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Yarbrough: New sheriff in town doesn’t need Carter’s help

POSTED: January 31, 2009 1:00 a.m.

He may have done some things you like and some you don't like in his first few weeks in office, but President Barack Obama has hit a home run in his appointment of former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell as his special envoy for the Middle East, and veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These are such genius appointments that I will almost - almost - forgive him for selecting race-baiting, white-berating, rhyme-stating, obfuscating, ego-inflating Joe Lowery to close out what was an otherwise impressive inauguration.

The president may not have known that Dr. Gil Watson, the World's Greatest Preacher, was available. Dr. Gil loves everybody without exception, even a sinner like me. Plus, he could outpreach and outpray Lowery with one tonsil tied behind his throat.

Remember what happened when Gov. Perdue asked Dr. Gil to pray for rain? It rained. But I digress.
Holbrooke was the architect of the Dayton Accords, which crafted a peace agreement between leaders of the Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats and officially ended the bloody civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995. The centuries-old animosities are still there — as they are in the Middle East but so is peace, thanks in large part to Holbrooke.

Mitchell brought stability to Northern Ireland, a task many thought impossible, but he did it. Now he goes to the Middle East with the president's full authority to move the Israelis and Palestinians toward a shared and permanent peace.

Touching on his days in Northern Ireland, the former senator said, "From my experience there, I formed the conviction that there is no such thing as a conflict that can't be ended. Conflicts are created, conducted and sustained by human beings. They can be ended by human beings."

That is, unless that human being is an uninvited busybody who couldn't get Israel and Palestine to the same table if he served hot biscuits and gravy. Does the name Jimmy Carter ring a bell?

While these appointments are good for the nation, they may not be so good for somebody constantly trying to shill books and op-ed pieces to the New York Times. President Peanut can kiss all the Hamas officials he wants, but he will be irrelevant in all foreign policy matters from now on unless and until President Obama says otherwise.

I have a feeling this president isn't going to tolerate Carter's renegade diplomacy as Presidents Clinton and Bush did. Settling the Middle East conflict could perhaps be Obama's lasting legacy, and he doesn't need Carter mucking it up.

Carter has adopted for himself the role of ill-will ambassador-at-large in order to feed his almost psychotic need to be loved and adored. His unilateral grandstanding actions in the Middle East, North Korea and assorted other garden spots to which he has invited himself have accomplished nothing except to get his name in the paper and to make things more difficult for the real diplomats.

I can't imagine for the life of me why he thinks going around the world trashing a sitting president and accusing Israel of apartheid could in any shape, form or fashion benefit this nation or its people. If anything, he jeopardizes the peace process with his slanted views, gives false comfort to our enemies with his intemperate remarks and makes things less safe for the rest of us while he strokes his ego.

As my mama would say, "Bless his heart, he ought to be ashamed of himself." And he should. But he isn't.

Now that he has some time on his hands, maybe President Peanut will release the records of his 1970 gubernatorial race against moderate Gov. Carl Sanders and tell us why he ran such a blatantly racist campaign. Maybe he will write more bad poetry or build an end table out of hickory nuts or hunt down killer rabbits.

Whatever he does, I would suggest to Carter that he stay out of the Middle East. There is a new sheriff in town, and this process is going to run like he wants it to run. If Sen. Mitchell needs you, I'm sure he has your number. So do the rest of us.

Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. You can reach him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; Web site.



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