living president and the second-oldest living president.
Jimmy Carter descended from a family that had resided in Georgia for several generations. His great-grandfather Private L.B. Walker Carter (1832–1874) served in the Confederate States Army in the Sumter Flying Artillery, seeing considerable action at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Jimmy Carter, the first president born in a hospital, was the oldest of four children of James Earl and Bessie Lillian Gordy. He was born and grew up in the tiny southwest Georgia hamlet of Plains near the larger town of Americus. Carter's father was a prominent business owner in the community and his mother a registered nurse. He was a gifted student from an early age who always had a fondness for reading. By the time he attended Plains High School, he was also a star in basketball and football. He was greatly influenced by one of his high school teachers, Julia Coleman (1889-1973). Ms. Coleman was handicapped by polio. She had encouraged young Jimmy to read War and Peace; he was disappointed to find that there were no cowboys or Indians in the book. Carter mentioned his beloved teacher in his inaugural address as an example of someone who beat overwhelming odds. Carter had three younger siblings. His brother, Billy (1937–1988), caused some political problems for him during his administration. His sister, Gloria (1926–1990), was low-key but was famous for collecting and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles. His other sister, Ruth (1929–1983), became a well-known Christian evangelist.
He attended Georgia Southwestern College and Georgia Institute of Technology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. Carter was a gifted student and finished 59th out of his Academy class of 820. Carter served on submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets.
He was later selected by Captain (later Admiral) Hyman G. Rickover for the U.S. Navy's fledgling nuclear submarine program, where he became a qualified command officer. Rickover was a demanding officer, and Carter later said that, next to his parents, Admiral Rickover had the greatest influence on him. There was a story he often told of being interviewed by the Admiral. He was asked about his rank in his class at the Naval Academy. Carter said "Sir, I graduated 59th out of a class of 820." Rickover only asked "Did you always do your best?" Carter was forced to admit he had not, and the Admiral asked why. Carter later used this as the theme of his presidential campaign and titled his first book Why Not The Best?
Carter loved the Navy, and had planned to make it his career. His ultimate goal was to become Chief of Naval Operations. Carter did some post-graduate work, studying nuclear physics and reactor technology for several months at Union College starting in March 1953. He married Rosalynn Smith in 1946. They had three sons — John William "Jack" Carter, born in 1947; James Earl "Chip" Carter III, born in 1950; and Donnel Jeffrey "Jeff" Carter, born in 1952 — and a daughter, Amy Lynn Carter, in 1967.
Upon the death of his father in July 1953, however, Lieutenant Carter immediately resigned his commission and was discharged from the Navy on October 9, 1953. This cut short his nuclear power training school, and he was never able to command a nuclear submarine, as the first of the fleet was launched January 17, 1955, over a year after his discharge from the Navy.
He then took over and expanded his family's peanut farming business in Plains. There he was involved in a farming accident that left him with a permanently bent finger.
From a young age, Carter showed a deep commitment to Christianity, serving as a Sunday School teacher throughout his life. Even as President, Carter prayed several times a day, and professed that Jesus Christ was the driving force in his life. Carter had been greatly influenced by a sermon he had heard as a young man, called, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
Early political career
Jimmy Carter started his career by serving on various local boards, governing such entities as the schools, hospital, and library, among others. In the 1960s, he served two terms in the Georgia Senate from the fourteenth district of Georgia.
His 1962 election to the state Senate, which followed the end of Georgia's County Unit System (per the Supreme Court case of Gray v. Sanders), was chronicled in his book Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age. The election involved corruption led by Joe Hurst, the sheriff of Quitman County; system abuses included votes from deceased persons and tallies filled with people who supposedly voted in alphabetical order. It took a challenge of the fraudulent results for Carter to win the election. Carter was reelected in 1964, to serve a second two-year term.
Campaign for Governor
In 1966, at the end of his career as a state senator, he flirted with the idea of running for the United States House of Representatives. His Republican opponent dropped out and decided to run for Governor of Georgia. Carter did not want to see a Republican Governor of his state, and, in turn, dropped out of the race for Congress and joined the race to become Governor. Carter lost the Democratic primary, but drew enough votes as a third place candidate to force the favorite, Ellis Arnall, into a runoff election, setting off a chain of events which resulted in the election of Lester Maddox.
For the next four years, Carter returned to his agriculture business and carefully planned for his next campaign for Governor in 1970, making over 1,800 speeches throughout the state.
During his 1970 campaign, he ran an uphill populist campaign in the Democratic primary against former Governor Carl Sanders, labeling his opponent "Cufflinks Carl". Carter was never a segregationist, and refused to join the segregationist White Citizens' Council, prompting a boycott of his peanut warehouse. He also had been one of only two families which voted to admit blacks to the Plains Baptist Church. However, he "said things the segregationists wanted to hear," according to historian E. Stanly Godbold. Also, Carter's campaign aides handed out a photograph of his opponent celebrating with black basketball players. Following his close victory over Sanders in the primary, he was elected Governor over Republican Hal Suit.
