Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, a onetime Democrat who switched to the Republican Party and became a heroine of conservatives, has died. She was 80.
Yet it was an essay written for Commentary magazine in 1979, "Dictatorships and Double Standards," that launched her into the political limelight. In the article, Kirkpatrick chronicled the failures of the Carter administration's foreign policy and argued for a clearer understanding of the American national interest. Her essay matched then-governor Ronald Reagan's instincts and convictions, and when he became president, he appointed her to represent the United States at the United Nations. Ambassador Kirkpatrick was a member of the president's cabinet and the National Security Council. The United States has lost a great patriot and champion of freedom, and AEI mourns our beloved colleague.
Here's a good, old piece of hers, from 2003:
The absence of prerequisites for membership has created a United Nations Commission on Human Rights in which many of the world's worst human rights abusers sit in judgment on governments that have long institutionalized the rule of law and respect for individual rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Human Rights Commission recently met in Geneva for six weeks to discuss, debate and decide issues concerning "the situation of human rights in the world." Since no standards exist, Libya was permitted to hold the chair, which resulted in a commission filled with an assortment of world-class rights abusers, including Syria, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
Occasionally the discussions at the commission illuminate problems that exist in the world. More often they reflect the balance of power that exists within the United Nations.
Last year the United States, a founding member, was denied a seat and a vote on the Human Rights Commission and was replaced by Syria. All manner of explanations were offered to account for this anomaly, but it came down to the fact that not enough members of the commission had voted for a U.S. presence.
This year, however, the United States received the votes necessary for re-election for a three-year term, presumably because the U.S. delegation, which I headed, did more energetic lobbying and our colleagues understood that the United States might withdraw its membership in the commission if the trend toward defeating democratic governments and preferring dictatorships persisted.
A wise, tough lady.
Update: Darleen Click quotes Kirkpatrick's "Blame America First" speech from the 1984 GOP Convention. Good stuff.
"Jeane Kirkpatrick was a true Cold Warrior, and her contribution to the fall of the Soviet Empire will forever be remembered," said Hensarling. "We would be wise to look back upon her life and career and learn from her experiences, particularly her reflections on the United Nations.