Friday, December 08, 2006

Remembrance: The woman who made me a neoconservative.

May God take Jeanne Kirkpatrick into His arms.

James Taranto calls her one of the three greatest UN ambassadors, but in my book she was the greatest. Coming after Carter's amabassador Andrew Young, who played to the anti-American galleries with his comments about American racism, Jeanne Kirkpatrick saved the UN for American and America for the UN by insisting that UN would no longer be a place for cheap Anti-American grandstanding. She made it a point that the actions of nations in the UN would have practical consequences on the relationships of those countries with the United States.

She also wrote the article "Of Dictators and Double Standards", which nailed the case that Jimmy Carter's sentimentalization of American foreign relationships had undermined American interests in Latin America and Iran. The repercussions of Carter continue to reverberate; if Iran developes the bomb and incinerates Israeli civilians, then that outcome will be a fruit of Carter's foreign policy.

Kirkpatrick's article in Commentary magazine "Of Dictatorships and Double Standards" may have saved the world. Kirkpatrick provided an intellectual basis of distinguishing between right-wing authoritarians and left-wing totalitarian dictatorships, which freed America up to pursue its true enemy. By the end of the '80s, that policy had played a role in seeing an end to the Communist bloc and helped roll the world back from nuclear confrontation.

It is interesting to note that although Kirkpatrick and the Neoconservatives were hectored by the left during the '80s for showing more tolerance of authoritarian regimes as opposed to totalitarian ones, since the collapse of Communism, the left's interest in human rights has evaporated and it has embraced any authoritian that opposes America. A realist might therefore conclude that the blurring of lines between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes had less to do with human rights than with distracting attention from Communism.

We could use a few more Jeanne Kirkpatrick's in public life.

Update: Jeanne Kirkpatrick had an effect on more than a few lives, including that of another Fresno attorney.

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