Jeane Kirkpatrick's official portrait
|16th United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
January 1981 – April 1985
|Preceded by||Donald McHenry|
|Succeeded by||Vernon A. Walters|
Jeane Duane Jordan
November 19, 1926
Duncan, Oklahoma, U.S.
December 7, 2006
Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.
Democratic (until 1980)
|Spouse(s)||Evron Maurice Kirkpatrick|
Douglas Jordan Kirkpatrick
John Evron Kirkpatrick
University of Paris
|Profession||Professor, diplomat, political activist|
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (née Jeane Duane Jordan; November 19, 1926 – December 7, 2006) was an American ambassador and an ardent anti-communist. She was a long-time Democrat, who turned Republican in 1985. After serving as Ronald Reagan's foreign policy adviser in his 1980 campaign, she became the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
She was known for the "Kirkpatrick Doctrine", which advocated U.S. support of anticommunist governments around the world, including authoritarian dictatorships, if they went along with Washington's aims—believing they could be led into democracy by example. She wrote, "Traditional authoritarian governments are less repressive than revolutionary autocracies."
Kirkpatrick served on Reagan's Cabinet on the National Security Council, Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, Defense Policy Review Board, and chaired the Secretary of Defense Commission on Fail Safe and Risk reduction of the Nuclear Command and Control System.
- Early life 1
- Reagan's Cabinet 2
Ambassador to the UN 3
- Views on Israel 3.1
- Political views 4
- After the Reagan administration 5
- Personal life 6
- Quotes 7
- Awards and honors 8
- In popular culture 9
- Books authored 10
- See also 11
- References 12
- External links 13
Jeane Duane Jordan was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, the daughter of an oilfield wildcatter, Welcher F. Jordan, and his wife, Leona (née Kile). She attended Emerson Elementary School there and was known to her classmates as "Duane Jordan". She had a younger sibling, Jerry. At age 12, her father moved the family to Mt. Vernon, Illinois, where she graduated from Mt. Vernon Township High School. In 1948, she graduated from Barnard College after receiving her associate degree from Stephens College (then only a two-year institution) in Columbia, Missouri. In 1968, Kirkpatrick earned a PhD in political science from Columbia University.
Though she ultimately became a conservative, as a college freshman in 1945 she joined the Young People's Socialist League, the youth wing of the Socialist Party of America, influenced by her grandfather who was a founder of the Populist and Socialist parties in Oklahoma. As Kirkpatrick recalled at a symposium in 2002:
It wasn't easy to find the YPSL in Columbia, Missouri. But I had read about it and I wanted to be one. We had a very limited number of activities in Columbia, Missouri. We had an anti-Franco rally, which was a worthy cause. You could raise a question about how relevant it was likely to be in Columbia, Missouri, but it was in any case a worthy cause. We also planned a socialist picnic, which we spent quite a lot of time organizing. Eventually, I regret to say, the YPSL chapter, after much discussion, many debates and some downright quarrels, broke up over the socialist picnic. I thought that was rather discouraging.
At Democrat in the 1970s, and was involved in the later campaigns of former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey. Along with Humphrey, she was close to Henry M. Jackson, who ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1972 and in 1976.
She was opposed to the candidacy of Richard V. Allen and others to found the Committee on Present Danger for the purpose of warning Americans against the Soviet Union's growing military power and the dangers of the SALT II treaty. She also served on the Platform Committee for the Democratic Party in 1976.
Kirkpatrick published a number of articles in political science journals reflecting her disillusionment with the Democratic Party with specific criticism of the foreign policy of Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Her most well known piece was "Dictatorships and Double Standards", published in Commentary Magazine in November 1979.
In that piece, Kirkpatrick mentioned what she saw as a difference between authoritarian regimes and the totalitarian regimes such as the Soviet Union; sometimes it was necessary to work with authoritarian regimes if it suited American purposes. She wrote: "No idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime and anywhere, under any circumstances. ... Decades, if not centuries, are normally required for people to acquire the necessary disciplines and habits. In Britain, the road [to democratic government] took seven centuries to traverse. ... The speed with which armies collapse, bureaucracies abdicate, and social structures dissolve once the autocrat is removed frequently surprises American policymakers."
