TCS Daily


WWJD (What Would Jeane Do?)

By Christopher C. Hull - December 11, 2006 12:00 AM

We are a world riven by schisms. The Sunni faction is in revolt against the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government. Hezbollah is in revolt against the ruling government in Lebanon. Hamas is in revolt against the Israeli government control of Palestinian territory.

And, closest to home, the Realists are in revolt against the NeoConservatives over Iraq policy.

Last week we lost one of the sharpest minds that could have guided us through these rocky shoals. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's first US Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the first woman to serve in that post, passed away late Thursday night.

A great diplomatic and strategic voice has been silenced.

I had the good fortune to study under Dr. Kirkpatrick during my doctoral work at Georgetown. She taught us to view world leaders through the lens of philosophy. Drawing lessons from Plato and Aristotle, she showed us how constitutions interact with character. That is, she argued, the character of great men within a society interacts with the constitution of that society to create the reality of the state.

So we needed to judge countries not just by their legal charter (or lack thereof), she held, but by the quality of leaders that system produced.

How does one judge the quality of a leader, in her book?

First, quoting political theorist and mentor Harold Lasswell, she told us, "we know a man by what he loves." The same is true of women. And Jeane Kirkpatrick loved freedom and democracy. She despised dictators and strongmen. She held out hope for the triumph of democratic governments over those of tyrannical despots.

Second, she said, we need to judge leaders' character by their heroes. And Jeane Kirkpatrick's hero was Ronald Reagan. Dr. Kirkpatrick remarked in a 1981 speech,

"An examination of the philosophical foundations of the liberal tradition is particularly relevant to a consideration of Ronald Reagan, his presidency, and his administration, because the president and many of his principal advisers see themselves as purveyors and defenders of the classical liberal tradition in politics, economics and society... The principles reaffirmed in President Reagan's vision of the modern liberal democratic state are grounded in the conviction that the state should be subordinate to the society and not the society to the state, that the market system is the most successful approach to stimulating production and distributing goods, and that the free individual is the source of creativity in the economic, political and cultural spheres."

Third, she taught us, leaders should be measured by their skills and strategies. And Jeane Kirkpatrick's skill was incisiveness. Her hectoring of her own Democratic party at the 1984 GOP Convention still rings true today, quoting Harry Truman:

"'The elements of our strength are many. They include our democratic government, our economic system, our great natural resources. But, the basic source of our strength is spiritual. We believe in the dignity of man.'

"That's the way Democratic presidents and presidential candidates used to talk about America.

"These were the men who developed NATO, who developed the Marshall Plan, who devised the Alliance for Progress.

"They were not afraid to be resolute nor ashamed to speak of America as a great nation. They didn't doubt that we must be strong enough to protect ourselves and to help others.

"They didn't imagine that America should depend for its very survival on the promises of its adversaries.

"They happily assumed the responsibilities of freedom.

"I am not alone in noticing that the San Francisco Democrats took a very different approach."

San Francisco Democrats? The reference - which she used throughout the speech - was to the 1984 Convention in that city, which she noted the New York Times itself called "a distinct shift from the policies" of Truman, Kennedy and Johnson. But certainly it echoes eerily today.

The San Francisco Democrats, she said in perhaps her most famous phrase, "always blame America first."

Her toughness in confronting defeatism at home and abroad brought her a legendary stature within the Reagan Administration - a stature so great that she considered running for president in 1988. Her incisiveness, her toughness, her candor: these were her skills, and fighting against defeatism was her strategy.

Finally, Dr. Kirkpatrick taught us, we should measure leaders by the "collective" with which they identify. What group do they most call their own?

And Jeane Kirkpatrick, a lifelong Democrat, associated herself most with the pro-America wing of the American political system: those who believe that fighting for freedom, democracy, and our way of life is nothing to be ashamed about. Republican or Democrat, she was a part of the group that unabashedly stood for victory over the forces of evil in the world.

Defined by her own system, we come to know a Jeane Kirkpatrick that we need at our side as we make the tough decisions that confront us today.

So, to borrow a phrase, What Would Jeane Do, today, with the world in tumult?

Unfortunately, we will never know. A guiding light has gone out on the shores of freedom.


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72 Comments

The "pro-America wing of the American political system??"
How about chucking this kind of us-and-them hate speech into the toilet where it belongs, and stick to the issues?

