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Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

  • Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • "Dictatorship and Double Standards," in Commentary ()
  • Although most governments in the world are, as they always have been, autocracies of one kind or another, no idea holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • "Dictatorship and Double Standards," in Commentary ()
  • History is a better guide than good intentions.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • "Dictatorship and Double Standards," in Commentary ()
  • Cultural constraints condition and limit our choices, shaping our characters with their imperatives.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • speech ()
  • Power ... is not an end in itself, but is an instrument that must be used toward an end.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • speech ()
  • Words can destroy. What we call each other ultimately becomes what we think of each other, and it matters.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • speech ()
  • The absence of utopianism in the Constitution, law, and traditional political culture has been ... important in limiting expectations concerning what can be achieved by politics. The history of the last two centuries confirms what the framers of the Constitution understood: that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the search for unalloyed virtue in public life leads to unalloyed terror.

  • Freedom works.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • in Time ()
  • A government is not legitimate merely because it exists.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • in Time ()
  • We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick,
    • in Reader's Digest ()
  • Democrats can't get elected unless things get worse, and things won't get worse unless they get elected.

    • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, U.S. political scientist, diplomat, educator

(1926 - 2006)

Full name: Jeane Duane Jordan Kirkpatrick.