The Carter Ricochet Effect
Mr. Carter had set out to make America as inoffensive as possible. Two weeks before Juhayman seized the Grand Mosque, Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking 66 Americans hostage. They did so after Mr. Carter had refused to bail out the Shah, as the Eisenhower administration had in 1953, and after Andrew Young, Mr. Carter's U.N. ambassador, had described the Ayatollah Khomeini as "somewhat of a saint."
President Obama likes to bemoan the "mess" he inherited overseas, the finger pointed squarely at President Bush. But the real mess he inherited comes straight out of 1979, the serial debacles of which define American challenges in the Middle East just as surely as the triumphs of 1989 define our opportunities in Europe. True, the furies that were unleashed that year in Mecca, Tehran and elsewhere in the Muslim world were not of America's making. But absence of guilt is no excuse for innocence of policy.
Pretty soon, Mr. Obama will have his own Meccas and Tehrans to deal with, perhaps in Jerusalem and Cairo. He would do well to cast a backward glance at the tenure of his fellow Nobel peace laureate, as an object lesson in how even the purest of motives can lead to the most disastrous results.
Comment: In contrast with Joe L .... a guy I really don't like (but I was foolish enough to vote for him!)