Governor of Georgia
Carter declared in his inaugural speech that the time of racial segregation was over, and that racial discrimination had no place in the future of the state. He was the first statewide office holder in the Deep South to say this in public. Afterwards, Carter appointed many African Americans to statewide boards and offices.
Carter made government efficient by merging about 300 state agencies into 30 agencies. One of his aides recalled that Governor Carter "was right there with us, working just as hard, digging just as deep into every little problem. It was his program and he worked on it as hard as anybody, and the final product was distinctly his." He also pushed reforms through the legislature, providing equal state aid to schools in the wealthy and poor areas of Georgia, set up community centers for mentally handicapped children, and increased educational programs for convicts. Carter took pride in a program he introduced for the appointment of judges and state government officials. Under this program, all such appointments were based on merit, rather than political influence.
In 1972, as U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota was marching toward the Democratic nomination for President, Carter called a news conference in Atlanta to warn that McGovern was unelectable. Carter criticized McGovern as too liberal on both foreign and domestic policy, yet when McGovern's nomination became a foregone conclusion Carter lobbied to become his vice-presidential running mate. The remarks attracted little national attention, and after McGovern's huge loss in the general election, Carter's attitude was not held against him within the Democratic Party.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Georgia's death penalty law in 1972, Carter signed new legislation to authorize the death penalty for murder, rape and other offenses and to implement trial procedures which would conform to the newly-announced constitutional requirements. In 1976, the Supreme Court upheld Georgia's new death penalty for murder; the death penalty was subsequently held unconstitutional as applied to rape.
In 1973, while Governor of Georgia, Carter filed a report on his 1969 UFO sighting with the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. However in the July 25th 2007 episode of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast Carter claimed not to remember why he filed the report and believes he probably only did it at the request of one of his children. He also stated he does not believe it was an alien spacecraft or the planet Venus but rather believes it was likely some sort of military experiment being conducted from a nearby military base.
Carter made an appearance as the first guest of the evening on an episode of the game show What's My Line in 1974, signing in as "X", lest his name give away his occupation. After his job was identified on question seven of ten by Soupy Sales, he talked about having brought movie production to the state of Georgia, citing Deliverance, and the as-yet unreleased The Longest Yard, shot at Reidville Prison.
In 1974, Carter was chairman of the Democratic National Committee's congressional and gubernatorial campaigns.
1972 Democratic National Convention
Then-Governor Carter did not seek Presidential nor Vice Presidential nomination in 1972. Hovewer, he recevied 30 votes at the DNC in the chaotic ballot for Vice President.
1976 presidential campaign
Main article: United States presidential election, 1976
When Carter entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1976, he was considered to have little chance against nationally better-known politicians. He had a name recognition of only 2 percent. When he told his family of his intention to run for President, he was asked by his mother, "President of what?" However, Nixon's Watergate scandal was still fresh in the voters' minds, and so his position as an outsider, distant from Washington, D.C., became an asset. The centerpiece of his campaign platform was government reorganization. He chose Senator Walter F. Mondale as his running mate. He attacked Washington in his speeches, and offered a religious salve for the nation's wounds, which was necessary following the Watergate scandal.
The electoral map of the 1976 electionCarter became the front-runner early on by winning the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. He used a two-prong strategy. In the South, which most had tacitly conceded to Alabama's George Wallace, Carter ran as a moderate favorite son. When Wallace proved to be a spent force, Carter swept the region. In the North, Carter appealed largely to conservative Christian and rural voters and had little chance of winning a majority in most states. But in a field crowded with liberals, he managed to win several Northern states by building the largest single bloc. Initially dismissed as a regional candidate, Carter proved to be the only Democrat with a truly national strategy, and he eventually clinched the nomination.
The media discovered and promoted Carter. As Lawrence Shoup noted in his 1980 book The Carter Presidency and Beyond:
"What Carter had that his opponents did not was the acceptance and support of elite sectors of the mass communications media. It was their favorable coverage of Carter and his campaign that gave him an edge, propelling him rocket-like to the top of the opinion polls. This helped Carter win key primary election victories, enabling him to rise from an obscure public figure to President-elect in the short space of 9 months."
As late as January 26, 1976, Carter was the first choice of only 4% of Democratic voters, according to the Gallup Poll. Yet "by mid-March 1976 Carter was not only far ahead of the active contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, he also led President Ford by a few percentage points," according to Shoup.
Carter began the race with a sizable lead over Ford, who was able to narrow the gap over the course of the campaign, but was unable to prevent Carter from narrowly defeating him on November 2, 1976. Carter won the popular vote by 50.1% to 48.0% for Ford and received 297 electoral votes to Ford's 240. He became the first contender from the Deep South to be elected President since the 1848 election.
