A Look at Jeane Kirkpatrick's Political Legacy Former United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, a prominent conservative thinker, has died at 80. Kenneth Adelman, who served as deputy U.N. ambassador during Kirkpatrick's term, discusses Kirkpatrick's career.

A Look at Jeane Kirkpatrick's Political Legacy

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A fixture from another war, the Cold War, has died. Jeane Kirkpatrick rose to prominence during the Reagan era. She served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1981 to 1985. Here she is in 1984, speaking at the Republican National Convention in Dallas.

Ms. JEANE KIRKPATRICK (Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.): When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiation 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.

BRAND: Jeane Kirkpatrick had a huge influence on President Reagan's foreign policy. She advocated supporting Third World dictators who were anti-communist as a way to win the Cold War.

I spoke earlier with Ambassador Kenneth Adelman. He served as Kirkpatrick's deputy at the U.N. And I asked him whether Jeane Kirkpatrick's philosophy has endured.

Mr. KENNETH ADELMAN: It's a different era right now and so I don't think it's applicable to what we have today. What is wonderful about Jeane - and I loved being her deputy for two years - was her sense of humor and her compassion. I mean, she did things in private, among ourselves that were both funny and warm-hearted. And that was the image that everybody had of her, but it's certainly the image of me and my family, who knew her since 1975. And she's been a very, very dear friend, until a week ago when we last saw her.

BRAND: She was quite outspoken. I think some people would say that she out-Maggie Thatchered Maggie Thatcher.

Mr. ADELMAN: She was outspoken because she had a brilliant mind and she was very forthright. But what people didn't see is how compassionate she was.

BRAND: Tell me how she influenced other key members of the foreign policy establishment and how she influenced the members who are serving now, John Bolton, for example, who is currently the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. but though not for long. And how she's influenced current foreign policy? Where can we see the hands of Jeane Kirkpatrick?

Mr. ADELMAN: First of all, she influenced foreign policy at that time because Ronald Reagan was wild about her. So when Jeane spoke, Ronald Reagan really listened. I think more so than he listened to his first Secretary of State Al Haig. And that was one of the problems that Haig had in both his relationship with Reagan and his relationship with Jeane.

Secondly, she was unapologetic about American values and in that I think its carried over to President George W. Bush. When you read Bush's second inaugural address, and the blessings of freedom and liberty and how everybody around the world is entitled to the choice of what to believe and to throw the rascals out if they do a bad job and what to worship, Jeane was unapologetic about that, which is why Reagan loved her so much.

BRAND: And what does she think about what's going on Iraq today?

Mr. ADELMAN: She was not in favor of going into Iraq, unlike me and many others our ilk. She was very reasonable and very nice about it. And we had dinner and talked about it, and everything like that. And after that time she was just hoping it would succeed a lot better than it succeeded now.

But I think Jeane should be remembered as a pioneer woman, a woman who really cut a large swath in foreign affairs. A woman who came from Norman, Oklahoma, with no great family distinction, and got her Ph.D. on her own, wrote the books about women in politics on her own, taught Georgetown - that's where I first met her in the early '70s and was phenomenal, best professor I've ever had. And then, because of Ronald Reagan's gift, of not caring very much about party politics, in the sense, of Jeane was a very staunch Democrat.

He really liked Jeane and her unapologetic enthusiasm for American values and offered her the key role of ambassador to the United Nations. And Jeane took it up with a determination and a gusto that was just wearing if you were her deputy as I was for all those years.

BRAND: Well, Ambassador Kenneth Adelman, thank you very much.

Mr. ADELMAN: You're welcome.

BRAND: That's Ambassador Kenneth Adelman. He served under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the Ford administration and he was deputy U.N. ambassador under Jeane Kirkpatrick. Jeane Kirkpatrick is dead at the age of 80.

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