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Jeane Kirkpatrick and Ronald Reagan's Foreign Policy


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#1 John Simkin

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:22 PM

Jeane Kirkpatrick died last week. It is not generally known that Kirkpatrick was behind Reagan's covert and illegal foreign policy.

In 1962 Jeane Kirkpatrick became professor of political science at Georgetown University. She contributed to a large number of journals on the theme of communist subversion. Although she was a member of the Democratic Party she continued to hold extreme right-wing views. In response to the campaigns of George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Kirkpatrick helped establish the Coalition for a Democratic Majority. Kirkpatrick later stated that the purpose of this organization was to "reclaim the party from its anti-war, anti-growth and anti-business activists".

Kirkpatrick supported the nomination of Henry Jackson as the 1976 Democratic candidate. She was appalled when Jimmy Carter won the nomination. Over the next few years she emerged as Carter's main critics. Kirkpatrick argued strongly against the president's emphasis on civil rights.

In 1979 Kirkpatrick wrote an article for Commentary, a publication backed by the American Jewish Committee. Entitled Dictatorships and Double Standards, it argued that right-wing “authoritarian” governments, such as those in Argentina, Chile and South Africa, suited American interests better than left-wing regimes. She criticised the emphasis placed on human rights by Jimmy Carter and blamed it for undermining right-wing governments in Nicaragua and Iran. She went onto argue that right-wing dictatorships were reliably pro-American. She therefore proposed that the US government should treat authoritarian regimes much more favourably than other third world governments. Kirkpatrick added: "liberal idealism need not be identical with masochism and need not be incompatible with the defence of freedom and the national interest".

Richard V. Allen, who was working as chief foreign policy adviser to Ronald Reagan, showed him the article. Reagan wrote to Kirkpatrick, where he told her it was the best article he had ever read on the subject. Soon afterwards, Kirkpatrick became one of Reagan's political advisors.

During the 1980 presidential campaign Ronald Reagan was informed that Jimmy Carter was attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran to get the American hostages released. This was disastrous news for the Reagan campaign. If Carter got the hostages out before the election, the public perception of the man might change and he might be elected for a second-term. As Michael K. Deaver later told the New York Times: "One of the things we had concluded early on was that a Reagan victory would be nearly impossible if the hostages were released before the election... There is no doubt in my mind that the euphoria of a hostage release would have rolled over the land like a tidal wave. Carter would have been a hero, and many of the complaints against him forgotten. He would have won."

According to Barbara Honegger, a researcher and policy analyst with the 1980 Reagan/Bush campaign, William J. Casey and other representatives of the Reagan presidential campaign made a deal at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until Carter was defeated.

On 22nd September, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. The Iranian government was now in desperate need of spare parts and equipment for its armed forces. Jimmy Carter proposed that the US would be willing to hand over supplies in return for the hostages.

Once again, the Central Intelligence Agency leaked this information to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. This attempted deal was also passed to the media. On 11th October, the Washington Post reported rumors of a “secret deal that would see the hostages released in exchange for the American made military spare parts Iran needs to continue its fight against Iraq”.

A couple of days before the election Barry Goldwater was reported as saying that he had information that “two air force C-5 transports were being loaded with spare parts for Iran”. This was not true. However, this publicity had made it impossible for Carter to do a deal. Ronald Reagan on the other hand, had promised the Iranian government that he would arrange for them to get all the arms they needed in exchange for the hostages.

In the election Ronald Reagan easily defeated Jimmy Carter by 44 million votes to 35 million. The Republican Party also won control of the Senate for the first time in 26 years. According to Mansur Rafizadeh, the former U.S. station chief of SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, CIA agents had persuaded Khomeini not to release the American hostages until Reagan was sworn in. In fact, they were released twenty minutes after his inaugural address.

Reagan appointed William J. Casey as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this position he was able to arrange the delivery of arms to Iran. These were delivered via Israel. By the end of 1982 all Regan’s promises to Iran had been made. With the deal completed, Iran was free to resort to acts of terrorism against the United States. In 1983, Iranian-backed terrorists blew up 241 marines in the CIA Middle-East headquarters.

