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Jeane Kirkpatrick: America Cannot Impose Democracy

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Jeane Kirkpatrick: America Cannot Impose Democracy
Professor Paul Sheldon Foote

California State University, Fullerton


December 11, 2006

The death of Jeane Kirkpatrick has prompted many short articles and postings with descriptions ranging from "a tireless exponent of the truth" [1] to a "war criminal" [2]. During her life, many political labels were assigned to her, including: socialist, Democrat, Republican, and neoconservative. Kirkpatrick's wide range of political views provides opportunities for others to use selectively her writings to support their current positions.

Commentary, a major neoconservative magazine, published many of her writings, including "Dictatorships & Double Standards" in November 1979. Ben Johnson, in FrontPage Magazine, described this as "her groundbreaking essay". Unfortunately, Johnson failed to explain how her 1979 views published in a neoconservative magazine contradict the current views of neoconservatives (neo-Trotskyites):

"Although most governments in the world are, as they always have been, autocracies of one kind or another, no idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances. This notion is belied by an enormous body of evidence based on the experience of dozens of countries which have attempted with more or less (usually less) success to move from autocratic to democratic government. Many of the wisest political scientists of this and previous centuries agree that democratic institutions are especially difficult to establish and maintain-because they make heavy demands on all portions of a population and because they depend on complex social, cultural, and economic conditions." [3]

Kirkpatrick's 1979 views represent a stark contrast with the neo-Trotskyite and neo-Jacobin views of today's neo-conservatives. [4]

On May Day 2002, Jeane Kirkpatrick expressed the following views at a symposium on "Socialism: What Happened? What Now?" [5]

As I read the utopian socialists, the scientific socialists, the German Social Democrats and revolutionary socialists- whatever I could in either English or French- I came to the conclusion that almost all of them, including my grandfather, were engaged in an effort to change human nature. The more I thought about it, the more I thought this was not likely to be a successful effort. So I turned my attention more and more to political philosophy and less and less to socialist activism of any kind.
The evils existing under ordinary forms of government-lawsuits about contracts, convictions for perjury, obsequious flatteries of the rich- are considered a result of the absence of a system of common property. But, in truth, none of these evils, says Aristotle, is due to the absence of communism. They all arise from the wickedness of human nature.
I conclude that there is much profit to be gained from reading all of the socialist classics, and even more profit to be gained from reading Aristotle.

From these selections, there is nothing to support the desires of current neoconservatives for endless wars waged falsely in the name of democracy. While Kirkpatrick opposed the Soviet Union of Lenin and of Stalin, can neoconservatives provide even a single quotation showing that she advocated America's military invasion and occupation of the Soviet Union? Some of the neoconservatives (both Democrats and Republicans) have betrayed America by supporting the communist takeover of Iran by the Iranian Communist MEK (Rajavi Cult or Pol Pot of Iran). From Aristotle to Jeane Kirkpatrick, we can focus upon the evils in the world arising from the wickedness of human nature. Our research on the wickedness of human nature can start with a study of the ease with which admirers of Trotsky were able to pervert democracy in America and to dupe Democrats, Republicans, liberals, and conservatives.

[1] Johnson, Ben, "Jeanne Kirkpatrick, RIP", FrontPage Magazine, December 11, 2006.
[2] Agha, Moji, "Jeane Kirkpatrick...even a war criminal?" Traitors USA, December 8, 2006.


[3] Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., "Dictatorships & Double Standards", Commentary, November 1979.

[4] Raimondo, Justin, "The Neo-Jacobins: Why the neocons abhor the spotlight", Antiwar.com, October 1, 2003.


[5] Kirkpatrick, Jeane, comments at a May Day 2002 symposium on "Socialism: What Happened? What Now?"

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Professor, California State University, Fullerton

After marriage to an Iranian lady in Tehran, Iran in 1968, I returned to Tehran in the summer of 1970 to work at the American Embassy. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, I (more...)

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