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Former US President Jimmy Carter said the US works more like an “oligarchy than a democracy,” while also lambasting Trump’s “hopeless” approach to solving the Israel-Palestine issue, and the increasing tension with North Korea.

The former president was speaking at a ‘Conversation with the Carters’ event at his Carter Center in Atlanta on Tuesday. He said money in politics is what makes the US more like an oligarchy – run by a small group of rich people – rather than a democracy, AP reports.

This isn’t the first time the 39th president has made such comments. In 2015, he referred to the “unlimited political bribery” that has “created a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.”

Carter was referring to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling to allow corporations to give unlimited campaign donations to political candidates, which he has previously said was “the most stupid decision” the court had made.

North Korea

On escalating tensions between the US and North Korea, Carter said, “The first thing I would do is treat the North Koreans with respect.”

“I know what the North Koreans want,” he said. “What they want is a firm treaty guaranteeing North Korea that the US will not attack them or hurt them in any way, unless they attack one of their neighbors.” Carter said, “But the United States has refused to do that.”

Carter said he would send his top person to Pyongyang immediately, adding: “If I didn’t go myself.” The former president visited North Korea three times between 1994 and 2011.

“Until we’re willing to talk to them and treat them with respect as human beings, which they are, then I don’t think we’ll make any progress,” he said.

Middle East

Meanwhile, Carter said he doesn’t think that Trump can bring peace between Israel and Palestine.

“I don’t think Trump or his family members are making any progress in that respect,” he said, adding he is “practically hopeless” that Trump will do anything to give “justice to the Palestinians.”

Carter criticized both Israeli and Palestinian leaders for failing to be flexible, but said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “no intention at all of having a two-state solution.”