In his inaugural address he said: "We have learned that more is not necessarily better, that even our great nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems." His first steps in the White House were to reduce the size of the staff by one third, and order cabinet members to drive their own cars.
Productivity growth in the United States had declined to an average annual rate of 1 percent, compared to 3.2 percent of the 1960s. There was also a growing federal budget deficit which increased to 66 billion dollars. The 1970s are described as a period of stagflation, meaning economic stagnation coupled with price inflation, as well as higher interest rates. Price inflation (a rise in the general level of prices) creates uncertainty in budgeting and planning and makes labor strikes for pay raises more likely. In 1973, during the Nixon Administration, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to reduce supplies of oil available to the world market. This sparked an oil crisis and forced oil prices to rise sharply, spurring price inflation throughout the economy, and slowing growth. Significant government borrowing for items such as the Vietnam War and the nuclear weapons stockpile helped keep interest rates high relative to inflation. Jawboning and price freezes had proved ineffective.
Main article: 1979 Energy Crisis
When the energy market exploded — an occurrence Carter desperately tried to avoid during his term — he was planning on delivering his fifth major speech on energy. However, he felt that the American people were no longer listening. Instead, he went to Camp David and for ten days met with governors, mayors, religious leaders, scientists, economists and general citizens. He sat on the floor and took notes of their comments and especially wanted to hear criticism. His pollster told him that the American people simply faced a crisis of confidence because of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and Watergate. On July 15, 1979, Carter gave a nationally-televised address in which he identified what he believed to be a "crisis of confidence" among the American people. This came to be known as his "malaise" speech, although the word never appeared in it:
I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.... I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might.
The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.
Carter's speech, written by Hendrik Hertzberg and Gordon Stewart, was well-received by some. But the country was in the midst of a weak economy dominated by OPEC-influenced double-digit inflation, and many citizens were directly affected by this, causing concern about the federal government's response. Three days after the speech, Carter asked for the resignations of all of his Cabinet officers, and ultimately accepted five. Carter later admitted in his memoirs that he should simply have asked only those five members for their resignations. By asking the entire Cabinet, it gave the appearance that the White House was falling apart.
The economy suffered double-digit inflation, coupled with very high interest rates, oil shortages, high unemployment and slow economic growth. In 1977 Carter had convinced the Democratic Congress to create the United States Department of Energy. Now, promoting its recommendations to conserve energy, Carter wore sweaters, installed solar hot water panels on the roof of the White House, installed a wood stove in the living quarters, ordered the General Services Administration to turn off hot water in some facilities, and requested that Christmas decorations remain dark in 1979 and 1980. Nationwide controls were put on thermostats in government and commercial buildings to prevent people from raising temperatures in the winter (above 65 degrees Fahrenheit) or lowering them in the summer (below 78 degrees Fahrenheit).
Price inflation caused interest rates to rise to unprecedented levels (above 12% per year). The prime rate hit 21.5% in December 1980, the highest rate in U.S. history under any President. Investments in fixed income (both bonds and pensions being paid to retired people) were becoming less valuable. With the markets for U.S. government debt coming under pressure, Carter appointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board; Volcker replaced G. William Miller who left to become Secretary of the Treasury. Volcker pursued a tight monetary policy to bring down inflation, which he considered his mandate. He succeeded, but only by first going through an unpleasant phase during which the economy slowed and unemployment rose, prior to any relief from inflation.
Jimmy Carter's reorganization efforts separated the Department of Health, Education and Welfare into the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. Efforts were also made to reduce the number of government departments and employees as Carter had done when he was Governor of Georgia. He signed into law a major Civil Service Reform, the first in over a hundred years. Despite calling for a reform of the tax system in his presidential campaign, once in office he did very little to change it.
On Carter's first day in office, January 21, 1977, he fulfilled a campaign promise by issuing an Executive Order declaring unconditional amnesty for Vietnam-era war resisters and pacifists. .
Initially, Carter was fairly successful in getting legislation through Congress, such as canceling the B-1 bomber program (mainly production of the B-1 Lancer), but then he met with opposition from the leadership of the Democratic Party when he characterized a rivers and harbors bill as "pork barrel" spending. In apparent retaliation, Congress refused to pass major provisions of his consumer protection bill and his labor reform package. Carter then vetoed a public works package calling it "inflationary", as it contained what he considered to be wasteful spending. Congressional leaders sensed that public support for his legislation was weak, and took advantage of it. After gutting his consumer protection bill, they transformed his tax plan into nothing more than spending for special interests, after which Carter referred to the congressional tax committees as "ravenous wolves."
Carter signed legislation greatly increasing the payroll tax for Social Security, and appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to government and judiciary jobs. He also initiated a comprehensive urban policy. His Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act created 103 million acres (417,000 km²) of national park land in Alaska. He was also somewhat successful in deregulating the trucking, rail, airline, communications, oil and finance industries.
