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Kirkpatrick doctrine

The Kirkpatrick doctrine was a political doctrine expounded by United States Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick in the early 1980s which attempted to justify American support for third world dictatorships with bad human rights records and opposition to communist governments.

The doctrine was that the communist states which the United States opposed were totalitarian regimes while the third-world dictatorships which the United States supported were authoritarian ones. The doctrine further argued that totalitarian regimes were more dangerous because they were more stable than authoritarian regimes.

The Kirkpatrick doctrine was strongly criticized for justifying United States support for regimes with bad human rights records.

Interestingly, one of the tenets of the Kirkpatrick doctrine that totalitarian regimes are more stable than authoritarian regimes was quickly proven in error with the collapse of the Soviet Union which occurred unexpectedly within a decade of the invention of the doctrine.

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