Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Always look on the bright side of life.


C'mon ... he wasn't all bad:

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...

It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves behind the most successful country in Latin America...

Like it or not, Mr. Pinochet had something to do with this success. To the dismay of every economic minister in Latin America, he introduced the free-market policies that produced the Chilean economic miracle -- and that not even Allende's socialist successors have dared reverse. He also accepted a transition to democracy, stepping down peacefully in 1990 after losing a referendum...

The contrast between Cuba and Chile more than 30 years after Mr. Pinochet's coup is a reminder of a famous essay written by Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the provocative and energetic scholar and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who died Thursday. In "Dictatorships and Double Standards," a work that caught the eye of President Ronald Reagan, 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.

Similarly, Adolf Hitler may have had that spot of unpleasantness with the Jews but, by gosh, he made sure the trains ran on time, didn't he?

5 comments:

Simon said...

Nothing gets a wanker more excited than the words "free market". It's creepy.

Lexington said...

Ms. Kirkpatrick argued that right-wing dictators such as Mr. Pinochet were ultimately less malign than communist rulers

History is full of ironies.

This in fact was exactly the argument made by many middle class Germans in 1933 -that a seizure of power by Hitler and the National Socialists was at least better than a revolution by German Communists (which was a real possibility at the time).

Nice to see Kirkpatrick and the WaPo maintain such exalted company.

Anonymous said...

"...he made sure the trains ran on time..."

How original.

CC said...

Yes but, if I'd written something truly original, I would have had to explain it to you. Sadly, it's a trade-off I make all the time.

dveej said...

Here's an interesting debunking of Chile's "free market" success:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A33881-2004Jan21