Former Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, one of the most admired women in the world, passed away in December at the age of 80, leaving a huge vacuum in our hearts and minds. Her posthumously published book, "Making War to Keep Peace" (Harper Collins, $26.95), released April 24, brings her ideas to life.
The book is devoted to her foreign policy experiences and reflections from 1981 to 2006. Jeane had a way of providing and applying a clear worldview for debating, discussing and deciding U.S. foreign policy in a complex and complicated world.
Kirkpatrick's friends and colleagues, from William F. Buckley and George P. Schultz, to Edwin Meese and Ed J. Feulner, to Richard V. Allen and Alan Gerson, are helping review, publicize and promote her incredible experiences and prescient views about the future. She envisioned a future of democracy, freedom, stability, and principled leadership undergirded by wise U.S. policies from the departments of State and Defense.
"Making War to Keep Peace" is the book's provocative title, made particularly ironic in my thinking because Kirkpatrick was primarily responsible for that great aphorism of "peace through strength," which became the hallmark of President Ronald W. Reagan's views on foreign policy that she so vigorously defended during her years at the United Nations.
Jeane was never one to shrink from a critic and already there are detractors. David Corn in the "left-leaning" magazine The Nation takes a rather gratuitous slap at the Bush-Cheney administration. Corn quotes from the book, "I was privately critical of the Bush administration's argument for the use of military force for pre-emptive self-defense," and "that the war - with respect to bringing democracy to Iraqis - did more harm than good." Corn then concludes, "It's stunning criticism from a hawk who for over two decades has been a guiding light for the neocons, who cheerleaded the nation to war in Iraq. In her book, she contends that the invasion has so far been counterproductive." While Jeane was a quiet critic of the war, she was a loyal diplomat until the end and never was a cheerleader for the neocons.
Corn also writes, "She does not say where and to whom she voiced her misgivings - if she did." I can only add that in my private talks with Kirkpatrick over the years since we co-founded Empower America with Vin Weber, Bill Bennett, Michael Novak and Ted Forstmann, she never put her own private views above those or whom were responsible for making the very difficult decisions required of presidents, then and now.