This piece came to the attention of Ronald Reagan through his National Security Adviser Richard V. Allen. Kirkpatrick then became a foreign policy adviser throughout Reagan's 1980 campaign and presidency and, after his election to the presidency, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, a position she held for four years. The Economist writes that, prior to this point, "she had never spent time with a Republican before." On the way to her first meeting with him, she told Allen, "Listen, Dick, I am an AFL-CIO Democrat and I am quite concerned that my meeting Ronald Reagan on any basis will be misunderstood." She asked Reagan if he minded having a lifelong Democrat on his team; he replied that he himself had been a Democrat until the age of 51, and in any event he liked her way of thinking about American foreign policy.
She was one of the strongest supporters of Argentina's military dictatorship following the March 1982 Argentine invasion of the United Kingdom's Falkland Islands, which triggered the Falklands War. Kirkpatrick had a "soft spot" for Argentina's President Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, and favored neutrality rather than the pro-British policy favored by the Secretary of State Alexander Haig. The British ambassador Sir Nicholas Henderson described her as "more fool than fascist ... she appears to be one of America's own-goal scorers, tactless, wrong-headed, ineffective, and a dubious tribute to the academic profession to which she [expresses] her allegiance". The administration ultimately decided to declare support for the British, forcing her to vote yes to United Nations Security Council Resolution 502.
At the 1984 Republican National Convention, she delivered the "Blame America First" keynote speech, which re-nominated Reagan by praising his administration's foreign policy while excoriating the leadership of what she called the "San Francisco Democrats"—the Democrats had just held their convention in San Francisco—for the party's shift away from the policies of Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy to a more strident anti-war position that the left-wing of the Democratic Party had pushed since Vietnam. It was the first time since the 1952 speech from Douglas MacArthur that a non-party member had delivered the Republican Convention's keynote address.
Kirkpatrick, a member of the National Security Council, did not get along with either Secretary of State Haig or his successor, Iran-Contra affair, in which she supported skimming money off arms sales to fund the Nicaraguan Contras while Shultz told Kirkpatrick that it would be an "impeachable offense" to do so due to the massacres perpetrated by that group. Shultz threatened to resign if Kirkpatrick was appointed National Security Adviser. Kirkpatrick was more closely allied with Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and head of the CIA William J. Casey on the issue.
Kirkpatrick's foreign policy, while applauded by conservatives, has been criticized by some historians and intellectuals, chiefly on the grounds that she worked solely for the interest of American corporations in Central America, and for this reason actually worked to undermine democratic government in Nicaragua and to suppress democratic movements in El Salvador and Guatemala. Noam Chomsky, for example, referred to her as the "Chief sadist-in-residence of the Reagan Administration" and went on to criticize what he called the hypocrisy of supporting brutal military regimes that showed no respect for human rights or democracy, while claiming to be protecting the region from communism. Lars Schoultz has argued that her policy was based on her belief that "Latin Americans are pathologically violent", and goes on to criticize this as a prejudice with no factual basis.
Ambassador to the UN
Kirkpatrick said that "[w]hat takes place in the Security Council more closely resembles a mugging than either a political debate or an effort at problem-solving." Still, she finished her term with a certain respect for the normative power of the United Nations as the "institution whose majorities claim the right to decide—for the world—what is legitimate and what is illegitimate." She noted that the United States had increasingly ignored this significance and became increasingly isolated. This was problematic, because "relative isolation in a body like the United Nations is a sign of impotence," especially given the ability of the United Nations to shape international attitudes. She was ambassador to the U.N. during the September 1, 1983 Soviet shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 near Moneron Island. KAL 007 had carried 269 passengers and crew including a sitting congressman, Larry McDonald (D-GA). She played before the Security Council the audio of the electronic intercept of the interceptor pilot during the attack, after which the Soviet Union could no longer deny its responsibility for the shootdown.
Kirkpatrick was a Board Member of the American Foundation for Resistance International and the National Council to Support the Democracy Movements, organizations intended to help bring down Soviet and East European Communism. Along with Vladimir Bukovsky, Martin Colman and Richard Perle, she worked to organize democratic revolutions against communism.
According to Jay Nordlinger, on a visit with American dignitaries, Soviet human rights activist Andrei Sakharov said, "Kirkpatski, Kirkpatski, which of you is Kirkpatski?" When others pointed to Kirkpatrick, he said, "Your name is known in every cell in the Gulag," because she had named Soviet political prisoners on the floor of the UN. Kirkpatrick said she would only serve one term at the UN and stepped down in April 1985.
