Saturday, December 09, 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick--The World Feels A Little Less Evil Today

Even though I am sick with a touch of the flu or some damn thing, I felt all day the world was a little less evil than it was yesterday. I finally get online and, lo and behold, Jeane Kirkpatrick is dead.

Ronald Reagan's UN Ambassador, Kirkpatrick was an architect of his Latin American policy, publically arguing that there were no human rights violations occurring in El Salvador and condemning the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Kirkpatrick came to Grandpa Caligula's attention for her 1979 article, "Dictatorships and Double Standards" that distinguished between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. She said that authortarian regimes were OK if they were anti-communist. Her examples--Somoza in Nicaragua and the Shah in Iran!!! On the other hand, totalitarian regimes were unacceptable because they sought to maintain complete control over their economies and because they were dedicated to expansion regardless of the means. Later in the article, she went on to say that Jimmy Carter's treaty with Panama returning control of the Canal to the Panamaians would lead to its control by a "swaggering Latin dictator of Castroite bent."

She constantly made connections between the Sandinistas and the Cubans, arguing that the revolution was a "consolidation of power by communists and...incorporation into the Soviet empire." She then said, "Some say Nicaragua's freedom fighters cannot win. I say they cannot lose...if we provide half the assistance Moscow provides the FSLN. Some say it is not consistent to support rebels in Nicaragua and oppose them in El Salvador. But it is consistent to support a democratic government in El Salvador and democratic forces in El Salvador."

Never mind that the Contras were a terrorist organization and that the El Salvador military's death squads rampaged across the nation throughout the 1980s.

Luckily her path to the highest reaches of the Reagan administration was blocked by Secretary of State George Schulz, who thought that Iran-Contra was a terrible idea. In some ways, Schulz was one of the less reprehensible members of the Reagan Administration. Unlike Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Much of the good info here comes from Don Coerver and Linda Hall's Tangled Destinies: Latin America and the United States.