He's got a right to do so, of course. On the other hand, as a former American president, Mr. Carter's actions carry greater weight that the run-of-the-mill citizen's.
The State Department says that they know about former President Jimmy Carter's planned visit to Syria. And, that it's an unsanctioned diplomatic trip. Former President Carter plans to visit Israel, too, on April 12: and will visit Syria and Saudi Arabia while he's in the neighborhood.
A State Department spokesman said that "the State Department has expressed our concerns and advised President Carter that past engagement with the Syrian regime has not produced positive results." (FOXNews (April 9, 2008))
The Hamas connection comes from an Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat, saying that Carter was going to meet Khaled Meshaal on April 18. That would be a very big deal. Khaled Meshaal is the exiled head of the Palestinian terror group Hamas. Everyone involved is being very quiet.
Including traditional mainstream news. I'm not sure whether ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, The New York Times, and all, don't have the resources that newer organizations have, or if there's something else going on.
If Carter-Meshaal meeting actually happens, Carter's meeting with Hamas would be record-breaking. He'd be the highest-level American official, present or past, to meet with Hamas: and the first significant contact with America's government since Meshaal and Clinton officials met in the 1990s.
A Carter-Meshaal meeting might have positive results. Former President Carter didn't quite win the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize, and didn't win one until 2002. This would be an opportunity for the former president to make his prize a pair.
That's probably unfair, but if former President Carter is planning to meet with a terrorist leader, I think that the prudence of his plan could be questioned.
- "State Department: Carter to Visit Syria"
FOXNews (April 9, 2008)
- "Report: Jimmy Carter to meet Hamas"
WorldNetDaily (April 9, 2008)
- "Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Peace Prize" CNN (October 11, 2002) (Background on Mr. Carter)
Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.