- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2006

Nobles: The Alaskan villagers who refused a despot’s offer of cheap oil.

For a state as saturated with oil as Alaska, it’s unfortunate that the poorest Alaskans still must pay high shipping costs just to get their hands on some. Blame that on those “Lower 48” lawmakers who would rather protect Alaska’s caribou than Alaska’s citizens. Ever the opportunist, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez sees rural Alaskans’ plight as an opening to offer discounted oil through his state-owned Citgo and embarrass the U.S. government.

Alaskans’ response? Nuts. “As a citizen of his country, you can have your own opinion of our president and our country,” said one Alaskan tribal administrator. “But I don’t want a foreigner coming in here and bashing us,” he said referring to Mr. Chavez’s recent tirade at the United Nations during which he labeled President Bush “the devil.”

The head of Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, which would have handled Citgo’s oil donation on behalf of 291 rural households, put it even better when he said: “I think we have some duty to our country, and I think it’s loyalty.” This is no small sacrifice. About 150 Alaskan villages have accepted the Chavez-subsidized oil. Said one villager, “When you have a dire need and it is a matter of survival for your people, it doesn’t matter where, what country, the gift or donation comes from.”

Which makes those Alaskans who refused Mr. Chavez’s gift all that more Noble.

Knaves: Jimmy Carter, who has obviously never heard of Neville Chamberlain.

Writing in the New York Times on Wednesday, Mr. Carter blamed North Korea’s recent nuclear test on … name calling. After four paragraphs of telling readers how he single-handedly stopped Kim Jong-il’s quest for the bomb, the former peanut farmer said, “But beginning in 2002, the United States branded North Korea as part of an axis of evil.” Since then, he goes on to write, it’s been all downhill.

Leaving aside the fact that Mr. Carter’s 1994 trip to North Korea proved an unmitigated disaster, his suggestion that current Dear Leader Kim Jong-il was somehow a swell, trustworthy kind of guy before President Bush put his police state in the “axis of evil” category is laughable. Mr. Carter apparently misses the fact that the reason Mr. Kim appeared to be playing nice was because he was dealing with a U.S. administration that desperately wanted to believe him.

Once Mr. Bush took office, however, Mr. Kim changed his approach: openly declaring that he is producing nuclear weapons in an effort to blackmail the international community. Mr. Carter’s obliviousness brings to mind Neville Chamberlain’s infamous claim of “peace in our time.”

For once again confirming the good judgement of Americans who turned him out of office in a 44-state landslide, Mr. Carter is the Knave of the week.

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