Did Jesse Helms do a good job?

I’m asking this in the context of his job as chair of the US Sub-committee of foreign relations (please feel free to correct me on the title of that committee, if I got it wrong).

A few points:

  1. I had read recently that he only ever made one trip abroad while holding that office - to Mexico. Is that commendable - not being there on the ground in foreign countries to get a feeling for the lay of the land?

  2. he led the US Senate to oppose the International War Crimes Tribunal in 1998, placing the US in the dubious position of joining Iraq, Libya, Qatar, Yemen, China and Israel in opposing it;

  3. has called the UN “the nemesis of millions of Americans”, apparently without regard to the UN’s non-controversial and entirely benevolent functions through UNICEF and WHO.

What is his legacy?

Well, during Helms’ well-publicised attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts, he was joined in his strident criticisms by a minor politicial figure. That person rode Helms’ coattails into the national spotlight, setting him on a path to where he is today.

That person was Texas Governor George W. Bush.

OK. For your points:

  1. Irrelevant

  2. He had a valid point, in that he thought Third World nations with gripes about the US might come to dominate the Court, and use it against the US. This has not happened - so far the court has been a tool of the West, if anything. But given the history of the UN, the concern is a legitimate one.

  3. Much of the US (not just Helms) concern over the UN goes past the issue of whether the work they did is good or bad. It concerns where the money is going, and how well it is being run. It is widely agreed that for many years the UN was run as a bloated inefficient beurocracy, answerable to no one. The US, with Helms playing a prominent role, used the disproportionate US contribution as a lever to prod them to clean up their act a bit.

Having said all that, I must say that I have not followed the matter all that closely. But I have always admired Helms for his principled stands on issues, and my impression of his work on Foreign Relations has been a positive one. I don’t think the points you make detract from it, but I may be wrong. Perhaps someone who follows it more closely will turn up.

Chas E., I don’t think your second sentence is factual. Any source?

IMHO he did a lousy job at that and several other things. I hope and pray to OM that the jerk gets out of office soon.

I live now in NC, his home state, and am teetering between shocked and horrified at some of the statements that this man has made while in office.

One thing you gotta give Jesse Helms credit for…He is one hell of a poster boy for liberal causes. One probably can’t even begin to estimate how much money has been contributed out of fear and loathing of Jesse. Even evil has its silver lining!

Principles like xenophobia and racism and homophobia and…? With principles like these to stand by, who needs pragmatic self-interest!?!

I don’t think this is true. Whoever is the most conservative politician out there will automatically be a poster boy for liberal causes. And the same goes for liberal politicians.

These are just labels. I’ve not seen his principles to be objectionable. But again, I have not followed his career too closely.

IzzyR, how is the failure to keep yourself appraised of situations in other countries, as the chair of the US Senate sub-committee on Foreign Affairs, an “irrelevant” issue?

I’m sure the US intelligence-gathering network provided the good Senator with an abundance of material from other countries. But its one thing to read a report, and another thing to be there on the ground and get a feel for what is happening.

Helms is a notorious isolationist. This shouldn’t extend to his responsibility to proect his country’s interests to keep himself fully and properly appraised of internetaional sentiment. The failure to go and visit other countries, to perpetuate “foreign relations”, seems to me to be grossly negligent.

I am inclined to think that this is not true.

So am I. Maybe that’s what it is. :wink:

I believe he did a great job…

the only problem being the job he was actually elected to had nothing to do with the circus.

I think Helms was successful in spearheading the causes he chose. If you are a liberal, you aren’t going to like him. He is the fundraising guy for the left. Take a speech he made, put it in a letter and send it to the liberals. Money will pour in. The right does the same with Hillary or Ted Kennedy. I don’t go as far right as Helms, but to say he hasn’t done good at DOING WHAT HE WANTED is incorrect. No if the question is did he have the “right” beliefs? Then I can only answer that from my OWN perspective.

WW, setting aside the issue of the “right beliefs”, I still think it comes with the territory that as one of the US governments most influential people on the issue of foreign affairs, you’ve got to do the job properly. Finger on the pulse, that sort of thing.


How so?
I am living abroad, the second country I have lived in which is not my home country. Being in another country, even as a tourist, and, I’d suggest, even as the Chair of the Senate Sub-committee on Foreign Affairs, gives you an insight into that other country which you just can’t appreciate from a text.

I disagree with almost everything Jesse Helms stands for, but I loved him as the voice of Foghorn Leghorn.

I guess we’ll have to just disagree on this.

Well, that’s kind of the trouble. I say that Helms hasn’t been very successful at doing what he wanted, even when I agree with what he wants.

I was every bit as outraged as Helms when Castro sent MiG-29s to kill Cuban refugees in international airspace. But I damn well knew that increased economic sanctions weren’t going to affect Castro or his policy in the least, and when Helms pushed new economic sanctions through in response to the murders, guess what: they didn’t affect Castro or his policy in the least.

He’s also killed foreign aid to Nicaragua because Sandinista communists still hold some offices. This has succeeded in making Nicaragua poorer, but has yet to remove a single FSLN member from office. And of course it plays directly into the Sandinistas’ hands when they want to paint America as Nicaragua’s enemy.

In short, I can’t think of a single thing Helms has done as chairman of Senate Foreign Affairs that has actually brought about the result that Helms ostensibly intended.