In 2009, I published Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos. I was contacted by Mr. Carter’s lawyer who alerted me that if the book was published, I would be sued. The book contained material garnered from more than 100 individuals – including virtually every living person involved in that debacle. It included General Robert “Dutch” Huyser, and many of the Iranians on the shah’s staff, as well as his widow, Her Majesty Farah Pahlavi.
On January 16, 2019 the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution will be marked and is a milestone event as the United States and Iran move towards yet another showdown over the former’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. It is sobering to consider how relations deteriorated with America’s staunchest ally in the Middle East. One Liberal Left American president was largely responsible for that downfall – James Earl “Jimmy” Carter.
The US once looked to the shah of Iran to support Western economic stability, and the shah relied on the US to help implement his vision for Iran’s future. But when Jimmy Carter became president, the shah’s confidant, Asadollah Alam, wrote in his diary about the concerns of the shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, over Carter’s election: “Who knows what sort of calamity he [Carter] may unleash on the world?”
Sadly, his statement was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Carter perceived the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini more as a religious holy man in a grassroots revolution than as the founding father of modern terrorism. Carter’s ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young said, “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint.” Carter’s Iranian ambassador, William Sullivan said, “Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure.” Carter adviser James Bill proclaimed in a Newsweek interview on February 12, 1979, that Khomeini was not a mad mujaheed (religious martyr), but a man of “impeccable integrity and honesty.”
The truth became evident just a few years later, when the shah was overthrown by Khomeini. Carter, it became clear, was the answer to the ayatollah’s prayers. Khomeini could never have carried out the Islamic Revolution without him.
With characteristic naiveté, Carter pressured the shah to allow more political freedom. While some 300 political prisoners were released, censorship was relaxed, and judicial reforms initiated, the youth of Iran began swarming to radical Islam. This new, radical Islam exploded on the campus of University of Tehran in October 1977. Students began gathering at Islamic study centers, and the young women clothed themselves in the chadors that were outlawed by the shah.
Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Carter sent Gen. Robert Huyser, deputy chief of the US European Command who was involved with Iran for over a decade, to advise the shah. Huyser said of his boss: “The administration obviously did not understand the Iranian culture.”
In the midst of the turmoil in Iran, or perhaps because of it, President Carter asked for a meeting on the French Republic island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. Although Carter prompted the meeting, ostensibly for them to discuss “strategic and economic problems,” the invitations were issued by French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and British Prime Minister James Callaghan. Carter was concerned that a meeting called by the US would upset other NATO leaders, i.e., Canada, Japan, and Italy.
In a briefing by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski prior to Carter’s departure for Guadeloupe, the president told the assembled world leaders that he would “reiterate his support of the shah.” Apparently, no one remembered to apprise Mr. Carter of that fact.
Giscard d’Estaing later told me during an interview, “We were humanly shocked by the way Carter spoke because we knew at the end it would lead to the torture or the killing of the shah. And he [Carter] was not embarrassed at all; no, no, he spoke very lightly of a man that we supported very strongly. He [Carter] was a bastard of conscience, a moralist, who treats with total lightness the fact of abandoning a man that we had supported together.”
Since the deposing and death of the shah, nothing has changed with the former president’s worldview. Carter continues to articulate the belief system of the extreme Left. This ideology was alive and well during the time of the shah of Iran and leaves no question in my mind that it was responsible for the destabilization of Iran, a pro-Israel and pro-Western ally. Khomeini could never have succeeded with the Islamic revolution without the assistance – unwitting or otherwise – and support of Jimmy Carter.
On September 23, 1980 I had dinner at the home of Isser Harel, the former head of Israel’s Mossad, along with Dr. Reuven Hecht, a senior adviser to then prime minister Menachem Begin. I asked Harel if he thought Carter would be re-elected president of the United States. He said that the word on the street was that Iran would vote in favor of Ronald Reagan by releasing the American hostages during the inauguration.
Little did I know that for months Carter had tried to cut a financial deal to get the hostages freed, knowing it would likely mean another term in office if he succeeded. On Inauguration Day, Carter reached a final agreement and transferred $7.977 billion to Iran from the Federal Reserve, along with signing an agreement to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and granting amnesty against lawsuits to Iran by the hostages or to their families.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said: “[Carter] has managed the extraordinary feat of having, at one and the same time, the worst relations with our allies, the worst relations with our adversaries, and the most serious upheavals in the developing world since the end of the Second World War.”
Even after the death of his good friend, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter continued to court terrorists, madmen, and extreme leftists, all while lambasting the Reagan, Bush, and Trump administrations. He constantly praised such heinous dictators as the former Yugoslavia’s Josip Tito, Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, Panama’s Daniel Ortega, Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, and Kim Il-Sung of North Korea. Sent as an emissary to North Korea by then-president Bill Clinton, Carter made a deal that allowed it to develop as many as half a dozen nuclear weapons. We continue to pay the price for those negotiations.
Carter’s naive belief that every crisis can be resolved only with diplomacy now permeates the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, he is dead wrong. It has escalated to the point that not only is that the tactic of choice, but the US has too often relinquished more and more ground to its adversaries. There are times when evil must be openly confronted and defeated.
Mike Evans is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 89 published books. He is the founder of Friends of Zion Museum in Jerusalem of which the late President Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth president, was the chair. He also serves on the Trump Evangelical Faith Initiative.
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