Reagan also appointed Kirkpatrick as the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Within months of taking office, Kirkpatrick accused Costa Rica, the most stable democracy in Central America, of communist subversion. President Carazo Odio responded by accusing Kirkpatrick of spreading lies about his country.

After his election as president, Ronald Reagan, appointed Michael Deaver as Deputy White House Chief of Staff under James Baker III. He took up his post in January 1981. Soon afterwards, Deaver's clients, Guatemala, Taiwan and Argentina, began to receive their payback. On 19th March, 1981, Reagan asked Congress to lift the embargo on arms sales to Argentina. General Roberto Viola, one of the junta members responsible for the death squads, was invited to Washington. In return, the Argentine government agreed to expand its support and training for the Contras. According to John Ranelagh (The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA): "Aid and training were provided to the Contras through the Argentinean defence forces in exchange for other forms of aid from the U.S. to Argentina."

Reagan had more difficulty persuading Congress to provide arms to Guatemala. During a 4th May, 1981, session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it was announced that the Guatemalan death squads had murdered 76 leaders of the moderate Christian Democratic Party including its leader, Alberto Fuentes Mohr. As Peter Dale Scott pointed out in the Iran-Contra Connection: "When Congress balked at certifying that Guatemala was not violating human rights, the administration acted unilaterally, by simply taking the items Guatemala wanted off the restricted list."

Reagan and Deaver also helped Guatemala in other ways. Alejandro Dabat and Luis Lorenzano (Argentina: The Malvinas and the End of Military Rule) pointed out that the Ronald Reagan administration arranged for "the training of more than 200 Guatemalan officers in interrogation techniques (torture) and repressive methods".

In early 1981, Leopoldo Galtieri visited the United States and was warmly received by members of the Ronald Reagan administration. Richard V. Allen, who Reagan had appointed as his National Security Advisor, described Galtiera as a "majestic general." With the help of the CIA, Galtieri overthrew President Roberto Viola in December 1981. Galtieri attempted to improve the economy by cutting public spending and selling off government-owned industries. He also imposed a pay freeze. These policies were unpopular and demonstrations took place demanding a return to democracy.

Despite the support of the Reagan administration, Galtieri, faced the possibility of being ousted from power. He therefore decided to gain public support by appealing to nationalist sentiment. In April, 1982, Galtieri's forces invaded the weakly-defended British Falkland Islands and he declared the "Malvinas" a province of Argentina. The anti-junta demonstrations were replaced by patriotic demonstrations in support of Galtieri.

Margaret Thatcher appealled to Ronald Reagan for help in removing Galtieri from the Falklands. This caused problems for Reagan as Galtieri was seen as a key aspect of the foreign policy advocated by Kirkpatrick and Richard V. Allen. Kirkpatrick argued that America should not jeopardise relations with Latin America by backing Britain. She later explained that "I thought a policy of neutrality in that war made sense from the point of view of US interests".

However, in reality, Kirkpatrick was not arguing for neutralitry. According to The Times newspaper: "Only hours after the 1982 invasion of the Falklands she notoriously attended as guest of honour a reception at the Argentine Embassy in Washington. She then went on television to assert that if the islands rightly belonged to Argentina its action could not be considered as “armed aggression”.

Reagan's Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, took the side of the British government. He argued that Kirkpatrick was “mentally and emotionally incapable of thinking clearly on this issue because of her close links with the Latins”. Reagan forced Haig to resign on 25th June, 1982. He later complaining that his attempts to help Britain in its conflict with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, was being undermined by Kirkpatrick and some above her in the White House. In his book, Gambling With History: Ronald Reagan in the White House, Laurence I. Barrett argued that this person from the White House was Michael K. Deaver: "At an NSC session... Haig had observed Kirkpatrick passing Deaver a note. Concluding that Kirkpatrick was using Deaver to prime Reagan... Haig told Clark that a 'conspiracy' was afoot to outflank him."

