I dislike Jimmy Carter. I like Victor Davis Hanson. So it pains me to suggest that JC might have come up with a better solution than VDH proposes here.
VDH says JC should have declared war on Iran back in 1979. At the time the Cold War was alive and such a thing would not have been so straightforward - Hanson himself acknowledges that the Soviets were behind Arab terrorists. We also did not have the sophisticated logistics and weapons we have today. So it would have been extremely difficult to carry out the threat at best even under competent leadership in the White House. (Then again, it's amazing how fast the hostages were released once Ronald Reagan got to the White House).
And that's leaving aside the fact that our economy was weaker at the time. People complain about the costs now - imagine taking it out of a much smaller economy.
And we now know how things turned out. Back then it wasn't clear that Khomeini's gang would having staying power.
OTOH sometime in the same year the Russians launched their invasion of Afghanistan. We lived to see it bleed the Russians white militarily and economically, and the jihadis may be correct in saying they brought the USSR down. They certainly contributed to it.
So I'm thinking that Jimmy Carter actually did something that worked out right. But being JC, it could only have happened because he screwed up at screwing up.