Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Jimmy Carter on China and other things.....

 

 

I first saw Jimmy Carter (former Governor of Georgia) when he came to Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida in 1975 when I was attending school there after I got out of the Air Force the year before.

I was impressed with his speech and began paying attention to his presidential campaign. 

In 1976 I volunteered to help on his campaign. He was elected in November of that year. He was a one term president.

One of the key reasons I supported Carter was his statement: "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race." He used to say it often - as if to signal that America's long-running bout with militarism was misled. 

The public then had the 'Vietnam syndrome' and the corporate oligarchy wanted to get rid of that problem so they could return to full-blown empire building.

Once he became president, Carter built the Trident nuclear submarine base in St. Marys, Georgia very near the Florida border. For more than 20 years I joined the annual peace witness at the base on New Years Eve. The building of the sub base helped to sour me on Jimmy Carter.

It wasn't until some years after Carter left office that I learned how he had been recruited by Zbignew Brzezinski to run for president on behalf of the Trilateral Commission. After the debacle of the Vietnam War the ruling elites decided they needed a fresh face - but one they would control. So they took a virtually unknown moderate southern politician, with no national base or experience in foreign affairs, and made him president.  They played the 'peanut farmer' card created by the best minds on Madison Avenue.

A book that really helped to put me over the top on Carter, and the Democrats, was Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management by Holly Sklar. 

Sklar wrote:

In 1973 the Trilateral Commission was founded by David Rockefeller, Chase Manhattan Bank chairman, Zbignew Brzezinski, [President Jimmy] Carter's national security advisor, and other like-minded "eminent private citizens." Some 300 members (up from about 200 members in 1973) are drawn from international business and banking, government, academia, media, and conservative labor. The Commission's purpose is to engineer an enduring partnership among the ruling classes of North America, Western Europe, and Japan-hence the term "trilateral" - in order to safeguard the interests of Western capitalism in an explosive world. The private Trilateral Commission is attempting to mold public policy and construct a framework for international stability in the coming decades. ..."trilateralism" refers to the doctrine of world order advanced by the Commission.


Shortly before Jimmy Carter's election in 1976, Richard Ullman wrote from inside the foreign policy establishment: "In the U.S. - among elites, at any rate-trilateralism has become almost the consensus position on foreign policy." But it was only at the time of Carter's election that the Trilateral Commission was given much media attention. "Sound the Alarm: the Trilateralists are Coming" teased William Greider in a post-inaugural article on the Carter Administration and the Trilateral Commission. Jimmy Carter has picked no less than twenty-five trilateralists to serve in the highest posts of his administration. Besides Brzezinski, founding director of the Trilateral Commission, we find: Vice-President Walter Mondale, (former) Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, (former) Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Paul Volcker.


I lost most of my hope for Carter during his ill-fated administration. In the years that followed I did regain a fraction of respect for him - largely based on his work with Habitat for Humanity, building homes with people who could not afford to purchase one on the open market.

But then when Ralph Nader (who I always supported) was running for president his last time, Carter came on TV and launched a mean-spirited tirade opposing Nader's presidential run. By that time I was no longer a Carter fan but was still shocked that this 'good Christian' could be so mean-spirited.

With that said, I do like his comments above on China - although note that they were directed at Donald Trump. I wonder if he'd lecture Joe Biden nearly as strongly about the same subject?  One can always hope I suppose.

In the end Carter was a very mixed bag. Emphasis on mixed and bag.

Bruce

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