Reagan eventually rejected Kirkpatrick's advice and as The Times pointed out: "Had Kirkpatrick prevailed, Britain would have been deprived of American fuel, Sidewinder missiles and other arms, and the vital US satellite intelligence that enabled it to win the war. And Galtieri and his junta would not have been replaced by a freely elected government."

Kirkpatrick, a strong supporter of the Domino Theory, warned that Cuba was the "launch pad for communist subversion of the region". Despite her views, Reagan refused to take military action againt Cuba but he did order the invasion of Grenada in October, 1983.

Reagan wanted to appoint Kirkpatrick as his National Security Advisor. However, Reagan's new Secretary of State, George Shultz, threaten to resign if she was appointed.

#2 John Simkin

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 01:34 PM

Editorial in today's Los Angeles Times:

http://www.latimes.c...pinion-leftrail

It's a coincidence that Jeane Kirkpatrick, the astringent U.S. envoy to the United Nations in the 1980s, and former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet died only a few days apart. But in death as in life, the two are associated with a political theory that defined the early days of the neoconservative movement in the United States. Unfortunately for Kirkpatrick, its author, the theory proved to be dead wrong.

The idea was that right-wing authoritarian governments were much better bets for conversion to democracy than left-wing totalitarian ones. This is how Kirkpatrick put it in "Dictatorships and Double Standards," the influential 1979 essay in Commentary magazine that brought her to the attention of Ronald Reagan.

"Although there is no instance of a revolutionary socialist or communist society being democratized, right-wing autocracies do sometimes evolve into democracies — given time, propitious economic, social and political circumstances, talented leaders and a strong indigenous demand for representative government." Kirkpatrick's article, which focused on the Carter administration's policy toward Iran under the shah and Nicaragua under Anastasio Somoza, made some valid points about the differences between Marxist and traditional authoritarian societies. But the article — and Kirkpatrick — are remembered most for the suggestion that dictatorships of the right (especially those friendly to the United States) offered more fertile ground for democratization than dictatorships of the left.

Chile, where the murderous Pinochet eventually relinquished much of his power after a 1988 referendum, seemed to vindicate the Kirkpatrick doctrine. But then came the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of more democratic governments not only in the formerly captive states of Hungary and Czechoslovakia but also in Russia. And as China has shown, spectacularly, Marxist states can turn capitalist in a hurry, though political freedoms may still lag.

Like other reductionist theories, the Kirkpatrick doctrine ran up against the wisdom of H.L. Mencken's observation that "for every problem, there is a solution that is simple, clean and wrong."


#3 John Simkin

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 01:36 PM

Her husband Evron Kirkpatrick had an interesting background. This is what SourceWatch has to say about him:

http://www.sourcewat...ron_Kirkpatrick

"Evron Kirkpatrick held a number of positions in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, from 1945 to 1954. He participated in top secret CIA meetings in 1952 with then-CIA Director General Walter Bedell Smith and others to plan a domestic "national psychological warfare program" as a part of the U.S. cold war strategy. He is married to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick. Evron Kirkpatrick, according to author Sara Diamond, was a part of Operation Bloodstone, a covert project to bring Nazi war criminals into U.S. intelligence operations." [1]

In 1989 Evron was a director of the United States Institute of Peace. [2]

"Evron Kirkpatrick, who died in 1995, also led a noted career in academia and public service, teaching at the University of Minnesota, Howard and Georgetown universities, and, from 1954 until his retirement in 1981, serving as executive director of the American Political Science Association (APSA). He fostered the organization's growth from about 7,000 to more than 15,000 members and endeavored to keep it from becoming politicized. In 1981 he became a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. His publications include Foundation of Political Science (1970) and The Past and Future of Presidential Debates (1979). He wrote on the development of the world communist movement as well.

