25th Anniversary: Jeane Kirkpatrick Who Denounced “The Blame America First Crowd” Retires as U.N. Ambassador by Gregory Hilton

Monday will mark the 25th anniversary of the day Jeane Kirkpatrick stepped down as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. One of the high points of my career at the American Security Council was being able to work with her. I first knew the Ambassador as a professor at Georgetown University when she a Democrat and a great admirer of Sen. Henry Jackson (D-WA). She worked on his 1972 and 1976 presidential campaigns, and there were many conservative Democrats in those days.
She served on the 1976 Democratic Platform Committee, but Kirkpatrick would distance herself from the party in the years ahead. Dr. Kirkpatrick died at the age of 80 in 2006 and I still miss her. She was outstanding in answering the liberals who wanted to gut the defense budget, and now I regret not having her counsel in answering the isolationist Libertarians.
Both groups believe in blaming America first. Below is an except from her “Blame America First” speech which was given at the 1984 GOP Convention. She was still a Democrat when she addressed the Republican gathering, but she was highly critical of the “San Francisco Democrats.” The 1984 Democratic convention which nominated Walter Mondale was held in San Francisco.
Kirkpatrick’s rhetoric was aimed at liberal Democrats but her remarks could have easily been directed at the isolationist Libertarians of today. Many Libertarians claim to have an admiration for Ronald Reagan, but as this speech demonstrates, Reagan and Ron Paul had nothing in common when it came to national security and foreign policy. All of the U.S. missions Kirkpatrick describes were opposed by the left wing Democrats and the Libertarians:

They said saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do – they didn’t blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians – they blamed the United States instead.
But then, somehow, they always blame America first.
When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the “blame America first crowd” didn’t blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.
But then, they always blame America first.
When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn’t blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.
But then, they always blame America first.
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 Shcharansky 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. They understand just as the distinguished French writer, Jean Francois Revel, understands the dangers of endless self- criticism and self-denigration.
He wrote: “Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.” With the election of Ronald Reagan, the American people declared to the world that we have the necessary energy and conviction to defend ourselves, and that we have as well a deep commitment to peace.

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