There was a curious exchange between former President Jimmy Carter and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell in a recent interview. My transcript follows:
ANDREA MITCHELL: Jimmy Carter had to deal with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan when he was president, so how would he deal with Russia’s Vladimir Putin? Does the president ask you for advice? Do you have that kind of relationship? Does he call you?PRESIDENT CARTER: Unfortunately, the answer is no. President Obama doesn’t. But previous presidents have called on me and the Carter Center to take action…..(he mentions the Bushes, Clinton and even Ronald Reagan)…ANDREA MITCHELL: Why do you think you don’t have that relationship with Barack Obama?PRESIDENT CARTER: I…I …It’s a hard question for me to answer with complete candor. I think the problem was that in dealing with the issue of peace between Israel and Egypt, the Carter Center has taken a very strong and public position of equal treatment between the Palestinians and Israelis, and I think this was a sensitive area in which the president didn’t want to be involved. When he first came out with his speech in Cairo calling for the end of all settlements and later said the ’67 borders should prevail, he and I were looking at it from the same perspective. But I can understand those sensitivities, and I don’t have criticism of him.
Help me out here. What “sensitivities” is President Carter talking about here? He’s saying President Obama doesn’t call him for advice because of the Carter Center’s position on Israel which, he points out, is similar to positions the president articulated. But nonetheless, the president can’t call on Carter now for advice on Russia because of the…..
You fill in the blank.
UPDATE: Another article on this interview: