Yes, yes, you should read this

AUGUSTO PINOCHET, who died Sunday at the age of 91, has been vilified for three decades in and outside of Chile, the South American country he ruled for 17 years. For some he was the epitome of an evil dictator. That was partly because he helped to overthrow, with U.S. support, an elected president considered saintly by the international left: socialist Salvador Allende, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup is usually overlooked. Mr. Pinochet was brutal: More than 3,000 people were killed by his government and tens of thousands tortured, mostly in his first three years. Thousands of others spent years in exile.

And you should read it to the end.

Ms. Kirkpatrick argued that right-wing dictators such as Mr. Pinochet were ultimately less malign than communist rulers, in part because their regimes were more likely to pave the way for liberal democracies. She, too, was vilified by the left. Yet by now it should be obvious: She was right.

20 thoughts on “Yes, yes, you should read this”

  1. “he helped to overthrow, with U.S. support, an elected president”: I have read that his successful coup did not involve the US i.e. the CIA. An earlier, failed coup attempt, however, was CIA business.

    Given the CIA’s record of incompetence, that sounds plausible.

  2. Wasn’t Ms. Kirkpatrick one of those Americans who wanted the Falkland Islanders subjected to the right-wing dictators of Argentina?

    WKPD thinks so, and treats us to this:

    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.

  3. Which country would you rather live in – a post-Pinochet Chile or a post-Castro Cuba. I know which one I’d have chosen.

  4. One of the key conditions of democracy is industrialisation. It shifts the balance of power from the state to the individuals.

    And at least with right-wing dictatorships, you get industrialisation. It’s why Korea and Chile got democratic. And while the Chinese government is communist in name, it really isn’t. And we don’t need to do a lot – democracy, civil rights and all that will be coming soon.

    My solution to Cuba, however is building lots of temporary islands just in international water. Basically, allow millions to leave more easily. At which point, the Cuban government will have to be a lot nicer to them or lose everyone.

  5. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Pinochet’s treatment by the fascist Blairista Junta was nothing short of shameful. Such was our gratitude for his help during the Flklands War that we imprisoned him in that notorious gulag Wentworth Estate ( I used to live just down the road and drove pat the demonstrators every day). Thanks to the trumped up arrest warrant from a crooked Spanish judge, we ended up with humiliation of the Law Lords having to set aside their own ruling and the Mandelson-Brown Claque having to allow Pinochet to pretend that he was ga-ga in order to be sent back to Chile. He only came to London to visit his physio.

    Jeanne kirkpatrick was a stupid bitch who nearly buggered up the Falklands for us ( along with the twat who was the Irish ambassador at the UN). Thankfully, Mrs T laid it on the line to Reagan.

  6. The real criticism of Kirkpatrick is that she was not guided by her own doctrine. Because Galtieri’s Junta was merely an authoritarian regime it simply needed to be given a bloody nose in the theatre of its foreign adventure in order to suffer a gratifying collapse. Conversely, the totalitarian regimes of Kim Il Sung, Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein demanded hot persuit across international borders to effect their removal. Sadly for the people of North Korea and Iraq, only heroic socialist states like Tanzania and Vietnam enjoy moral license for such action.

  7. I’m with Ben S on this. If there is one thing I’m taking away from this past week’s events in Cuba it is the lengths people will go to in order to excuse evil, provideo it’s evil do e by our side. As Castro’s schools’n’hospitals so-called legacy was being wheeled out I thought “Yes, so did Franco. So is he a good guy now too?”

    So my answer to nyc’s question is I would rather live here thank you very much.

  8. I agree with Ben S. I see no good in praising Pinochet, even as a comparator with Castro. Sure, expose the inconsistency of Lefties by contrasting their treatment and reporting of each, but stop short of suggesting Pinochet was anything other than a complete cunt.

  9. I also agree with Ben. However, there is a difference between saying that one dictator is better than another and saying that one dictator is less bad than another.

    And who was it who tried to change US foreign policy away from cynical Cold-War-era realpolitik towards a more moral blanket denunciation of all tyranny — and made the argument that that denunciation was not merely moral but practical too?

    Your nation and mine, in the past, have been willing to make a bargain, to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites. Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time, while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.

    As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own backyard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims, and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

    — George W Bush

  10. And who was it who tried to change US foreign policy away from cynical Cold-War-era realpolitik towards a more moral blanket denunciation of all tyranny — and made the argument that that denunciation was not merely moral but practical too?

    Exactly. George W. Bush recognised the folly of the “our son-of-a-bitch” policy, and ended it. I have said for a long time that I think history will judge him much more kindly than his contemporaries did.

  11. > Bush recognised the folly of the “our son-of-a-bitch” policy, and ended it.

