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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaking Tuesday at the Carter Center in Atlanta. (Photo: Screengrab from cartercenter.org)

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaking Tuesday at the Carter Center in Atlanta. (Photo: Screengrab from cartercenter.org)

Jimmy Carter Speaks Out Against US 'Oligarchy' and Trump's Diplomatic Failures

Former president bemoans money in politics and says tensions with Pyongyang won't subside until "we're willing to talk to them and treat them with respect as human beings"

Andrea Germanos

Former President Jimmy Carter has once again taken aim at money in the U.S. electoral process, saying Tuesday that it makes the nation function more as an "oligarchy than a democracy."

Carter made the comments, which echo criticisms he's made in years past, during the latest "Conversation with the Carters" at the 35-year-old nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta.

After Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, spoke to the audience about gains their center has made in its global peace and health initiatives—including the near eradication of guinea worm—the 92-year-old offered a rebuttal to the approach to North Korea taken by not only President Donald Trump but by former President Barack Obama.

Carter said that "the first thing I would do is treat the North Koreans with respect. I would be talking to them. We have refused to talk to them since George W. Bush was in office. Obama refused to have any discussion with the North Koreans, even though I went over there twice while he was in office and urged him to talk to them."

"I know what the North Koreans want," he continued. "The North Koreans want a peace treaty with the United States. We've only had a ceasefire since the Korean War was over. What they want is a firm treaty guaranteeing that the United States will not attack them or hurt them in any way unless they attack one of their neighbors, notably South Korea. But the United States has refused to do that."

Stressing diplomacy, Carter said, "I would send my top person to Pyongyang immediately—if I didn't go myself—to talk to the North Koreans about how to defuse the issue. But until we're willing to talk to them and treat them with respect as human beings, which they are, then I don't think we're going to make any progress."

The advice he'd offer Trump is to "keep the peace, promote human rights, and tell the truth."

As far as brokering peace efforts in the Middle East, Carter's not placing any bets on the current administration. The Independent reports:

He said he was "practically hopeless" that Mr Trump would bring any kind of "justice to Palestinians" after Mr Trump indicated he may be willing to broker a solution between the Israelis and Palestinians that did not involve two states.

Mr. Trump has placed his son-in-law White House adviser Jared Kushner in charge of negotiating a deal, who grew up as a family friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While Mr. Carter does not think the Trump family is making headway in the region, he also blamed Mr. Netanyahu for not having any "intention at all of having a two-state solution."

Carter, who recently predicted the U.S. would turn to a single-payer healthcare system, is also in the news this week for his op-ed in the New York Times calling for "building political processes that are inclusive and transparent and that hold those in power accountable." Such efforts, he argued, include "full and easy (or even automatic) access to voter registration processes."

You can watch most of the Carters' full address here.


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