The Carter Implosion: Jimmy Carter and the Amateur Style of Diplomacy

By Donald S. Spencer | Go to book overview

helm, the Carter White House continued to ignore this commonplace lesson of history.

Nearly two years earlier, the editors of the Wall Street Journal had noted this lack of historical perspective in a searing indictment of Jimmy Carter's amateur style of diplomacy. "None of this should be particularly surprising," that paper had editorialized on February 15, 1979. "It might be called the vindication of the domino theory. In the world of geopolitics, if you lose in one place you will be tested in another. If you lose successively you will be tested in more and more ways. If you start not even to put up a fight, everyone will start to bully you. Any normal kid in a schoolyard learns this; we keep wondering where the members of this administration grew up."


NOTES
1.
On the general point, see Halford Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality: A Study of the Politics of Reconstruction ( 3d. ed., New York: Henry Holt, 1942); James Fairgrieve, Geography and World Power ( New York: E. P. Dutton, 1917); William Taylor Thom, Petroleum and Coal: The Keys to the Future ( Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1929).
2.
New York Times, December 17, 1979; Washington Post, December 17, 1979.
3.
New York Times, November 27, 1979.
4.
New York Times News Service release for June 11, 1980.
5.
Middle East Intelligence Survey, June 1980, p. 48.
6.
New York Times, August 25-27, 1979.
8.
Charges, countercharges, and partisan sniping appeared at every stage of the "crisis;" see New York Times, August 31, 1979 through November 3, 1979.
9.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977- 1981 ( New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983), p. 348.
10.
Quoted in Time, October 1, 1979, p. 24.
11.
See Joseph Churba, The American Retreat ( Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1984), p. 101, for one bitter analysis of this episode.
12.
Brzezinski, Power and Principle, p. 351.
13.
See, for example, the dearth of emphasis in the Washington Post, April 14- 30, 1978.
14.
Quoted by Strobe Talbott, "U.S.-Soviet Relations: From Bad to Worse," Foreign Affairs: America and the World, 1979, p. 516.
15.
See, for example, the assessment by Richard Holbrooke on the eve of his appointment as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in "A Sense of Drift, A Time for Calm," Foreign Policy, Summer 1976, p. 111.
16.
New York Times, January 1, 1980.
17.
New York Times, January 8, 1980.
18.
Quoted in Time, February 25, 1980, p. 17.
19.
New York Times, January 5, 1980.

-119-

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The Carter Implosion: Jimmy Carter and the Amateur Style of Diplomacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 2 - Some One Syllable Answers 19
  • Notes 32
  • 3 - Sort of a Beacon Light. . . ."" 35
  • Notes 49
  • 5 - The Challenge of Khomeini 65
  • Notes 82
  • Notes 119
  • 8 THE MALTHUSIAN NIGHTMARE AND THE PARADOX OF INVERSE POWER 121
  • Notes 139
  • 9 - Jimmy Carter, Zachary Taylor, and the 800th Lifetime 143
  • Notes 154
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 155
  • Index 157
  • About the Author 163
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