I have always rather liked Jimmy Carter, who was President of the United States when I first went to Blacksburg from Cambridge in the summer of 1980. It astonished me, perhaps because I was naiive, to find the depth of animosity against him among my American colleagues. For example, I remember the late Wilson Schmidt (in one of several kindly gestures towards me until his untimely death) taking me to my first game of College Football — and there singing the Star Spangled Banner with the words “except Carter” added after “home of the brave”. Of course it was the time of the Iranian hostage crisis which had then seemed to be a debilitating humiliation.
Jimmy Carter will need a good biographer to assess him properly, whether now or in years to come, and he may not get one; objective historians are simply too scarce, especially perhaps in America. Certainly it was undignified of the Democratic Party not to give him any role whatsoever during the recent Convention appointing Barack Obama.
In the International Herald Tribune of September 11 2008, President Carter has said about the India-USA nuclear deal:
“different interpretations of the same pact can lead only to harsh confrontations if future decisions are made in New Delhi that contravene what has been understood in our country.”