"Evron Kirkpatrick received bachelor's and master's degrees in political science from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in political science from Yale." [3]

In 1985 he was "President of the Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He holds a doctorate from Yale. He is still a registered Democrat, not yet having followed his spouse into the G.O.P. He also serves on an advisory committee to U.S.I.A." [4]


This is Namebase entry for Evron Kirkpatrick:

http://www.namebase....irkpatrick.html

Bellant,R. Old Nazis. 1989 (67)
Blumenthal,S. Rise of the Counter-Establishment. 1988 (126)
Chester,E. Covert Network. 1995 (76-7)
CounterSpy 1981-04 (20)
CounterSpy 1982-04 (58)
CounterSpy 1982-06 (7)
CounterSpy 1983-08 (14)
Covert Action Information Bulletin 1982-#16 (28-9)
Covert Action Information Bulletin 1989-#31 (59-60)
Diamond,S. Compromised Campus. 1992 (98, 100, 103, 107-8)
Diamond,S. Spiritual Warfare. 1989 (159)
Domhoff,G.W. The Higher Circles. 1971 (270)
Herman,E. O'Sullivan,G. The Terrorism Industry. 1989 (123, 164)
Jeffreys-Jones,R. The CIA and American Democracy. 1989 (158-9)
Mader,J. Who's Who in CIA. 1968
Nair,K. Devil and His Dart. 1986 (101)
Parakal,P. Secret Wars of CIA. 1984 (10)
Parapolitics/USA 1981-05-30 (4)
Resource Center. GroupWatch 1990-USIP (1, 3)
Saloma,J. Ominous Politics. 1984 (9)
Simpson,C. Blowback. 1988 (109-10, 288)
Smith,R.H. OSS. 1981 (13, 164)
Soley,L. Leasing the Ivory Tower. 1995 (77)
Washington Post 1986-03-08 (A23)
Washington Times 1988-06-02 (E2)
Washington Times 1995-04-27 (A4)
Wise,D. Ross,T. The Espionage Establishment. 1967 (153)
Z Magazine 1990-08 (112)

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 08:35 AM

In response to the campaigns of George McGovern and Eugene McCarthy, Jeane Kirkpatrick helped establish the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM). Kirkpatrick later stated that the purpose of this organization was to "reclaim the party from its anti-war, anti-growth and anti-business activists". The group included Neoconservatives such as Midge Decter, Irving Kristol, Max Kampelman and Norman Podhoretz.

Members of the CDM went on to form the Project of the New American Century (PNAC) in 1997. This group included Richard Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeb Bush, Ellen Bork, Dick Cheney, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Midge Decter, Irving Kristol, Max Kampelman, Norman Podhoretz and Paul Wolfowitz.

In September 2000, the PNAC issued a 90-page report entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, And Resources For A New Century, proceeding "from the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces."

The report recommended the forward redeployment of US forces at new strategically placed permanent military bases in Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia. Permanent bases ease the strain on US forces, allowing readiness to be maintained and the carrier fleet to be reduced. Furthermore, PNAC advocates that the US-globalized military should be enlarged, equipped and restructured for the "constabulary" roles associated with shaping the security in critical regions of the world.

The report states that "while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification (for US military presence), the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein" and "Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region".

In Chapter V, entitled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force" it states: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor." It is this quote that is used to suggest that the US government was complicit in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many critics also claim the PNAC believed this "new Pearl Harbor" would justify war on Iraq.

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 12:08 PM

We should not forget Kirkpatrick was a key figure in Reagan's covert activities. As Tim Weiner points out in the New York Times on 8th December, 2006.

Ms. Kirkpatrick was the first American woman to serve as U.N. Ambassador. She was the only woman - and the only Democrat - in President Reagan’s National Security Council. And no woman had ever been so close to the center of presidential power without actually residing in the White House.

“When she put her feet under the desk of the Oval Office, the President listened,” said William P. Clark, Mr. Reagan’s national security adviser during 1982 and 1983. “And he usually agreed with her.”

President Reagan brought her into his innermost foreign-policy circle, the National Security Planning Group, which convened in the White House Situation Room. In dozens of meetings with the President, Vice President George H.W. Bush, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Ms. Kirkpatrick weighed the risks and rewards of clandestine warfare in Central America, covert operations against Libya, the disastrous deployment of American marines in Lebanon, the invasion of Grenada and support for rebel forces in Afghanistan.