Anyone Who's Hero Was Ronald Reagan??
Wasn't too sharp, and Jeane K. wasn't too sharp. Reagan was a fascist and a racist and will be remembered historically in terms of worst presidents as right above George W. Bush and below Gerald Ford (and that's no compliment).

Kirkpatrick
I am ashamed to say that Kirkpatrick was a part of the "covert"operations against Libyan dictator Gaddaffi in 1986 which were not succesful in forcibly removing him from power, and left him to conspire and pay for the bombing of Pan Am flight #103, The French UTA attack, attempt assassinations of Saudis, order abductions abroad, and frame the 5 Bulgarian Nurses and one Palestinian Doctor for infecting children with Aids in Bengasi Hospital, not known for its sanitary conditions.These very real crimes against Americans and others are a very real stain on her otherwise admirable legacy. As far as beatles1 comment, stop your sexist bashing of an intelligent, successful, patriotic woman,and get a life.This site is for serious history and politics, not your leftist whining.

As opposed to the Anti-American Left
I remember the Cold War. The left opposed Reagan at every turn, yet he prevailed. Funny how it is hate speech when you don't agree with the point being made.

Opposing Reagan does not mean being against America
People who criticized Reagan for selling weapons to extremist terrorist-supporting clergy in Iran in order to support terrorists attacking an elected government in Nicaragua were not "anti-American." And calling people who disagree with a specific government anti-American or unpatriotic is hate speech pure and simple.

The fact that many liberals are virulently anti-American is the issue
especially the ones here.

opposing Reagan because he didn't want us to lose to the Soviets is anti-American
the only reason Reagan had to go to those lengths to support the freedom fighters in South and Central America was because the anti-american left wanted the communists to win.

Selling Schisms
After bringing up the violent conflict between Sunnies and Shiites in Iraq, between Hezbollah and the U.S. backed government in Lebanon, between Hamas and the Israeli government in Palistine/Israel and refering to each of these conflicts as a "revolt" the author quickly brings up some supposed "revolt" by realists against neocons.

It's almost as bad as the supposed "war" on Christmas, poverty, crime, drugs, terror, ect...

It's time for the American people to demand that politicians and writers stop trying to spin every situation beyond reason.

There does seem to be some "disagreement" between realists and neocons, some disagreement between people who want holiday greetings to be inclusive and those who don't, poverty is a problem that requires thought, crime, drugs and terror are also problems that require thoughtful strategies. It's time to stop muddling every issue with hype.



The Soviets were not who terrorists paid by the white house were killing
And nobody "wanted the communists to win." What people expected was that the United States honor its own ideals and its own constitution. That is not 'anti-american."

Peace on Earth, goodwill toward Men is not anti-American.
Just because it's anti Neocon, Neolib, Republican and often Democrat doesn't mean it's anti-American.

Many believe that George Bush's bungling incompetence has damaged this country badly
And that's not "Anti-American."

I remember
Did you support cruise missiles in Europe to? I remember all the leftists’ protests. I watch Reagan burned in effigy in Seattle. If that is not hate speech then what is? We were provoking those nice Ruskies. It was an arms race. They were wrong then and they are wrong now. It was more than legitimate governments. The left supported any anti-American government and opposed anything we did to stop a leftist government from aligning with the Soviets in this hemisphere. I have openly talked with people who think Castro is the world model and we are evil so spare me the platitudes. You can pick and choose specific items but overall the 5th column in this country hates the US and wants to see us fail. They opposed everything Reagan did just like they oppose everything Bush does. They protested taking out the Taliban. I mean, come on, were the Taliban a elected government to? To claim that the left has a monopoly on virtue is absurd.

Wrong
Ahhh but they did want the Commies to win. If not then why did they oppose Reagan at every turn but turn a blind eye to the Soviets? Did you ever oppose the Soviets?

The left struggled for liberty and democracy while the right struggled for capitalism and profit.
On occasion governments would democraticly elect governments which leaned to far to the left for our comfort. The left supported Democracy, while the right supported Capitalism. While these two principles often coincided, it wasn't always the case. Especially in south and central America.

We didn't overthrow democratic govenrments in places like Guatamala and Chile because democracy was at risk, they were overthrown because Capitalism in the form of corperate profits were at risk.

