When I heard that former president Jimmy Carter was putting together a group he called the “Elders” with former Irish President Mary Robinson, I thought “Oh good. Folk music. Maybe Carter finally found something productive to do with his time.”
But in that I was mistaken.
Unfortunately the only dirge that Jimmy and the Elders will be playing will be at the side of Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator who is starving his people while trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Carter, you see, is on another peacekeeping mission.
You thought war in Libya was expensive? Wait until you see the cost of a Carter-sponsored peace accord.
“The Elders are not in a position to negotiate; we’re not mediators,” Carter said of his trip to both of the Koreas. “We’re going to learn what we can and share what we find with the leaders with whom we have contact in the future.”
And they'll call themselves the Elders?
So really: Why are you taking the Elders on the road, Jimmy?
"I don't know with whom we'll be meeting in North Korea. We would like very much to meet with Kim Jong-il and also Kim Jong-un," Carter said according to an account by Reuters, referring to the North Korean leader and the leader's son and handpicked successor.
Ok. So Gandolf, what exactly are you and the Elders up to going to Korea?
"We have no indication that we will do so, but it would be a pleasure if we could do so," he continued, indicating that he really, really wanted to meet with the Kims of North Korea.
That’s Carter-speak for: “We surrender. Where’s my award?”
Carter and his Elders, it seems, will be winging their way to the Koreas, North and South, uninvited, to give their victims peace, no matter what the cost.
He’s tried it before.
Take South Korea.
When he was president, Carter tried to order most of the US troops stationed in South Korea home despite warning by generals, Congress, the Japanese and, yes, even the Chinese, that a withdrawal of American troops could destabilize the region and invite agression from North Korea.
But back then Carter knew much better than the rest of us how to make peace with dictators. The price of peace is surrender.