Views on Israel
Kirkpatrick was a staunch supporter of Israel. During her ambassadorship at the United Nations, she considered its frequent criticism and condemnation of the Jewish state as holding Israel to a double standard, which she attributed to hostility and regarded as politically motivated. In 1989, Mohammed Wahby, press director of Egypt's Information Bureau, wrote to the Washington Post saying, "Jeane Kirkpatrick has, somehow, consistently opposed any attempt to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict". However, in a 1989 op-ed, Kirkpatrick warned Secretary of State James Baker and President Bush not to get involved in the conflict because any intervention would fail.
Kirkpatrick frequently expressed disdain for what she perceived to be disproportionate attention towards Israel's at the expense of others' conflicts.
Anti-Defamation League President Abraham Foxman issued a press release upon her death saying that "She will be fondly remembered for her unwavering and valiant support of the State of Israel and her unequivocal opposition to anti-Semitism, especially during her tenure at the United Nations. She was always a true friend of the Jewish people."
- "Authoritarian regimes really typically don't have complete command economies. Authoritarian regimes typically have some kind of traditional economy with some private ownership. The Nazi regime left ownership in private hands, but the state assumed control of the economy. Control was separated from ownership but it was really a command economy because it was controlled by the state. A command economy is an attribute of a totalitarian state."
Explaining her disillusionment with international organizations, especially the United Nations, she stated:
- "As I watched the behavior of the nations of the U.N. (including our own), I found no reasonable ground to expect any one of those governments to transcend permanently their own national interests for those of another country."
- "I conclude that it is a fundamental mistake to think that salvation, justice, or virtue come through merely human institutions."
- "Democracy not only requires equality but also an unshakable conviction in the value of each person, who is then equal. Cross cultural experience teaches us not simply that people have different beliefs, but that people seek meaning and understand themselves in some sense as members of a cosmos ruled by God."
Regarding socialism, she said:
- "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."
After the Reagan administration
In April 1985, Kirkpatrick became a Republican, a move which National Association of Scholars, a group that works against what it regards as a liberal bias in academia, with its emphasis on multicultural education, and affirmative action.
Kirkpatrick briefly considered running for President in 1988 against
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Vernon A. Walters
- Honorary Doctoral Degrees, Universidad Francisco Marroquín
- "Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan's Forceful Envoy, Dies", 'The New York Times, December 9, 2006; accessed May 20, 2014.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- "Kirkpatrick hit liberals for blaming America first", washtimes.com; accessed May 20, 2014.
- official website of Empower America
- American Enterprise Institute website
- Profile: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick
- ADL Mourns the Passing of Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Anti-Defamation League press release; accessed May 20, 2014.
- The Cold War series: interview with Jeane Kirkpatrick, National Security Archive (February 28, 1999)
- "Jeane Kirkpatrick advocates war", The Oprah Winfrey Show, October 1, 2001.
- The National Association of Scholar's Board of Advisors
- Jeane Kirkpatrick interviewed by Peter Krogh, American Interests (1982)
Jeane Kirkpatrick, "Dictatorships and Double Standards", Commentary Magazine, vol 68, No 5, November 1979, pp. 34–45.
Amazon.com profile; accessed May 20, 2014.
- Bosco, David L., Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World, Oxford University Press, 2009, p. 142.
- Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., Legitimacy and Force Vol. 1 (Oxford: Transaction Books, 1988), p. xvi.
- Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., "Standing Alone" in Legitimacy and Force, vol 1 (Oxford: Transaction Books, 1988), pp. 193–94.
- Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., "Standing Alone" in Legitimacy and Force, vol 1 (Oxford: Transaction Books, 1988), 195.
- Kirkpatrick, Jeane J., "The UN as a Political System" in Legitimacy and Force, vol 1 (Oxford: Transaction Books, 1988), p. 222.
- Speech at the 1984 Republican National Convention
- Speech given during the 1988 Barrick Lecture Series at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- , Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, footnote 163, New York, April 1, 1993, referencing Tampa Tribune, December 25, 1980; retrieved June 8, 2012.
- Honorary Doctoral Degrees at Universidad Francisco Marroquín
- (1974)Political WomanReview of , american.com; accessed June 24, 2014.
