December 8, 2006


Ex-Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Dies (William Branigin, December 8, 2006, Washington Post)

Kirkpatrick "defended the cause of freedom at a pivotal time in world history," and her "powerful intellect helped America win the Cold War," President Bush said in a statement.

"As a professor, author, ambassador and adviser to presidents, she influenced the thinking of generations of Americans on the importance of American leadership in advancing the cause of freedom and democracy around the globe," Bush said. "Her insights and teachings will continue to illuminate the path ahead for the United States in the world." [...]

Born Jeane Duane Jordan in Duncan, Okla., in November 1926, Kirkpatrick graduated from Barnard College in 1948 and received a doctorate in political science from Columbia University in 1968. She also studied political science in Paris.

She was a leftist early in her academic career and later joined the Democratic Party, becoming active in party politics and political campaigns in the 1970s. But she grew disillusioned with the foreign policy of President Jimmy Carter and eventually left the party, aligning herself with the conservative policies of Ronald Reagan. [...]

Reflecting at a 2002 conference on her early career as a socialist, she said it had been "relatively short." As she read the works of various socialists, she said, "I came to the conclusion that almost all of them, including my grandfather, were engaged in an effort to change human nature. The more I thought about it, the more I thought this was not likely to be a successful effort."

That's the single insight that separates Judeo-Christians (conservatives) from Rationalist (liberals/libertarians).

Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.N. Envoy Under Reagan, Dies (TIM WEINER, 12/09/06, NY Times)

Ms. Kirkpatrick was the first American woman to serve as United Nations ambassador. She was the only woman — and the only Democrat — in President Reagan’s National Security Council. And no woman had ever been so close to the center of presidential power without actually residing in the White House.

“When she put her feet under the desk of the Oval Office, the president listened,” said William P. Clark, Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser during 1982 and 1983. “And he usually agreed with her.”

President Reagan brought her into his innermost foreign-policy circle, the National Security Planning Group, which convened in the White House Situation Room. In dozens of meetings with the president, Vice President George H.W. Bush, the secretaries of state and defense, the director of central intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ms. Kirkpatrick weighed the risks and rewards of clandestine warfare in Central America, covert operations against Libya, the disastrous deployment of American marines in Lebanon, the invasion of Grenada and support for rebel forces in Afghanistan.

Though that work took place in secret, she became a national political figure.

To the best of my memory the only black mark on her record was supporting the Argentine junta against the Brits over the Malvinas.

A True American Hero: Jeane Kirkpatrick, 1926-2006 (Norman Podhoretz, 12/18/2006, Weekly Standard)

When I first met Jeane Kirkpatrick in 1972, she was an academic political scientist mainly interested in domestic politics. She was also a Democrat and a close associate of Hubert Humphrey who, both as a senator and as Lyndon John son's vice president, had been identified with the tradition of Cold War liberal ism running from Truman to Kennedy and then enthusiastically embraced by President Johnson himself. But about ten years later, in 1980, she came out in support of Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter, and even went on to serve as one of Reagan's advisers during the campaign.

Soon thereafter, and thanks largely to an article entitled "Dictatorships and Double Standards" that she had writ ten for Commentary in November 1979, Reagan appointed her his ambassador to the United Nations. There, follow ing in the footsteps of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (another Democrat sent to the U.N. by a Republican president), she simultaneously scandalized and electrified the world by going on the offensive against the anti-American ism which, then as now, was the default position in the malodorous sinkhole that the U.N. had become. Unlike Moynihan, however, who remained a Democrat, she finally joined the side she was on, becoming in due course a registered Republican.

Dictatorships & Double Standards
(Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, November 1979, Commentary)

The foreign policy of the Carter administration fails not for lack of good intentions but for lack of realism about the nature of traditional versus revolutionary autocracies and the relation of each to the American national interest. Only intellectual fashion and the tyranny of Right/Left thinking prevent intelligent men of good will from perceiving the facts that traditional authoritarian governments are less repressive than revolutionary autocracies, that they are more susceptible of liberalization, and that they are more compatible with U.S. interests. The evidence on all these points is clear enough.

Surely it is now beyond reasonable doubt that the present governments of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos are much more repressive than those of the despised previous rulers; that the government of the People's Republic of China is more repressive than that of Taiwan, that North Korea is more repressive than South Korea, and so forth. This is the most important lesson of Vietnam and Cambodia. It is not new but it is a gruesome reminder of harsh facts.

From time to time a truly bestial ruler can come to power in either type of autocracy--Idi Amin, Papa Doc Duvalier, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot are examples--but neither type regularly produces such moral monsters (though democracy regularly prevents their accession to power). There are, however, systemic differences between traditional and revolutionary autocracies that have a predictable effect on their degree of repressiveness. Generally speaking, traditional autocrats tolerate social inequities, brutality, and poverty while revolutionary autocracies create them.

