Gen. Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, died a few days ago. In 1973, I was outraged when Pinochet (quite possibly with American backing) seized power from the elected leftist ruler Salvador Allende, whom I admired, and commenced a bloody campaign of repression. Today, I have a different view of Allende, but not of Pinochet.
David Frum explains why he too has “no tears for Pinochet.” As Frum notes, “it is certainly strange to see those ideological corners that once bitterly denounced Pinochet now bitterly denouncing the idea that the US has any stake in the promotion of democracy beyond its borders.” At the same time, “the fact that liberals cannot keep their lines straight is no excuse for fluffing ours on the right.” Thus, the fact that Pinochet instituted some successful market-based economic policies in Chile cannot save him from sharp condemnation.
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