    The former, yes, but sadly not so much the latter. Probably my biggest complaint about him is that he didn’t sack half the State Department and CIA.

    > history will judge him much more kindly than his contemporaries did.

    If history has any sense, yeah. Once Obama’s a bit further in the past and the delusional adulation has faded a bit, people might start noticing the timelines. Obama has had a very active foreign policy in the Middle East for eight years now, yet his supporters still blame Dubya for everything that happens there. Sooner or later, people will say “Eight years? That’s quite a while.” WW2 took less time. And Bush was only in Iraq for five, which ended fairly successfully.

    So many people warned exactly what would happen if Obama pulled the troops out and have been proven right that it’ll be difficult for serious historians to pretend those warnings never happened.

  12. If history has any sense, yeah.

    One of Bush’s biggest admirers was John Lewis Gaddis, who said he’d never met a President who had read so much history:

    So what might shift contemporary impressions of President Bush? I can only speak for myself here, but something I did not expect was the discovery that he reads more history and talks with more historians than any of his predecessors since at least John F. Kennedy. The President has surprised me more than once with comments on my own books soon after they’ve appeared, and I’m hardly the only historian who has had this experience. I’ve found myself improvising excuses to him, in Oval Office seminars, as to why I hadn’t read the latest book on Lincoln, or on—as Bush refers to him—the “first George W.” I’ve even assigned books to Yale students on his recommendation, with excellent results.

    “Well, so Bush reads history”, one might reasonably observe at this point. “Isn’t it more important to find out how he uses it?” It is indeed, and I doubt that anybody will be in a position to answer that question definitively until the oral histories get recorded, the memoirs get written, and the archives open. But I can say this on the basis of direct observation: President Bush is interested—as no other occupant of the White House has been for quite a long time—in how the past can provide guidance for the future.

    But apparently he was a brainless idiot and Obama is a genius.

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Obama is the least intellectually curious inhabitant of the White House since Lyndon Johnson.

    As for right wing dictators vs. left wing ones: we should all be grateful Franco won, as otherwise Hitler would have had a free run down to Gib in the early days of WW2 while the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was in force, and Pinochet interrupted Chile’s trajectory towards Cuban-style slavery. There’s always a cost/benefit analysis, and rejecting the “at least he’s our son of a bitch” idea is a counsel of perfection.

  14. @Squander Two
    The problem with Bush is that he believed that Islam is benign and that removing Saddam would create paradise.
    (Persecuting all members of the Baath party was pretty stupid as well).

  15. “Bush was only in Iraq for five, which ended fairly successfully”: but it didn’t and at all, did it? It’s gone on and on and on. Foolish, reckless sod he was. The fact that O is a useless bugger doesn’t name W any good.

  16. BnLiA

    To be fair, the Irish Ambassador (Noel Dorr) had nothing to do with it. He had a policy foisted on him by that shit Charles Haughey and then had to go into the Security Council and defend it. He said in his memoirs that he knew at the time that it was utterly against the interests of Ireland, but was Haughey’s revenge for being harangued by Thatcher two years previously.

  17. > The problem with Bush is that he believed that Islam is benign and that removing Saddam would create paradise.

    I don’t believe for one moment that Bush believes Islam to be benign. I do however believe he thought Islam could be made markedly less benign by having an American President declare war on it, and that it was important to try to get American Muslims on side.

    I don’t think there’s any evidence that he thought Iraq was going to be a paradise, either. My quote above, in fact, implies the opposite.

    But, when he left office, Iraq had a bickering volatile grandstanding problematic but still fairly democratic government that was WAY better than the surrounding ones, had regular free and fair elections, and, though the journey would no doubt take many years, was generally heading in the right direction. And, as a bonus, the US Army was sitting right next to Iran, which is a really useful place for it to be.

    It’s worth remembering how it was that Obama was able to get away with pulling all the troops out: because Iraq was stable. “Safe, stable, and secure,” I believe were his words. It may have been obvious to many people that it would not stay that way if the troops were withdrawn too early, but it was stable enough for the Dems to argue the point without looking like complete lunatics. To say that the place was a disaster at the time is revisionism.

    > There’s always a cost/benefit analysis, and rejecting the “at least he’s our son of a bitch” idea is a counsel of perfection.

    True. But, in an ideological war, how useful has it been to have a history of supporting men like Pinochet? We can point out how much less bad he was than Castro all we like, but any leftie who decides that Reagan and Thatcher were evil for supporting him still has a reasonable point.

    In the case of Islam, how well has it worked out for us to keep cunts like the Sauds in power? They’ve used our money to fund the rise of global Wahhabism. But hey, at least they’re “our” sons of bitches. They’ve provided stability in the region! Stability! Woohoo!

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