No, American liberals did not "want the commies to win."
And please get specific. Who was against Reagan having a summit with Gorbachev, for example? Who was in favor of the Russians cracking down on the Czechs? I wasn't.

Peace and Goodwill
The problem with the left is they think Peace only comes from goodwill and feelings. In fact, there are times when peace can be achieved only thru strength and victory. The left has wanted us to lose in Iraq from day one and has done everything in it's power to make us fail. Funny though how the democrats are backing away now that they are in charge isn't it? My guess is they are going to do what should have been done to win and then claim credit for it even though it was what Bush tried to do all along. This way they can wave the victory flags and get elected in 2008. The hypocrisy is astounding but not suprising.

Extreme Left no more representative of mainstream left than extreme Right representative of mainstre
To claim that left or right had a monopoly on virtue is absurd, that doesn't change the fact that the struggle for Liberty and Democracy is more virtuous than the struggle for Profit and Capitalism. Even when both struggles are working together against Tyranny.

I remember too: people disagreed with Reagan
That doesn't make them anti-American. Being against intervening to throw out elected governments because you don't like the way an election came out is not anti-American: it is faithful to American ideals.

>I have openly talked with people who think Castro is the world model and we are evil so spare me the platitudes.

Castro has killed far, far fewer people than governments in this hemisphere that we have supported. That doesn't make his government good (look at Americas Watch of Human Rights Watch to see what's wrong) but simply screaming "evil! evil!" and thinking that (for example) sending Elian home to his father is "anti-American" is loony.

>They protested taking out the Taliban. I

Who? The democrats in Congress? I don't think so.

Speaking of "feelings" - that's the Presidenet's speciality
We have a president who brags about government from feelings - from his gut instincts.

>The left has wanted us to lose in Iraq from day one and has done everything in it's power to make us fail.

Oh really??? What has the left done? Cut off money for the war? No. Voted against the war. A few, not most.

here's a thought: Why not tell us exactly what we should do to win, and why Democrats are the reason we haven't done it already.

Get a grip
First, this is utter BS. I mean, what do you base this claim on? The anti-capitalism line is cliche' . Second, so what is we favor Capitalism? What is wrong with it huh? I started a business in my spare bedroom and now live off it. What is wrong with that? Guess what? I make a profit (horrors). For that matter what do you mean by spreading Democracy? You mean spreading the socialist Democrat ideals or the notion of a Republic? You know, this notion of Republicanism needs clarity. The term Republican stems from the belief in a Republic as opposed to a Democracy. Now I know a lot of them have forgotten this but this was the original party. For that matter Capitalism is a economic model, what bearing does that have on the right? Because we favor free markets? Yes it does because the left favors centeral planning and market intervention. What a joke.

Come on
Geesh, whats with the capitalism stuff. Capitalism requires liberty to flourish. How can you claim one without the other? How can you have a free society and not free markets? How can you have liberty and not the free formation of capital? I think your confused. I think you are spouting the same anti-business rehtoric as the anti-Wal Mart crowd. Next time you dial your cell phone I suggest you consider which economic model brought it to you.

No
The thousands who clogged the streets when we invaded. They supported the Taliban by opposing action. I suspect they do not vote Republican either do they?

Bunk
Genuine goodwill isn't a bad place to start, however your wrong to assume that goodwill and empathy for fellow human beings precludes being strong and attaining victory.

I can't speak for the Left although I find myself there at the moment, I can speak for myself.

I did not want us to go to war in Iraq. Now that we are in Iraq I want us to win, no matter the cost. I'm pissed at Republicans first for leading us into this mess, second for being to stupid to understand what they were getting US into, and third for not doing whatever (everything in our power) it takes to win. If we'd have fought WW2 this way we would have lost there as well. Look around, we are not a country at war despite the hype.

GM in Germany, 1930s...
Capitalism requires law to flourish. It doesn't require liberty. Companies like GM did just fine in Germany under Hitler.

when we invaded Iraq, sure. But Afghanistan???
There were huge demonstrations against invading Iraq. And rightly so: That was a monumentally stupid decision. These were not anti-US demonstrations; they were anti-stupid mistake demonstrations.

There might have been some demonstrations over Afghanistan, but I don't remember them.

Speaking of which, note that lots of liberals supported arming guerillas fighting aginst the Russians in Afghanistan.

