- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jeane Kirkpatrick will be sorely missed. In fact, Mrs. Kirkpatrick, who passed away last week, already is missed. One of her quick-witted responses to the attack on U.S. foreign policy by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is just what we need. A great advocate of America’s founding ideals, values and freedoms, she would not have had any patience for this kind of talk.

Mr. Annan’s speech in Independence, Mo., castigated the Bush administration for having abandoned the values that made America great, and he said that U.S. allies were “troubled and confused” by its behavior. “No state can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose — for broadly shared aims — in accordance with accepted norms,” Mr. Annan stated.

Given that U.S. actions in Iraq are continuing under a mandate from the very organization Mr. Annan has headed for the past five years, his denunciation comes a little late. It is not the first time, however, that he or his deputy, Mark Malloch Brown, have taken aim at American foreign policy.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick would have known how to reply to such accusations. After all, the U.N. Charter has a provision for self-defense and on an important level that is what we are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, though official Washington seems to have forgotten that these days. After September 11, 2001, she wrote in Commentary magazine:

“This particular bunch has been escalating their attacks for a good 10 years, beginning with the first bombing of the World Trade Center and on to the bombing of our embassies and the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, and we have not really responded. They have grown more and more violent in their attacks on us. And if we don’t do something that deters them, we are going to find ourselves and our society destroyed by these people. A democracy cannot survive and function under such fire.”

The problem is, of course, that the bolder the terrorists get, the more the United States gets blamed for taking the offensive against them. Bombings in Europe, for instance, have caused Europeans to resent the terrorists less than they resent the United States, who gets blamed for provoking the attacks.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick was well acquainted with this phenomenon and served heroically as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Reagan administration. She did so under the even more adversarial conditions in the 1980s than those we face today. At the United Nations, she brought a new kind of diplomacy, like nothing the institution had seen before — a tough approach based on facing facts squarely, standing up to enemies of this country and giving no quarter to opponents and fence-sitters.

Back then, the threat was Soviet expansionism, including on the doorstep of the United States in Central America. (She must have been just appalled at the recent election victory of former Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.) Who can forget her blast at the Democrats in her keynote speech to the Republican convention in San Francisco in 1984?

“When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don’t blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.”

“But then, they always blame America first.

“The American people know better.

“They know that Ronald Reagan and the United States didn’t cause Marxist dictatorship in Nicaragua, or the repression in Poland, or the brutal new offensives in Afghanistan, or the destruction of the Korean airliner, or the new attacks on religious and ethnic groups in the Soviet Union, or the jamming of Western broadcasts, or the denial of Jewish emigration, or the brutal imprisonment of Anatoly Sharansky and Ida Nudel, or the obscene treatment of Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner, or the re-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.

“The American people know that it’s dangerous to blame ourselves for terrible problems that we did not cause.”

Her words ring as true today as they did back then. In the fight against terrorism caused by radical Islam, we will continue to need strong voices like that of Mrs. Kirkpatrick, especially as we reassess the U.S. engagement in Iraq. The temptation to blame America first is always there, and with the midterm elections, it has ominously gathered momentum.

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