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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Freelance Diplomat

WASHINGTON -- For the second time in four months, the freelance diplomacy of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has pulled the Clinton administration back from the brink of military confrontation.


And once again, he did it with an agreement that is considerably softer and more flexible than President Bill Clinton had insisted he would require.


In June, Carter stunned the White House and State Department by traveling on his own to Pyongyang, North Korea, and announcing that he had obtained North Korea's agreement to "freeze" the nuclear program Clinton had said publicly North Korea could not be allowed to pursue. His deal aborted a U.S. campaign to win international economic sanctions against North Korea and forestalled a U.S. military buildup in South Korea.


Sunday, as leader of a three-man delegation negotiating with the military rulers of Haiti, Carter brokered a deal that literally pulled U.S. invasion forces back from the skies.


The negotiations led by Carter achieved Clinton's goals of agreement by the military to relinquish power and the return of Aristide by adding elements that no administration official had been willing to offer, including an amnesty and the possibility that Cedras will be allowed to remain in Haiti.


It was a miniature version of Carter's most renowned diplomatic achievement as president, the 1978 Camp David peace accords between Egypt and Israel. The historic deal was achieved only after Carter held the leaders of those two countries under virtual house arrest at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, for 13 days to forge an agreement they wanted but did not know how to achieve.


Carter has been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize and his chances have been boosted by his two highly publicized peacekeeping successes in the last four months.