A Treaty Not to Be Trusted
The Democratic president signs a treaty with the leader of America’s greatest geopolitical rival. The two countries had once been allies, but they have stopped trusting each other. Still, the U.S. president thinks that he can strike a deal on one particular issue—an issue that many of his supporters deem to be a matter of life and death. Indeed, this presidential deal-making is controversial, because critics say that the other country simply can’t be trusted.
Yet the American president persists in his deal-quest, saying that not only is this agreement a good idea, but that further agreements should be made as well. He says that his diplomatic dealing “allows us to continue on course toward a safer world with even more substantial limitations” in the future.
Not surprisingly, the foreign leader is delighted by this windfall deal; as he says, “In signing this treaty, we are helping to defend the most sacred right of every man—the right to live.”
At the summit, there is nothing but tidings of good cheer. And so concerns about the bad terms of the deal—to say nothing of outright cheating—are brushed aside.
Does this sound a bit like the climate agreement that President Joe Biden has struck with Chinese leader Xi Jinping?
You know, all the optimism? All the honeyed words at the summit—and the dismissal fears that the U.S. will sit and watch as the Chinese regime flouts the agreement?
Sure, Biden-Xi is exactly what it sounds like. And yet while the preceding paragraphs might seem to be a description of the effort by the 46th president, they are in fact taken from the actual record of the 39th president, Jimmy Carter.
Back in June 1979, Carter traveled to Vienna, Austria, there to to meet with Leonid Brezhnev, president of the Soviet Union. The purpose of the summit conference was to sign a Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, known as SALT II.
For his part, Brezhnev was so happy with the deal that he actually kissed Carter.