Celebrating the signing of the Camp David Accords, a key foreign policy issue of the Carter presidency: Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat, 1978.
During his first month in office Carter cut the defense budget by $6 billion. One of his first acts was to order the unilateral removal of all nuclear weapons from South Korea and announce his intention to cut back the number of US troops stationed there. Other military men confined intense criticism of the withdrawal to private conversations or testimony before congressional committees, but in 1977 Major General John K. Singlaub, chief of staff of U.S. forces in South Korea, publicly criticized President Carter's decision to lower the U.S. troop level there. On March 21, 1977, Carter relieved him of duty, saying his publicly stated sentiments were "inconsistent with announced national security policy". Carter planned to remove all but 14,000 U.S. air force personnel and logistics specialists by 1982, but after cutting only 3,600 troops, he was forced to abandon the effort in 1978.
Carter's Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski paid close attention to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Diplomatic communications between Israel and Egypt increased significantly after the Yom Kippur War and the Carter administration felt that the time was right for comprehensive solution to the conflict.
Camp David Accords
One of Carter's most important accomplishments as President were the Camp David Accords on September 17, 1978. They were a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt negotiated by President Carter, which followed up on earlier negotiations conducted in the Middle East. In these negotiations King Hassan II of Morocco acted as a negotiator between Arab interests and Israel, and Nicolae Ceau?escu of Romania acted as go-between for Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO, the unofficial representative of the Palestinian people). Once initial negotiations had been completed, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat approached Carter for assistance. Carter then invited Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Sadat to Camp David to continue the negotiations. The Camp David Accords produced two frameworks for peace between Egypt and Israel, and a peace treaty was later signed on March 26, 1979.
Rapid Deployment Forces
On October 1, 1979, President Carter announced before a television audience the existence of the Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF), a mobile fighting force capable of responding to worldwide trouble spots, without drawing on forces committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The RDF was the forerunner of CENTCOM.
President Carter initially departed from the long-held policy of containment toward the Soviet Union. In its place Carter promoted a foreign policy that put human rights at the front. This was a break from the policies of several predecessors, in which human rights abuses were often overlooked if they were committed by a nation that was allied with the United States. The Carter Administration ended support to the historically U.S.-backed Somoza regime in Nicaragua and gave aid to the new Sandinista National Liberation Front government that assumed power after Somoza's overthrow. However, Carter ignored a plea from El Salvador's Archbishop Óscar Romero not to send military aid to that country. Romero was later assassinated for his criticism of El Salvador's violation of human rights.
Carter continued his predecessors' policies of imposing sanctions on Rhodesia, and, after Bishop Abel Muzorewa was elected Prime Minister, protested the exclusion of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo from participating in the elections. Strong pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom prompted new elections in what was then called Zimbabwe Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), which saw Robert Mugabe elected as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe; afterwards, sanctions were lifted, and diplomatic recognition was granted. Carter was also known for his criticism of Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner, Augusto Pinochet (who was forced to grant Chile a constitution providing for a transition back into democracy), the Apartheid government of South Africa, Zaire (although Carter later changed course and supported Zaire, in response to alleged - albeit unproven - Cuban support of anti-Mobutu rebels) and other traditional allies.
People's Republic of China
See also Sino-American relations
Carter continued the policy of Richard Nixon to normalize relations with the People's Republic of China by granting full diplomatic and trade relations, thus ending official relations and the mutual defense pact with Taiwan (though the two nations continued to trade and the U.S. unofficially recognized Taiwan through the Taiwan Relations Act). In the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations dated January 1, 1979, the United States transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. The U.S. reiterated the Shanghai Communiqué's acknowledgment of the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of China; Beijing acknowledged that the American people would continue to carry on commercial, cultural, and other unofficial contacts with the people of Taiwan.
Panama Canal Treaties
One of the most controversial moves of President Carter's presidency was the final negotiation and signature of the Panama Canal Treaties in September 1977. Those treaties, which essentially would transfer control of the American-built Panama Canal to the nation of Panama, were bitterly opposed by a segment of the American public and by the Republican Party. A common argument against the treaties was that the United States was transferring an American asset of great strategic value to an unstable and corrupt country led by a brutal military dictator (Omar Torrijos). After the signature of the Canal treaties, in June 1978, Jimmy Carter visited Panama with his wife and twelve U.S. Senators, amid widespread student disturbances against the Torrijos dictatorship. Carter then began urging the Torrijos regime to soften its policies and move Panama towards gradual republicanism. This treaty did nothing to help relations with Panama and Latin America and it wasn't until President George H. W. Bush sent troops to invade and remove Manuel Noriega that Panama embraced republicanism.
Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT)
A key foreign policy issue Carter worked laboriously on was the SALT II Treaty, which reduced the number of nuclear arms produced and/or maintained by both the United States and the Soviet Union. SALT is the common name for the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks, negotiations conducted between the US and the USSR. The work of Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon brought about the SALT I treaty, which had itself reduced the number of nuclear arms produced, but Carter wished to further this reduction. It was his main goal (as was stated in his Inaugural Address) that nuclear weaponry be completely vanished from the face of the Earth.
Carter and Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union, reached an agreement to this end in 1979 — the SALT II Treaty, despite opposition in Congress to ratifying it, as many thought it weakened US defenses. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan late in 1979 however, Carter withdrew the treaty from consideration by Congress and the treaty was never ratified (though it was signed by both Carter and Brezhnev). Even so, both sides honored the commitments laid out in the negotiations.
Intervention in Afghanistan
The United States secretly began sending aid to anti-Soviet, Afghan Islamist factions on July 3, 1979. In December 1979 the USSR invaded Afghanistan, after the pro-Moscow Afghanistan government, put in power by a 1978 coup), was overthrown. At the time some believed the Soviets were attempting to expand their borders southward in order to gain a foothold in the region. The Soviet Union had long lacked a warm water port, and their movement south seemed to position them for further expansion toward Pakistan and India in the East, and Iran to the West. American politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, ignorant of U.S. involvement, feared the Soviets were positioning themselves for a takeover of Middle Eastern oil. Others believed that the Soviet Union was afraid Iran's Islamic Revolution and Afghanistan's Islamization would spread to the millions of Muslims in the USSR. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski revealed the Carter Administration's involvement in starting the war in a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur. Brzezinski told Le Nouvel Observateur that the Soviet invasion gave America "the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War."Full Text of Interview
After the invasion, Carter announced what became known as the Carter Doctrine: that the U.S. would not allow any other outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf. He terminated the Russian Wheat Deal, which was intended to establish trade with USSR and lessen Cold War tensions. The grain exports had been beneficial to people employed in agriculture, and the Carter embargo marked the beginning of hardship for American farmers. He also prohibited Americans from participating in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and reinstated registration for the draft for young males.
Carter and Brzezinski started a $40 billion covert program of training Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a part of the efforts to foil the Soviets' apparent plans. On the surface as well, Carter's diplomatic policies towards Pakistan in particular changed drastically. The administration had cut off financial aid to the country in early 1979 when religious fundamentalists, encouraged by the prevailing Islamist military dictatorship over Pakistan, burnt down a US Embassy based there. The international stake in Pakistan, however, had greatly increased with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The then-President of Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, was offered 400 million dollars to subsidize the anti-communist Mujahideen in Afghanistan by Carter. General Zia declined the offer as insufficient, famously declaring it to be "peanuts"; and the U.S. was forced to step up aid to Pakistan.
Reagan would later expand this program greatly to combat Cold War concerns presented by Russia at the time. In retrospect, this contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Critics of this policy blame Carter and Reagan for the resulting instability of post-Soviet Afghan governments, which led to the rise of Islamic theocracy in the region, and also created many of the current problems with Islamic fundamentalism.
The main conflict between human rights and U.S. interests came in Carter's dealings with the Shah of Iran. The Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, had been a strong ally of America since World War II and was one of the "twin pillars" upon which U.S. strategic policy in the Middle East was built. However, his rule was strongly autocratic, and he went along with the plan of the Eisenhower Administration to depose Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953.
On a state visit to Iran, Carter spoke out in favor of the Shah, calling him a leader of supreme wisdom, and a pillar of stability in the volatile Middle East. The speech was apparently never shown on American television.
When the Iranian Revolution broke out in Iran, and the Shah was overthrown, the U.S. did not intervene. The Shah went into permanent exile. Carter initially refused him entry to the United States, even on grounds of medical emergency.
Despite his initial refusal to admit the Shah into the United States, on October 22, 1979, Carter finally granted him entry and temporary asylum for the duration of his cancer treatment; the Shah left for Panama on December 15, 1979. In response to the Shah's entry into the U.S., Iranian militants seized the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. The Iranians demanded:
the return of the Shah to Iran for trial,
the return of the Shah's wealth to the Iranian people,
an admission of guilt by the United States for its past actions in Iran, plus an apology, and
a promise from the United States not to interfere in Iran's affairs in the future.
Though later that year the Shah left the U.S. and died in Egypt, the hostage crisis continued and dominated the last year of Carter's presidency. The subsequent responses to the crisis—from a "Rose Garden strategy" of staying inside the White House, to the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the hostages—were largely seen as contributing to Carter's defeat in the 1980 election.
After the hostages were taken, President Carter issued, on November 14, 1979, Executive Order 12170 - Blocking Iranian Government property, which was used to freeze the bank accounts of the Iranian government in US banks, totaling about $8 billion US at the time. This was to be used as a bargaining chip for the release of the hostages.