How about the NY TImes
The LA TImes, the Atlanta papers, NBC, CBS, CNN. Shall I continue? The endless harping about casualties and Vietnam. The endless analysis and talk of lsoing. Hell, the NY Times editorial Sunday is how we lost. They have opposed every single action we have taken, have they not? Oh, except Fox News maybe which of course is a right wing propaganda outlet.

Win, I say we push in more troops, clean some clocks and get the Iran border sealed. This means using force big time to get this over once and for all. This PC approach to the war has gotten us nowhere. Sadr also needs to vanish.

I agree
Yes, I agree with this 100%.

Ok
Capitalism requires a certian degree of free market, it doesn't require individual liberty or freedom. If you doubt me, jut take a look at Pinochets Chile.

Despite that I personally don't have a problem with a blend of Socialism and Capitalism that leans more toward Capitalism. Competition is a very good thing, so long as were not destroying our environement or creating a third world economy.

Yes it does
The flaw to your thinking is your only considering big business. Small businesses are capitalism to and they cannot thrive in places like WW2 Germany. They require personal freedom to take risk and choose ones path in life. Risk and liberty are friends. The problem today is people expect a risk free society so they ban trans-fats and mandate helemets. There is no such thing as a risk free free society. That is why so few today cheerish freedom or even really know what it means. Why else would states and cities be regulating all sorts of things they have no business regulating? You can't even ride in the back of a truck anymore because it is to dangerous. When I grew up that was part of the fun. Now we are all expected to sit and watch TV and shop for crap we don't need.

I see. You think the press shouldn't report bad news.
So your idea is that the war would be a big success if only nobody had written anything that wasn't positive??

>Win, I say we push in more troops,
From where? We don't have any more to send.

>clean some clocks
whose? How do we identify them? How do we find them?

>and get the Iran border sealed.
Sure. As tight as our border with Mexico.

>This PC approach to the war has gotten us nowhere.
PC? How? you mean we haven't bombed Baghdad to the ground? How would that help us create a stable democracy -- that's what we said we were going to do, right?

Hahha
So you think the LA TImes and the NY Times have been impartial? This is futile.

No we did not bomb it ot the ground. You asked and I told you. See , once again you only consider failure. No option is viable. Every idea is bad except withdrawl. Ok, well your guys are in charge so lets get out. Yes we have more troops. This whole thing is insane. There are several million men in the military. Are you trying to tell me that 120,000 is all the men we have? Fort Hood Texas has 43000 alone. Yes, seal the border. In fact, I favor the fence here but then we could bring in thousands of new democrats every day could we...

Take Charge
It's not a PC approach to the war, it's a calculated political approach that is the wrong way to fight this war or any other.

I'm not for "vanishing" people I'm for laying down the law and then enforcing it. Yes, that means assuming control of security once again instead of trying to play cooperative games with the Iraqi government.

Governments that "vanish" people need to be "vanished" themselves.

Vanish was a term
I used a figure of speech. He needs to be taken out of power. He is causing all sorts of problems. Yes, we politically waged Vietnam and it cost us dearly.

I agree
I also think Clinton was a bumbling fool only interested in himself. He was the party president. He was a disgrace. So am I anti-american?

Please back up what you say
You say this:

>Small businesses are capitalism to and they cannot thrive in places like WW2 Germany

In fact, they did just fine. Lots of small businessmen got rich by taking over small businesses that have been owned by Jews. Others did startup. Lots of busineses medium sized and larger didn't have unions to worry about.

If you don't like regulation, I advise you to go elect people who will repeal these law. However argue on the merits and don't call (for example) safety regulations "unAmerican."

Impartiality is not the issue
The question is what the facts are on the ground. And the journalism isn't changing those facts. Murder isn't going up and power supply going down because of the LA Times. The five mile stretch from the airport to the Green zone is too dangerous to drive years after "Mission Accomplished" because of the the NY Times wrote or didn't write.

>No option is viable. Every idea is bad except withdrawl
You haven't offered any specific option, except seal the (Iran) border and more troop.s In fact, we can't even seal the Mexico border.

>Yes we have more troops. This whole thing is insane. There are several million men in the military.

we have 1.4 million active duty, 500,000 in the Army, 180,000 in the Marines. Just to keep at 150,000 in Iraq we have to call and overcall the reserves. McCain has called for more troops. Read what the reaction from the Army was. Or are you talking about reinstating the draft?

