In a Washington Post op-ed today, "Stop the Band-Aid Treatment:
We Need Policies for a Real, Lasting Middle East Peace,"
Former-President Jimmy Carter asserts:

"Tragically, the current conflict is part of the inevitably repetitive cycle of violence that results from the absence of a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East, exacerbated by the almost unprecedented six-year absence of any real effort to achieve such a goal."

Why this statement? Why now?

Former-President Carter believes that he is uniquely qualified to speak on this issue. In addition to his success in forging a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt during his administration in the late-1970s, he remains convinced that he alone among American statesmen possessed the vision to bring about peace in the Middle East. A few years ago, he famously bragged: "Had I been elected to a second term, with the prestige and authority and influence and reputation I had in the region, we could have moved to a final solution."

Moreover, Former-President Carter has never retired from politics, and he rarely passes up an opportunity to tweak a Republican president. And while we often hear that former presidents, traditionally, have supported rather than attacked active administrations, that general assertion is simply inaccurate.

In fact, there is a strong tradition of ex-presidents, especially one-term chief executives who suffered humiliating defeats for re-election, throwing rocks at their successors. For twenty years after his electoral loss, John Quincy Adams railed against the party of Andrew Jackson. After his national defeat in 1840, and his intra-party defeat in 1844, Martin Van Buren declared war on both sides and ran as a third party candidate in 1848. After his degradation in 1932, Herbert Hoover proved a strident and consistent critic of FDR.

Former presidents enjoy many of the residual benefits of the office, including the bully pulpit. Jimmy Carter, not unlike his aforementioned predecessors, believes he drew a raw deal from the American people, who lacked the vision to recognize his superiority. Combined with his evangelical sense of obligation to share his wisdom with a less-enlightened and mostly unappreciative American public, Carterís need for vindication propels him into the arena time after time. Waiting for the day that Americans will come to see him (as his friends in the international community do) for the great man that he really is, Jimmy Carter takes every opportunity to remind us of his discernment.