Right and Left: Reagan takes on tyranny

Reagan takes on tyranny

When Ronald Reagan approvingly cited former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick's argument that "authoritarian" right-wing regimes were not as insidious as "totalitarian" Communist ones, many observers assumed that he was making the distinction a central tenet of his foreign policy. Authoritarian governments, however repressive, could be tolerated as long as they supported U.S. interests; besides, by their nature they were more susceptible to change than totalitarian governments, as Haiti and the Philippines were to prove. But last week the Administration sought to clarify its views on dictatorships and in the process seemed to depart, albeit slightly, from the Kirkpatrick doctrine. "The American...

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