Tuesday, December 12, 2006

When Bad People Do Good Things

The Washington Post has a surprising editorial regarding General Pinochet's death. They note that despite his horrible human rights record, he left the Chilean economy and political structure in great shape (Chile is currently among the best in Latin America in both categories). This is in stark contrast with Cuba, where Castro has been just as bad on human rights, but has left the economy in shambles and the government is still a dictatorship. They conclude:
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.

I would have been surprised to see a publication like the Economist be so bold in praising Pinochet's impact. I never expected it from the Post!

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