Absolutely not
I'm not going to call you anti-American because you have a low opinion of Clinton.

nobody said they were
the communists were doing what they always do. Killing everyone who got in the way of their run to power.

The US was honoring it's constitution and ideals.

As to nobody wanting the communists to win, are you delusional? Don't you remember the dear commandante letter?

Or there's the recent revelations of letters from major Democratic leaders (including Ted "hic" Kennedy) to both Gorbachev and Castro, offering advice and help in undermining Reagan.

judge them by what they did, not by their apologists lies.
...

the left supported communists. Communists never support democracy or liberty.
You should really read what Allende and the other communists were saying before you make such blanket, and wrong, statements.

the struggle for capitalism is the struggle for liberty.
The extreme left is the left of today.

free markets can't exist without liberty.
If you think that Pinochets Chile had much in the way of free markets, then you are pretty delusional.

since when has the left ever supported peace or goodwill?
...

I see you have no facts at all to offer, just a one-line accusation
And that's been your stock and trade forever.

facts are there for all to see. As are your lies.
And what facts have you offered?
Just blatant lies and disproven assertions.

Huh?
What are you talking about? Regulations? i was refering to centeral planning economies like Cuba. Taking over businesses owned by the Jews is not what I would exactly call free market capitalism.. As to unions, so what. WHo cares about unions? They have long outlived their usefulness.

Democracy...what does it mean?...
This is a good moment to review the practical application of the democratic political process to the selection of the leaders of government.

In our case (in the US) we have a two-party system that seeks to embrace both sides of any politically salient issue by (almost arbitrarily) dividing on the issue. Significant third parties who champion particular points of view are absorbed as a radical wing by one of the two major parties once their issues attract enough voters to be useful.

When third parties in American politics actually gain traction, they are denegrated for harming the election of candidates from the major parties. When Ralph Nader runs as a Green Party candidate the Democrats complain that he takes votes away from their guy and that he thereby helps the enemy. When the Libertarians get votes the Republicans make the same accusation that their friends have actually helped the big-government Democrats.

If Ronald Reagan was the classic no-nonsense Republican and Jeane Kirkpatrick was one of our tough-minded Democrats how could it be that they worked so well together? It must be that regarding the fundamentals they were both moderates and of a similar mind.

We want to be led by the best person for the job, from whichever of the two major parties and we vote for that personality. Such politicians are almost indistinguishable regarding the basic issues of government. In competitive contests the two candidates must appeal to the same undecided, independent, swing voters to actually get themselves elected. In that sense the candidates must both look good to the moderates regarding the centrist issues that the moderates care about.

The Congress is the heart of our democratic process and sometimes very little gets accomplished there in spite of the fact that it is dominated by moderates. Their lawmaking tasks often degenerate into those of a debating society.

The Executive, however, does not behave in a democratic manner once he is in office. The Administration is strictly hierarchical. It is only elections and the legislature that might seem democratic. Day to day government and the enforcement of laws are not.

Our corporate entities are not managed in a democratic manner. That would lead to anarchy as the various business disciplines (operations, marketing and finance) have conflicting agendas. The Chief Executive must balance the interests of each portfolio to achieve the desired outcome for the organization. Why do we think that a democracy should lead to strong, superior government? Indeed, we don't. Nations with pure democracies tend to have weak, ineffective governments. Yet we promote democracy all over the world knowing that it often leads to what we like to call "banana republics" or worse.

We need to let nations like Iraq work out their own form of government and only insist that they should respect the sovereignty of their neighbors. Nations are no longer allowed to practice military imperialism and annex each other. Indeed, the continued imposition of our decision-making on the sovereign government of Iraq is leading us to the edge of a very slippery slope with our hands firmly embedded in the Iraqi tar baby.

Right
Yeah, like the LA TImes would report anything positive about Iraq or Bush? Please, they are not objective and to claim so is sophestry. It has to do with the errosion of support here. They have pontificated failure and defeat from day one. This is laughable. If you want to see the national media at work just read a article about Ginrich in 1994 and compare this to a 2006 article about Pelosi. One is vile hatred, the other pre-orgasmic glee. The bias is nausiating.

The facts are there for all to see - but noone ever sees them in one of your posts
All you do is make noise. And call other people liars while making things up.

You're talking abotu one almost certain forged KGB letter that surfaces from nowhere...
... in a book by a confirmed rabid democrat hater.

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