Though that work took place in secret, she became a national political figure. In November 1983, The New York Times opinion columnist William Safire called her “the hottest hawk on the Republican lecture trail, the most respected neoconservative voice on the Sunday panel shows, and the only woman who could today be considered as a serious possibility for President.” She was a star performer at the 1984 Republican national convention, deriding the Democrats as the “blame America first” party...

At the United Nations, she defended Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. She argued for El Salvador’s right-wing junta and against Nicaragua’s left-wing ruling council, the Sandinistas. In private, she supported American efforts to sustain the contras, the rebel group that tried to overthrow the Sandinistas with help from the C.I.A. She was a key participant in a March 1981 National Security Planning Group meeting that produced a $19 million covert action plan to make the contras a fighting force.


#6 John Simkin

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 12:49 PM

http://www.wsws.org/.../kirk-d12.shtml

Jeane Kirkpatrick: from “social democrat” to champion of death squads
By Bill Van Auken
12 December 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick, the acerbic right-wing former US ambassador to the United Nations, died December 7 at the age of 80.

Having begun her politically conscious life as a self-described socialist, Kirkpatrick ended up an advocate and apologist for military dictators, right-wing death squads and CIA-backed terrorists.

She gained national prominence as both UN ambassador and a prominent foreign policy advisor and spokesperson for the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan, on whose National Security Council she served as the only woman and the only Democratic Party member.

Her deliberately cultivated image at the UN was that of an American chauvinist bully, unashamedly threatening smaller nations with the cutoff of American aid and even military aggression if they failed to toe Washington’s line. She was equally unabashed about defending the crimes of America’s anticommunist allies, from the mass killings and torture carried out by Latin American military regimes, to Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the South African apartheid regime’s use of force against both neighboring African states as well as its own oppressed black majority.

Kirkpatrick’s entree into the inner circle of the Reagan administration came as a result of her scathing criticism of the Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter, whose election she had supported in 1976.

Then a political science professor at Georgetown University and member of the American Enterprise Institute, the right-wing think tank from which some 50 members of the incoming Reagan administration were drawn, Kirkpatrick blamed the Carter administration’s rather tepid advocacy of human rights—a foreign policy ploy aimed at forestalling revolution—for the 1979 overthrow of the US-backed Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua and that of the Shah in Iran.

In an essay written that year for the neoconservative magazine Commentary entitled “Dictatorships and double standards,” she denounced Carter for failing to prop up Somoza and the Shah, both of whom were responsible for massacring thousands in their efforts to remain in power:

“The rise of violent opposition in Iran and Nicaragua set in motion a succession of events which bore a suggestive resemblance to one another and a suggestive similarity to our behavior in China before the fall of Chiang Kai-shek, in Cuba before the triumph of Castro, in certain crucial periods of the Vietnam War, and more recently in Angola. In each of these periods, the American effort to impose liberalization and democratization on a government confronted with violent internal opposition not only failed, but actually assisted the coming to power of new regimes in which ordinary people enjoy fewer freedoms and less personal security than under the previous autocracy—regimes, moreover, hostile to American interests and policies.”

The policy implications of Kirkpatrick’s thesis were unmistakable. Washington should seek to keep in power right-wing dictatorships, so long as they suppressed the threat of revolution and supported “American interests and policies.” Moreover, the limits placed by the Carter administration on relations with regimes that had carried out wholesale political killings and torture, as in Chile and Argentina, for example, should be cast aside.

Reagan and his advisors were reportedly impressed with this line of argument and recruited Kirkpatrick’s support in the 1980 election. She subsequently became part of the incoming administration’s foreign policy advisory team, where she developed the argument that the US was confronting a “domino effect” in Central America that threatened it with being “surrounded by Soviet bases on our southeastern and southern flanks.”

Once the administration took office, Kirkpatrick became a leading advocate and architect of a policy of intervention in Central America that embraced robust US backing for dictatorships that massacred hundreds of thousands in an attempt to suppress revolutionary movements in El Salvador and Guatemala as well as an illegal CIA-funded war of terror against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua.

