THE KIRKPATRICK MISSION by Allan Gerson

THE KIRKPATRICK MISSION

Diplomacy Without Apology: America at the United Nations 1981-1985

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A firsthand account of the perils of American diplomacy at the UN during Jeane Kirkpatrick's tenure, written from Gerson's position as her expert in international law. Gerson's first ``unofficial'' assignment--to find a legal pretext for preventing an increase in the number of PLO observers at the UN--proved a lesson in behind-the-scenes politics, revealing hostility and poor communication between Kirkpatrick and her own boss, Secretary of State Haig, and widely diverging views among Kirkpatrick's advisers. For Gerson, the dismal state of affairs at the UN overshadowed any dissension in the ranks, however, and he represents this period as the nadir of American influence, when the US and Israel alone faced the mob-mannered diplomacy of the General Assembly and Security Council. Individual disasters appear as a series of case studies--the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, KAL-007, Grenada, the loss to Nicaragua in the International Court--but the primary emphasis remains on the Middle East, from the first debates on PLO observers to terrorist acts by both Arabs and Israelis, leading to Israel's invasion of Lebanon and the ensuing crisis in 1982. Unfortunately, here these moments of crisis often have the trappings of tawdry melodrama, with Kirkpatrick efficient and imperious, and Gerson either gravely analytical or boyishly breathless as the pair holds forth against un-American activity. Loosely joined, dulled by a siege mentality, and overstuffed with excerpts from UN meetings--but nevertheless an informed view of the neoconservative mind-set in American diplomatic circles during Reagan's first term.

Pub Date: June 17th, 1991
ISBN: 0-02-911611-2
Page count: 316pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991