Saturday, December 09, 2006

One less Neoconservative: Jeane Kirkpatrick

Even as the debacle in Iraq thoroughly dulls the reputation and aspirations of the Neoconservatives, their ranks are also dwindling. John Bolton is getting booted from his job as U.S. ambassador to the UN. On Friday it was announced that Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the UN under President Reagan, had died. In recent years she was a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C.

I actually met her once at AEI not too many years ago. Like other public policy "think tanks" in Washington, AEI regularly holds seminars that are open to the public (including people such as myself). Former and even current public officials and academic and industry experts as well as the AEI staff fellows give presentations and commentary on topics of interest to AEI and its financial backers. I recall her moderating and giving introductory comments to two seminars in early 2003 during the run-up to our "liberation" of Iraq.

I was standing in the small cafeteria line for an AEI luncheon seminar (free lunch!) and turned around and she was behind me. She smiled and introduced herself. She was quite congenial, articulate, and knowledgeable.

That's the thing. A lot of these people seem quite pleasant and reasonable in person, but then when they shift into high hear with truly outrageous rhetoric in public, all bets are off.

I never understood the intensity with which she supported Israel at all costs.

For more on her, see the article in The New York Times by Tim Weiner entitled "Jeane Kirkpatrick, Reagan’s Forceful Envoy, Dies."

I harbor no ill will towards her or her memory as a person, but it is a great relief to see the ranks and the influence of the Neoconservatives continue to decline.

-- Jack Krupansky


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