Likewise, she backed the 1983 US invasion of Grenada, the bombing of Libya and the multimillion-dollar support for Islamist guerrillas—Osama bin Laden among them—battling the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan.

This policy became more generally known as the “Reagan doctrine,” which represented a shift from the “containment” policy adopted by the Truman administration toward the “roll-back” strategy advocated within right-wing Republican circles since the 1950s. A National Security Directive issue in 1983 declared that Washington would “contain and over time reverse Soviet expansionism,” and that it would back “Third World states that are willing to resist Soviet pressures or oppose Soviet initiatives hostile to the United States.”

This explosive development of American militarism represented a conscious attempt by the most ruthless sections of the US ruling establishment to reverse the defeat suffered in Vietnam and reassert imperialist interests in the oppressed countries through naked force. It coincided, however, with the economic decline of American capitalism, with the US being turned for the first time into a debtor nation, rather than the world’s principal creditor, in 1985.

Kirkpatrick participated in the discussions that gave rise to the so-called Iran-contra scandal, a covert operation that funneled millions of dollars in aid—in defiance of a Congressional resolution barring such funding—to the CIA-trained mercenary army attacking Nicaragua.

Though she left the administration before Congressional investigations led to resignations and criminal indictments against leading officials, she was clearly implicated as well.

In its obituary on the former UN ambassador, the New York Times cited her statement in favor of the covert funding, “We should make the maximum effort to find the money.”

During the same meeting, the Times noted, Secretary of State George Shultz commented that the contra-funding scheme constituted “an impeachable offense,” while Reagan himself warned that if news of their decisions leaked to the press, “we’ll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of the White House.”

This exchange is itself a measure of how much further to the right the government has moved in the intervening two decades, with the Bush administration openly launching illegal wars and flouting laws passed by Congress.

The limits of Kirkpatrick’s influence within the administration—as well as of her own geopolitical conceptions—made themselves clear during the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.

Based on her close relationship with the military dictatorship in Buenos Aires, Kirkpatrick attempted to shift Washington’s policy in favor of Argentina, maintaining that the country had a right to claim sovereignty over the islands.

Both Secretary of State Alexander Haig and Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, however, opposed her views and demanded that Washington stand with the government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a position more consistent with the global drive to reassert the unfettered domination of imperialism in the oppressed countries. US aid, including arms and satellite intelligence, proved crucial to the subsequent British victory.

Haig, whose position prevailed, subsequently commented that Kirkpatrick was “mentally and emotionally incapable of thinking clearly on this issue because of her close links with the Latins.”

Having completed her four-year term as ambassador to the UN, Kirkpatrick was proposed for both secretary of state and National Security Advisor, but was rejected for both posts and left the administration. She formally changed her party affiliation to Republican in 1985 and was briefly touted as a possible presidential candidate for the 1988 election. She remained over the course of the past 20 years a propagandist for the Republican right.

Kirkpatrick’s political development followed a path worn by a generation of intellectuals who, while initially attracted to the ideals of socialism, had no genuine association with the working class or confidence in its revolutionary capacities and bowed before the anticommunist onslaught of the American political establishment.

In 2002, Kirkpatrick explained her own early attraction to socialism while participating in a forum with other former members of the Young People’s Socialist League (YPSL) and the Social Democrats USA, including figures ranging from Sandra Feldman, president of the American Federation of Teachers to Marshall Wittman, the former spokesman for the Christian Coalition.

She recounted that her introduction to the ideas of socialism came from her grandfather in Oklahoma: “My grandfather explained socialism to me as a very small child as a system that was more fair than other systems, and more fair than the system we had in Oklahoma at that time. I hadn’t the slightest notion what system we had in Oklahoma, I might say. But my grandfather did, and I was prepared to take his word for it. The distribution of everything, he said, was more fair. It sounded good to me.”

She explained that years later, as a college student in Missouri in the mid-1940s, she joined the YPSL and, as a graduate student, studied under the German social democratic émigré and member of the Frankfurt School, Franz Neumann.

Kirkpatrick said that her own subsequent evolution away from socialism was grounded on the conviction that it is impossible to “change human nature,” the most commonplace bourgeois cliché utilized to justify everything from sweatshop exploitation to wars of aggression.

