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Double-Duped Carter: From Soviet Communism to Radical Islam

A look at the record and the diary.

6:00 AM, Oct 4, 2010 • By PAUL KENGOR
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Did Carter regret this remark? If he did, we don’t know from the diary. There’s no mention of it.

For the record, this statement by Carter bears an uncanny resemblance to President Obama’s initial assessment of the counter-revolution in Iran in June 2009. “[W]e respect Iranian sovereignty,” said a Carter-esque Obama on June 15, 2009, “and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran.”

Within only weeks of that Carter statement, the Shah was gone, the Ayatollah was in. A full decade before the Berlin Wall fell, radical Islam, ultimately the international successor to the Communist menace, established its most tenacious outpost—in Tehran.

President Jimmy Carter is a bridge of sorts between America’s two chief foes of the last 100 years. It is a dubious record and legacy, marred by weak statements and actions, and by a fatal naïveté. It is a record and legacy that America still struggles with today. His long-awaited diary reinforces that reality.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism and the newly released Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.

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