- List of U.S. political appointments that crossed party lines
- Dictatorships and Double Standards
- List of notable Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients
- Making War to Keep Peace, 2007 (ISBN 0-0611-9543-X)
- The Withering Away of the Totalitarian State – And Other Surprises, 1992 (ISBN 0-8447-3728-3)
- Legitimacy and Force: National and International Dimensions, 1988 (ISBN 0-88738-647-4)
- International Regulation: New Rules in a Changing World Order, 1988 (ISBN 1-55815-026-9)
- Legitimacy and Force: Political and Moral Dimensions, 1988 (ISBN 0-88738-099-9)
- Legitimacy and Force: State Papers and Current Perspectives 1981–1985, 1987 (ISBN 0-88738-647-4)
- The United States and the World: Setting Limits, 1986 (ISBN 0-8447-1379-1)
- The Reagan Doctrine and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1985 (ISBN 9-9965-0591-X)
- Reagan Phenomenon and Other Speeches on Foreign Policy, 1983 (ISBN 0-8447-1361-9)
- U.N. Under Scrutiny, 1982 (ISBN 99938-872-9-3)
- Dictatorships and Double Standards: Rationalism and Reason in Politics, 1982 (ISBN 0-671-43836-0)
- Presidential Nominating Process: Can It Be Improved, 1980 (ISBN 0-8447-3397-0)
- Dismantling the Parties: Reflections on Party Reform and Party Decomposition, 1978 (ISBN 0-8447-3293-1)
- The New Presidential Elite: Men and Women in National Politics, 1976 (ISBN 0-87154-475-X)
- Political Woman, 1974 (ISBN 0-465-05970-8), the first major study of women in American political life. It includes interviews with 50 successful political women, representing 26 states.
In an October 1987 sketch on Saturday Night Live, Kirkpatrick (portrayed by Nora Dunn) is a contestant on a game show, Common Knowledge (in which answers to questions are determined by 17-year-old high school seniors).
In Berkeley Breathed's daily comic strip Bloom County, Kirkpatrick becomes former Meadow Party Presidential candidate Bill the Cat's love interest before he is exposed as using that relationship to perform espionage for the Soviet Union. 
In popular culture
In 1995 she received the Walter Judd Freedom Award from The Fund for American Studies. In 2007, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) honored Kirkpatrick with the creation of the Jeane Kirkpatrick Academic Freedom Award. The first recipient was Marine Corps reservist and correspondent Matt Sanchez. Kirkpatrick was inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1984.
She was awarded an honorary degree by Brandeis University in 1994, but declined it when her honor was met with protests from some professors and students, whom she described as "ideological zealots". 53 professors opposed the award, with one stating: "We oppose the degree because she was the intellectual architect of Reagan administration policies that supported some of the Latin-American regimes with the most repressive records."
She received an honorary doctorate degree from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in 1985, she also received an honorary doctorate at Central Connecticut State University in 1991.
Kirkpatrick received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard created a Kirkpatrick Chair in International Affairs in her honor.
Awards and honors
- "When Marxist dictators shoot their way into power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies. They blame United States policies of one hundred years ago. But then they always blame America first."
- "Russia is playing chess, while we are playing Monopoly. The only question is whether they will checkmate us before we bankrupt them."
- "Americans need to face the truth about themselves, no matter how pleasant it is."
- "I don't think the government (of El Salvador) was responsible. The nuns were not just nuns; the nuns were political activists. We ought to be a little more clear-cut about this than we usually are. They were political activists on behalf of the Frente and somebody who is using violence to oppose the Frente killed them"
She had been diagnosed with heart disease and had been in failing health for several years. Kirkpatrick died at her home in Bethesda, Maryland, on December 7, 2006 from congestive heart failure. She was interred at Parklawn Memorial Park in Rockville, Maryland.
On February 20, 1955, she married Evron Maurice Kirkpatrick, who was a scholar and a former member of the O.S.S. (the World War II-era predecessor of the CIA). Her husband died in 1995. They had three sons: Douglas Jordan (1956–2006), John Evron, and Stuart Alan.
, who endorsed Dole after ending his own 1988 campaign several days before the New Hampshire primary. Alexander Haig, who was the runner up to Bush. Despite a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, Dole's campaign quickly faded after he lost the New Hampshire primary in February 1988. Kirkpatrick was an active surrogate campaigner for Dole even as he was losing, as was her old foe, Kansas of Robert J. Dole Kirkpatrick endorsed Senator