The Iranians later changed their demand to return of the Shah and the release of the Iranian money. Through informal channels the Iranian government started negotiations with the banks holding the money. The banks took over negotiations for the release of the hostages, not the U.S. State Department. When the Shah died of cancer in the summer of 1980, the Iranians wanted no more to do with the hostages and changed their demands to just the release of the hostages in exchange for the return of their money. The hostages were finally released with the signing of Executive Orders 12277 through 12285, releasing all assets belonging to the Iranian government and all assets belonging to the Shah found within the United States and the guarantee that the hostages would have no legal claim against the Iranian government that would be heard in U.S. courts. Iran, however, also agreed to place $1 billion of the frozen assets in an escrow account and both Iran and the United States agreed to the creation of a tribunal to adjudicate claims by U.S. Nationals against Iran for compensation for property lost by them or contracts breached by Iran. The tribunal, known as the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, has awarded over $2 billion dollars to U.S. claimaints and has been described as one of the most important arbitration bodies in the history of International Law.
Administration and cabinet
OFFICE NAME TERM
President Jimmy Carter 1977–1981
Vice President Walter Mondale 1977–1981
State Cyrus Vance 1977–1980
Edmund Muskie 1980–1981
Treasury W. Michael Blumenthal 1977–1979
G. William Miller 1979–1981
Defense Harold Brown 1977–1981
Justice Griffin Bell 1977–1979
Benjamin R. Civiletti 1979–1981
Interior Cecil D. Andrus 1977–1981
Commerce Juanita M. Kreps 1977–1979
Philip M. Klutznick 1979–1981
Labor Ray Marshall 1977–1981
Agriculture Robert Bergland 1977–1981
HEW Joseph A. Califano, Jr. 1977–1979
HHS Patricia R. Harris 1979–1981
Education Shirley M. Hufstedler 1979–1981
HUD Patricia R. Harris 1977–1979
Moon Landrieu 1979–1981
Transportation Brock Adams 1977–1979
Neil E. Goldschmidt 1979–1981
Energy James R. Schlesinger 1977–1979
Charles W. Duncan 1979–1981
Other cabinet-level and high posts
White House Chief of Staff
Hamilton Jordan (1979-1980)
Jack H. Watson (1980-1981)
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Bert Lance (1977)
James T. McIntyre (1977-1981)
United States Trade Representative
Robert S. Strauss (1977-1979)
Reubin O'Donovan Askew (1979-1981)
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
John Quarles, Jr. (1977, acting)
Douglas M. Costle (1977-1981)
United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Andrew Young (1977-1979)
Donald McHenry (1979-1981)
Stansfield Turner (Director of Central Intelligence)
Zbigniew Brzezi?ski (National Security Advisor)
Amongst Presidents who served at least one full term, Carter is the only one who never made an appointment to the Supreme Court.
On May 5, 1979, Carter was the target of the mentally disturbed transient Raymond Lee Harvey, who was found with a starter pistol awaiting the President's Cinco de Mayo speech at the Civic Center Mall in Los Angeles, and claimed to be part of a 4-man assassination attempt.
During his administration, Carter, his family and all of his White House staff took the first English language speed reading course ever developed..
Voyager 1 message
Carter's official statement placed on the Voyager 1 spacecraft for its trip outside our solar system on September 5, 1977:
We cast this message into the cosmos.... Of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, some — perhaps many — may have inhabited planet and space faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand these recorded contents, here is our message: We are trying to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope some day, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination and our goodwill in a vast and awesome universe.
Main article: United States presidential election, 1980
Carter lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. The popular vote went 50.7%, or 43.9 million popular votes, for Reagan and 41%, or 35.5 million, for Carter. Independent candidate John B. Anderson won 6.6%, or 5.7 million votes. However, because Carter's support was not concentrated in any geographic region, Reagan won a landslide 91% of the electoral vote, leaving Carter with only six states and the District of Columbia. Reagan carried a total of 489 electoral votes compared to Carter's 49.
While Carter kept his promise (all 51 hostages returned home alive), he failed to secure the release of the hostages prior to the election. While Carter ultimately won their release, Iran did not technically release the hostages until minutes after Reagan took office. In recognition of the fact that Carter was responsible for bringing the hostages home, President Reagan asked Carter to go to Germany to greet them upon their release.
During his campaign, Carter was mocked for an encounter with a swimming rabbit while fishing on a farm pond on April 20, 1979.
In 1981, he returned to Georgia to his peanut farm, which he had placed into a blind trust during his presidency to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, upon returning, Carter found that the trustees had mismanaged the trust, leaving him over one million dollars in debt. He devoted his time to writing several best-selling books (twenty- three books in all), establishing the Carter Center, and to building his presidential library.
Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale are the longest-living post-presidential team in American history. On December 11, 2006, they had been out of office for 25 years and 325 days, surpassing the former record established by President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson, who both died on July 4, 1826.
