Jeane Kirk­patrick

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

With the sad pass­ing of Jeane Kirk­patrick on Dec. 8, the United States lost a true cham­pion of lib­erty and free­dom whose val­or­ous ef­forts were in­dis­pens­able to vic­tory in the Cold War. The “Rea­gan Demo­crat” was a pil­lar of Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy in­tel­lect, both dur­ing her years in the Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion and af­ter, and she was a tire­less de­fender of hu­man rights.

As one of the very best U.S. am­bas­sadors to the United Na­tions, Mrs. Kirk­patrick proved her ef­fec­tive­ness as a stal­wart de­fender of U.S. in­ter­ests, a point em­pha­sized by an emo­tional John Bolton, who said that she “made it clear dur­ing ten­sions in the Cold War that Amer­ica’s in­ter­ests here at the U.N. were ad­vanced when the cause of lib­erty was ad­vanced.” Ap­pointed by Pres­i­dent Rea­gan in 1981, Mrs. Kirk­patrick ar­rived at the United Na­tions an out­spo­ken re­former, de­ter­mined to vig­or­ously ad­vance U.S. in­ter­ests and val­ues and flatly re­ject any de­fen­sive or apolo­getic pos­ture.

In a land­mark speech that still very much res­onates to­day, Mrs. Kirk­patrick at the 1984 Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion ex­co­ri­ated the lib­eral wing of her Democra- tic Party, the “San Fran­cisco Democrats,” for hav­ing an os­trich-like at­ti­tude (“con­vinced it would shut out the world by hid­ing its head in the sand”) to­wards for­eign pol­icy and a propen­sity to “blame Amer­ica first.”

In her im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial 1979 es­say “Dic­ta­tor­ships and Dou­ble Stan- dards,” Mrs. Kirk­patrick took the Carter ad­min­is­tra­tion to task for its for­eign pol­icy de­ci­sions, not­ing that “The U.S. has never tried so hard and failed so ut­terly to make and keep friends in the Third World.” The es­say, pub­lished in Com­men­tary mag­a­zine, de­cried the Car­terites’ self-de­feat­ing role in work­ing with revo­lu­tion­ary forces in Iran and Nicaragua, as well as their fail­ure to form an im­ple­mentable and re­al­is­tic plan for deal­ing with au­to­cratic gov­ern­ments fac­ing a Soviet threat. “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,” Mrs. Kirk­patrick wrote. The tra­di­tional au­to­crats were not only less re­pres­sive and “more sus­cep­ti­ble of lib­er­al­iza­tion,” she ar­gued with char­ac­ter­is­tic lev­el­head­ed­ness, but were in fact “more com­pat­i­ble with U.S. in­ter­ests.”

Jeane Kirk­patrick was a re­mark­able wo­man who de­serves the heart­felt ap­pre­ci­a­tion of all Amer­i­cans for her years of ser­vice and for her sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to win­ning the Cold War. One of the 20th cen­tury’s fore­most de­fend­ers of free­dom and hu­man rights, she will be sorely missed.

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