Traditional autocrats leave in place existing allocations of wealth, power, status, and other re- sources which in most traditional societies favor an affluent few and maintain masses in poverty. But they worship traditional gods and observe traditional taboos. They do not disturb the habitual rhythms of work and leisure, habitual places of residence, habitual patterns of family and personal relations. Because the miseries of traditional life are familiar, they are bearable to ordinary people who, growing up in the society, learn to cope, as children born to untouchables in India acquire the skills and attitudes necessary for survival in the miserable roles they are destined to fill. Such societies create no refugees.

Precisely the opposite is true of revolutionary Communist regimes. They create refugees by the million because they claim jurisdiction over the whole life of the society and make demands for change that so violate internalized values and habits that inhabitants flee by the tens of thousands in the remarkable expectation that their attitudes, values, and goals will "fit" better in a foreign country than in their native land. [...]

There is a damning, contrast between the number of refugees created by Marxist regimes and those created by other autocracies: more than a million Cubans have left their homeland since Castro's rise (one refugee for every nine inhabitants) as compared to about 35,000 each from Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. In Africa more than five times as many refugees have fled Guinea and Guinea Bissau as have left Zimbabwe Rhodesia, suggesting that civil war and racial discrimination are easier for most people to bear than Marxist-style liberation.

Moreover, the history of this century provides no grounds for expecting that radical totalitarian regimes will transform themselves. At the moment there is a far greater likelihood of progressive liberalization and democratization in the governments of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile than in the government of Cuba; in Taiwan than in the People's Republic of China; in South Korea than in North Korea; in Zaire than in Angola; and so forth.

Since many traditional autocracies permit limited contestation and participation, it is not impossible that U.S. policy could effectively encourage this process of liberalization and democratization, provided that the effort is not made at a time when the incumbent government is fighting for its life against violent adversaries, and that proposed reforms are aimed at producing gradual change rather than perfect democracy overnight. To accomplish this, policymakers are needed who understand how actual democracies have actually come into being. History is a better guide than good intentions.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 8, 2006 6:34 PM

the Argentine junta against the Brits over the Malvinas.

¿Qué? Shouldn't an Anglophile call them by their proper name, the Falklands?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 8, 2006 9:20 PM

Libertarians require a change in human nature? I must have missed that memo.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 8, 2006 11:06 PM

PapayaSF, only if they expect the anarchy to be stable.........

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 8, 2006 11:24 PM

Libertarians aren't anarchists.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 8, 2006 11:35 PM

Ok, PapayaSF, I'll bite. How are Libertarians not Anarchists?

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 9, 2006 12:06 AM

Libertarians believe there should be only a minimal government. Anarchists believe there should be no government at all.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 9, 2006 12:17 AM

I would buy that if the Libertarians agree on what the minimal goverment is to do. I've talked to many(I own a comic book store. They hang out here.). They all agree the goverment has to be smashed.... At this point they look like the socialists; lacking the courage to be part of the group that would advance their goals, because they couldn't bear to get their hands dirty.
Smashing the State and then trying to form a new, smaller one? Um, no.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 9, 2006 12:27 AM

Any political group includes factions, and libertarians are no exception. Do you think your own views are 100% acceptable to everyone who shares your political label, be it "conservative" or "Republican" or whatever?

"Smash the state" is more fevered hyperbole than I or most libertarians would use. I'm sure most would agree that a peaceful, careful trimming is what we hope for.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 9, 2006 12:39 AM

Well, that's what I hear from the Libertarian party, and it's members. If you are talking about a libertarian impulse within the Republican party, that makes sense to me. I agree that the goverment should be smaller. It's a shame that the Libertarian party's criminal defection from the Republican party has allowed the Democrats to grow the goverment as much as they have.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 9, 2006 12:54 AM

They don't care about the size of government, they're just trying to escape Judeo-Christian moral strictures. That's why they're the enemy.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2006 7:33 AM

Bravo! That defines the libertines almost precisely.

Don't forget that they are draft-dodgers also.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 9, 2006 8:25 AM

Not all of them, OJ. A large percentage of them just want the Federal government to be run in a more traditional way, as the Founders intended. Fans of the Founders should not be your enemy.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 9, 2006 1:41 PM

Not all of them, OJ. A large percentage of them just want the Federal government to be run in a more traditional way, as the Founders intended. Fans of the Founders should not be your enemy.

Posted by: PapayaSF at December 9, 2006 1:46 PM

The Founders founded a Republic of Liberty, not a den of freedom. Libertarians so despise the Founders that they have to reject everything they actually believed and make stuff up.

Posted by: oj at December 9, 2006 2:56 PM