- Kirkpatrick Doctrine
The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was a political
doctrineexpounded by United States of America Ambassadorto the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrickin the early 1980s to justify US support for Third Worldanti-Communist dictatorships in the context of the Cold War. Under the doctrine, the U.S. gave support to dozens of regimes worldwide that brazenly committed murder and genocideagainst their peoples.Fact|date=March 2008
Kirkpatrick claimed that pro-Soviet
communist states were totalitarian regimes while pro-Western dictatorships were authoritarian ones. Kirkpatrick claimed that totalitarian regimes were more stable than authoritarian regimes, and thus had a greater propensity to influence neighboring states. The Kirkpatrick Doctrine was particularly influential during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The Reagan administration gave varying degrees of support to anti-Communist dictatorships, including those in Guatemala(to 1985), the Philippines(to 1986), and Argentina(to 1983), and armed the mujahideenin Afghanistan, UNITA in Angola, and the Contras in Nicaragua, as a means of ending (or preventing) communist rule in those countries.
Kirkpatrick's tenet that totalitarian regimes are more stable than authoritarian regimes has come under criticism since the collapse of the
Soviet Unionin 1991, particularly as Kirkpatrick predicted that the Soviet system would persist for decades. Others counter that the Soviet Union fell only amid steady US-led Western opposition to Communismduring the Cold War. Still others argue that the transition from totalitarianism to democracyin the Eastern Blochas not been nearly as smooth as several authoritarian states' transition to democracy.
According to Kirkpatrick, authoritarian regimes merely try to control and/or punish their subjects' behaviors, while totalitarian regimes moved beyond that into attempting to control the thoughts of their subjects, using not only
propaganda, but brainwashing, re-education, widespread espionageon private citizens, and mass political repressionbased on state ideology. Nazi Germanyand the Soviet Unionare usually grouped together as archetypicalexamples of totalitarian regimes. Totalitarian regimes also often attempt to undermine or destroy community institutions deemed ideologically tainted (e.g., religiousones, or even the nuclear family), while authoritarian regimes by and large leave these alone. For this reason, she argues that the process of restoring democracy is easier in formerly authoritarian than in formerly totalitarian states, and that authoritarian states are more amenable to gradual reform in a democratic direction than are totalitarian states.
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