Nonetheless, she adds, “I was an active Democrat.” She continued: “At the same time I was studying German social democracy, I formed the view that the New Deal and its various forms, the Fair Deal and Hubert Humphrey’s style of democratic politics, was of the same sort of species as German social democracy. I still believe that, somewhat.”

Prominent among the figures within this layer of right-wing American social democrats was Max Shachtman, who was to have an influence on Kirkpatrick and others who became identified with the neo-conservative movement.

A founder of the American Trotskyist movement, Shachtman broke with Trotsky in 1940. Under the pressure of public opinion generated by approaching war and in particular the Stalin-Hitler pact, he and a petty-bourgeois layer within the movement, then the Socialist Workers Party, rejected the defense of the Soviet Union against imperialism and developed the position that a new form of exploitative class society had arisen in the USSR.

From an opponent of Stalinism from the left—from the standpoint of socialist internationalism—Shachtman became an opponent from the right—from the standpoint of US imperialism—a position that he consummated 10 years later with his public support for US imperialism’s war against Korea. Over the course of the next two decades, Shachtman moved steadily to the right, adopting positions of extreme anti-communism and acting as an advisor to the AFL-CIO labor bureaucracy. Meanwhile, he dissolved his organization—as well his politics—into the right-wing remnants of social democracy, ultimately ending up in the Social Democrats USA, with which Kirkpatrick was herself once affiliated.

This organization and its supporters were oriented toward a bitter factional struggle within the Democratic Party that was directed against the influence of the movement against the Vietnam War, expressed in the 1972 presidential candidacy of George McGovern.

Kirkpatrick participated—together with a number of ex-Shachtmanites—in the Committee for a Democratic Majority (CDM), a right-wing coalition founded by Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson of Washington, who was a leading Democratic advocate of an aggressive US military buildup against the Soviet Union.

The AFL-CIO bureaucracy was also an active supporter of this organization. Included on the CDM’s board of directors was American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker, who was also a vice president of the AFL-CIO, along with several other national union leaders.

The ideological affinity between the likes of Kirkpatrick and the union bureaucracy was to find concrete expression in the bureaucracy’s collaboration with the Reagan administration’s bloody repression in Central America through the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), a CIA labor front.

Moreover, the virulent anti-communism that the AFL-CIO hierarchy shared with Kirkpatrick made it a willing accomplice in the drive by the Reagan administration to suppress the militancy of the American working class and begin a vast transfer of wealth upward to the corporate and financial elite. This was inaugurated in the 1981 government breaking of the air traffic controllers’ strike—unopposed by the bureaucracy—and a subsequent wave of union busting that swept the country, decimating the ranks of the unions and driving down the wages and conditions of American workers.


#7 John Simkin

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 01:03 PM

You can find my page on Jeane Kirkpatrick here:

http://www.spartacus...kirkpatrick.htm

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 04:45 PM

In September 2000, the PNAC issued a 90-page report entitled Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, And Resources For A New Century, proceeding "from the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces."

The report recommended the forward redeployment of US forces at new strategically placed permanent military bases in Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia. Permanent bases ease the strain on US forces, allowing readiness to be maintained and the carrier fleet to be reduced. Furthermore, PNAC advocates that the US-globalized military should be enlarged, equipped and restructured for the "constabulary" roles associated with shaping the security in critical regions of the world.

The report states that "while the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification (for US military presence), the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein" and "Over the long term, Iran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has. And even should U.S.-Iranian relations improve, retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region".

In Chapter V, entitled "Creating Tomorrow's Dominant Force" it states: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event — like a new Pearl Harbor." It is this quote that is used to suggest that the US government was complicit in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many critics also claim the PNAC believed this "new Pearl Harbor" would justify war on Iraq.


The whole document can be found here:

http://64.233.183.10...H...t=clnk&cd=1

#9 John Simkin

John Simkin

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:35 AM

Namebase entry for Jeane Kirkpatrick:

http://www.namebase....irkpatrick.html

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