Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ed Driscoll: Teddy's War

October 20, 2006 11:02 PM · Bobos In Paradise · War And Anti-War

In his 2002 book titled Reagan's War, Peter Schweizer wrote:

On repeated occasions, according to numerous Soviet accounts, [Jimmy] Carter encouraged Moscow to influence American politics for his benefit or for the detriment of his enemies. Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin recounts in his memoirs how, in the waning days of the 1980 campaign, the Carter White House dispatched Armand Hammer to the Soviet embassy. Explaining to the Soviet Ambassador that Carter was "clearly alarmed" at the prospect of losing to Reagan, Hammer asked for help: Could the Kremlin expand Jewish emigration to bolster Carter's standing in the polls? "Carter won't forget that service if he is elected," Hammer told Dobrynin.

According to Georgii Kornienko, first deputy foreign minister at the time, something similar took place in 1976, when Carter sent Averell Harriman to Moscow. Harriman sought to assure the Soviets that Carter would be easier to deal with than Ford, clearly inviting Moscow to do what it could through public diplomacy to help his campaign.

Even when he was out of office, Carter still tried bitterly to encourage Moscow to do damage to his enemies during an election. As Dobrynin recounts, in January 1984 the former president dropped by his residence for a private meeting. Carter was concerned about Reagan's defense build-up and went on to explain that Moscow would be better off with someone else in the White House. If Reagan won, he warned, "There would not be a single agreement on arms control, especially on nuclear arms, as long as Reagan remained in power."

Did Ted Kennedy also try to throw a presidential election involving Reagan by going to the Soviets? Bryan of Hot Air writes:

There’s a new book on Ronald Reagan making the rounds, The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism. Its author, Paul Kengor, unearthed a sensational document from the Soviet archives. That document is a memo regarding an offer made by Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts via former Senator John Tunney, both Democrats, to the General Secretary of the Communist Party, USSR, Yuri Andropov, in 1983. The offer was to help the Soviet leadership, military and civilian, conduct a PR campaign in the United States as President Ronald Reagan sought re-election. The goal of the PR campaign would be to cast President Reagan as a warmonger, the Soviets as willing to peacefully co-exist, and thereby turn the electorate away from Reagan. It was a plan to enlist Soviet help, and use the American press, in unseating an American president.

Think about that.

It certainly rings a bell. (In addition to Carter, it's also reminiscent of his fellow senator from Massachusetts' Winter Soldier moment. But that shouldn't be too surprising.)

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