December 11, 2015
On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz resurrected former UN Ambassador under Reagan and AEI scholar Jeane Kirkpatrick’s “Dictatorships and Doubled Standards” argument that the US should not go around knocking off dictators in the name of advancing democracy or human rights.
In particular, he argued that the Middle East would be more stable if we had not toppled Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi. It would take much more than a blog post to fully address why Cruz is wrong, but it is worth noting just a few things off the bat.
First, Cruz is obviously using Kirkpatrick’s argument to suggest rhetorically that he is the true heir to the hard-headed national security policies of Ronald Reagan. But, as much as there was to admire in Amb. Kirkpatrick’s tenure at the UN, in fact, President Reagan ultimately came down on the opposite side of her policy prescription when it came to dictatorships. When push came to shove, the president pressed strongmen in both South Korea and the Philippines to stand aside in favor of a turn to democratic rule.
Moreover, carried out consistently, Cruz’s willingness to live with dictatorships would have been at odds with Reagan’s larger strategic goal of bringing down the Soviet Union and freeing the peoples of Eastern and Central Europe. In theory, Cruz would have been happy with the Nixon policy of “détente.”
Read the full article at the American Enterprise Institute: Dictatorships and double standards 2.0