Via Greg Hengler, why would an American cap a three-day visit to Kim Jong-Il’s national gulag by accusing the U.S. of human rights violations? Well, much like Superman, Carter’s more a “citizen of the world” now than part of the country he used to lead. In fact, he wasn’t there on behalf of the State Department but as part of a delegation from “The Elders,” an elite team of ex-statesmen who travel the world sharing the sort of wisdom that’s made “Jimmy Carter” synonymous with successful foreign policy ideas here at home.
Kim wouldn’t meet with them, incidentally, for reasons I don’t understand. When you have a former U.S. president willing to carry your water, hand him a bucket. Instead, Kim sent them a message saying he’d be willing to meet with either South Korea or the U.S. to talk disarmament and any matters — like, say, food for the population, which may or may not be suffering an unusually harsh famine right now due to a bad winter. In theory, that would increase American leverage over Kim: The more desperately he needs food, the more willing he’ll be to make concessions to get it. But now that we’ve got this choice soundbite from an Absolute Moral Authority like Carter suggesting that other countries have a right to be fed by us without preconditions, well, who knows. Besides, after all the North has done for them lately, South Korea practically owes them, no?