In ten surveys of historians which ranked US presidents, which included over 1000 scholars, the ranking of Carter's presidency ranged from #19 to #34. These rankings are similar to those of Gerald Ford, Chester Arthur and Herbert Hoover. While at the time he left office Carter's presidency was viewed by many as a failure, his activities since leaving office, especially his many peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, have led to a more favorable view of him.
Jimmy Carter is also noted as a fantastic cook: he appeared in two episodes of the Food Network show, Paula's Home Cooking. In one episode, he gave the host, Paula Deen, a tour of his hometown of Plains. In another episode, Carter invited Deen on a tour of his boyhood home, and they concluded the visit with a cooking demonstration in Carter's kitchen.
Carter has been involved in a variety of national and international public policy, conflict resolution, human rights and charitable causes. He established the Carter Center in 1982 in Atlanta to advance human rights and alleviate unnecessary human suffering. The center promotes democracy, mediates and prevents conflicts, and monitors the electoral process in support of free and fair elections. The center also works to improve global health through the control and eradication of diseases such as Guinea worm disease, malaria, trachoma, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis. A major accomplishment of the Carter Center has been the elimination of 99.5% of cases of Guinea worm disease, a debilitating parasite that has existed since ancient times, from more than 3.5 million cases in 1986 to fewer than 11,000 cases in 2005. Mrs. Carter's mental health program at the Center aims to reduce stigma and discrimination against those with mental illnesses.
He and his wife are also well-known for their work as volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, a program that helps low income working people to build and purchase their own home.
Carter was the third U.S. President, after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In his Nobel Lecture, Carter told the European audience that U.S. actions after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the 1991 Gulf War, like NATO itself, was a continuation of President Wilson's doctrine of collective security. In addition, President Carter is a recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism.
On June 18, 2007, Carter, accompanied by his wife Rosalynn, arrived in Dublin, Ireland for talks with President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern concerning human rights. On June 19, Carter attended and spoke at the annual Human Rights Forum at Croke Park. An agreement between Irish Aid and the Carter Center was also signed on this day.
On July 18, 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, and Desmond Tutu convened a group of world leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world's toughest problems. Nelson Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday.
Archbishop Tutu will serve as the Chair of The Elders. The founding members of this group also includ Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Muhammad Yunus.
“This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken,” Mandela commented. “Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.”
The Elders will be independently funded by a group of Founders, including Richard Branson, Peter Gabriel, Ray Chambers; Michael Chambers; Bridgeway Foundation; Pam Omidyar, Humanity United; Amy Robbins; Shashi Ruia, Dick Tarlow; andThe United Nations Foundation.
In 2001, Carter criticized President Clinton's controversial pardon of Marc Rich, calling it "disgraceful" and suggesting that Rich's financial contributions to the Democratic Party was a factor in Clinton's action.
In September 2006, Carter was interviewed on the BBC's current affairs program Newsnight, voicing his concern at the increasing influence of the Religious Right on U.S. politics.
Carter has also criticized the presidency of George W. Bush. In a May 2007 interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he said, "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history." However, two days after the quote was published, Carter told NBC's Today that the "worst in history" comment was "careless or misinterpreted," and that he "wasn't comparing this administration with other administrations back through history, but just with President Nixon's."
The day after the "worst in history" comment was published, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that Carter had become "increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments".
In May 2007, Carter described the relationship of Tony Blair, the outgoing British prime minister, to Bush, in the Iraq conflict, as "abominable, loyal, blind, apparently subservient".
In 1994 Carter persuaded President Clinton to send him on a mission to North Korea. North Korea had expelled investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency and was threatening to begin processing spent nuclear fuel. Carter met with North Korean President Kim Il Sung, resulting in the signing of the Agreed Framework, under which North Korea agreed to stop processing nuclear fuel in exchange for a return to normalized relations, oil deliveries and two light water reactors to replace its graphite reactors.
The Agreed Framework negotiated by Jimmy Carter was widely hailed at the time as a diplomatic achievement, but in 2005 North Korea announced that it had nuclear weapons and on October 9, 2006 backed up this assertion with the underground detonation of a low-yield nuclear device. Carter's supporters attributed the failure of the agreement to continued sanctions by a Republican-controlled Congress. Their opponents claimed the North Korean government never intended to give up its nuclear weapons program.
Carter visited Cuba in May 2002 and met with Fidel Castro. He was allowed to address the Cuban public on national television with a speech that he wrote and presented in Spanish. This made Carter the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since the Cuban revolution of 1959.
A popular petition resulted in Venezuela holding a recall election on August 15, 2004, and Carter was there to observe it. European Union observers had declined to participate, saying too many restrictions were put on them by the Chávez administration. A record number of voters turned out to defeat the recall attempt with a 59% "no" vote. The Carter Center "concluded the results were accurate." On the afternoon of August 16, 2004, the day after the vote, Carter and Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General César Gaviria gave a joint press conference in which they endorsed the preliminary results announced by the National Electoral Council. The monitors' findings "coincided with the partial returns announced today by the National Elections Council" said Carter, while Gaviria added that the OAS electoral observation mission's members had "found no element of fraud in the process". Directing his remarks at opposition figures who made claims of "widespread fraud" in the voting, Carter called on all Venezuelans to "accept the results and work together for the future". However, a Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB) exit poll had predicted that Chávez would lose by 20%, and when the election results showed him to have won by 20% Schoen commented, "I think it was a massive fraud". US News and World Report offered an analysis of the polls, indicating "very good reason to believe that the (Penn, Schoen & Berland) exit poll had the result right, and that Chávez's election officials — and Carter and the American media — got it wrong". The Schoen exit poll and the government's programming of election machines became the basis of claims of election fraud.
In March 2004, Carter condemned George W. Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war "based upon lies and misinterpretations" in order to oust Saddam Hussein. He claimed that Blair had allowed his better judgment to be swayed by Bush's desire to finish a war that George H. W. Bush (his father) had started. In August 2006, Carter criticized Blair for being "subservient" to the Bush administration and accused Blair of giving unquestioning support to any "radical or ill-advised" policy adopted by Bush. On May 19, 2007, Blair made his final visit to Iraq before stepping down as British Prime Minister in June, and Carter used the occasion to attack Blair once again. Carter told the BBC that Blair was "apparently subservient" to Bush and criticised him for his "blind support" for the Iraq war. Carter described Blair's actions as "abominable" and stated that the British Prime Minister's "almost undeviating support for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world". Carter said he believes that had Blair distanced himself from the Bush administration during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, it may have made a crucial difference to American political and public opinion, and consequently the invasion might not have gone ahead. Carter states that "one of the defences of the Bush administration... has been, okay, we must be more correct in our actions than the world thinks because Great Britain is backing us. So I think the combination of Bush and Blair giving their support to this tragedy in Iraq has strengthened the effort and has made the opposition less effective, and prolonged the war and increased the tragedy that has resulted." Carter expressed his hope that Blair's successor Gordon Brown would be "less enthusiastic" about Bush's Iraq policy.
In June 2005, Carter urged the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, which has been the center point for recent claims of prisoner abuse.
Carter has also in recent years become a frequent critic of Israel's policies in Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza.
Presidents Clinton, George H.W. and George W. Bush are said to have been less than pleased with Carter's "freelance" diplomacy in Korea, Iraq and elsewhere. Carter has been particularly critical of the George W. Bush administration. Carter later said that his comments calling administration's foreign policy "the worst in history" had been “careless or misinterpreted.”
Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
Main articles: Palestine Peace Not Apartheid and Commentary on Palestine Peace Not Apartheid
In his book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, published in November 2006, Carter states that "Israel's continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land." While he recognizes that Arab citizens in Israel proper have equal rights, he declares that Israel's current policies in the Palestinian territories constitute "a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land, but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights." While some have praised Carter for speaking honestly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, others have accused him of anti-Israeli bias and of making significant factual errors and misstatements in the book.
Carter has received honorary degrees from many American colleges, including Harvard University, Emory University (where he is currently a professor), Bates College and the University of Pennsylvania.
In 2000, Carter received the James A. Van Fleet Award from the Korea Society.
On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named Carter and the other living former Presidents (Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.
Because he had served as a submariner (the only President to have done so), a submarine was named for him. The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) was named on April 27, 1998, making it one of the very few U.S. Navy vessels to be named for a person still alive at the time of the naming. In February 2005, both Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter spoke at the commissioning ceremony for this submarine.
Carter is a University Distinguished Professor at Emory University, and teaches occasional classes there. Every year since the early 1980s he has an open question and answer session with the freshman class at the university. He also teaches a Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains which served as the inspiration for his new audio series Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bible Study with Jimmy Carter. Being an accomplished amateur woodworker, he has occasionally been featured in the pages of Fine Wood Working magazine, which is published by Taunton Press.
Carter has also participated in many ceremonial events such as the opening of his own presidential library and those of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. He has also participated in many forums, lectures, panels, funerals and other events. Carter delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Coretta Scott King and, most recently, at the funeral of his former political rival, but later his close personal friend and diplomatic collaborator, Gerald Ford.
At the 2007 Grammy Awards Carter won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for his work Our Endangered Values, tying the late actor Ossie Davis and his wife Ruby Dee in that category.
Whether Carter will be included in the Presidential $1 Coin Program depends on whether he is still alive in 2014.
President Carter has received many honors throughout his life. Among the most significant honors were the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
President Carter will be buried in front of his home in Plains, Georgia. Every President since Herbert Hoover has been buried at their presidential library or presidential museum (with the exception of John F. Kennedy, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and Lyndon B. Johnson, who is buried at his own ranch). Both President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, were born in Plains. Carter also noted that a funeral in Washington, D.C. with visitation at the Carter Center is being planned as well.