James S. Denton, president of World Affairs Institute and writer and editor of this web site, died on June 18 after preventing prostate most cancers gamely for 12 years. He was my finest pal, and I shall miss him dearly, as is not going to solely his loving household but additionally an incredible many different pals. One in every of them, Peter Collier, as soon as commented to me aptly that Jim had an excellent expertise for friendship. All who labored with him and the establishments and packages that he shepherded will miss his management in addition to his collegiality.
I met Jim in 1984. He had learn an article of mine within the New Republic charging listening to that Senator Kennedy had held to show misdeeds by the so-called “contras” in Nicaragua was based mostly on fraudulent proof. Jim phoned me and launched himself and we organized to satisfy.
Joshua Muravchik with Jim Denton, 2011
He had come to DC solely that yr to imagine directorship of the Nationwide Discussion board Basis. His background was within the navy and the personal sector, not in political points. However he rapidly made his approach in coverage circles because of his congenial nature, his ingenuousness, and his deep curiosity in substantive questions. I consider that he acquired to know a lot of these he got here to work with by the identical easy technique via which he and I met. He would learn one thing that grabbed his consideration, then attain for the telephone and name the writer or the topic of the article, and a relationship would start, and generally a detailed friendship.
In my case, he did extra. He additionally reached out to the member of Senator Kennedy’s employees accountable for that listening to who was embarrassed by the controversy. The 2 of them agreed to journey collectively to the distant outback of Nicaragua to attempt to resolve the story—though it remained elusive.
The readiness to enterprise out to dicey locations was attribute of Jim. He was intrepid and brimmed with mental curiosity. As Communist regimes started to totter in Jap Europe in 1988, he traveled to Poland and Czechoslovakia and acquired himself chased by police within the midst of an “unlawful” demonstration.
This was the primary of numerous visits to that a part of the world. Quickly after the Communists fell, Jim devised a program to assist rising younger leaders discover ways to ply their crafts of politics or journalism in a democratic setting. He introduced teams of them that he would choose, himself, to the US for multi-month apprenticeships in American authorities or information organizations. Persevering with group after group for a few years, Jim’s program helped to coach a complete swath of the management of post-Communist Central Europe.
In 1997, Jim merged the Nationwide Discussion board Basis with Freedom Home, which then grew to become the sponsor of his program in Central Europe. Freedom Home, probably the most venerable worldwide human rights group, had hit on laborious occasions, drowning in purple ink. Jim took over as government director, and guided the group again to solvency.
Within the subsequent decade, Jim grew to become government director of Heldref publications below the aegis of Jeane Kirkpatrick, to whom he was an particularly solicitous and devoted pal within the final decade of her life when she was bereft of her husband, Evron. He strengthened immensely the funds of the charitable basis that owned Heldref, doing this partially by discovering a purchaser for the folio of educational journals it revealed.
However he stored one for which he had a imaginative and prescient. That was World Affairs. It was America’s oldest journal of worldwide relations, however circulation had fallen off and at occasions it failed even to publish on schedule. Taking over the position of writer, Jim introduced in a brand new editor and up to date and upgraded the journal dramatically. When that editor left, Jim assumed the editorship. He additionally inaugurated the web site on which you’re studying this.
His was a lifetime of nice achievement and lots of good deeds. Each would undoubtedly have been much more had the most cancers not stolen him from us. In ache, which he invariably belittled, and having been informed by his medical doctors that no additional remedies had been accessible, he labored till that Friday, spent Saturday stress-free with family members and enjoying together with his grandchildren, then took to his mattress and succumbed Monday morning, leaving a gap in my life and the lives of many others that won’t doubtless be stuffed.
James Steele Denton, 1951-2018
Obituary, The Washington Put up
Mourning the passing of Jim Denton, by Anne Applebaum. The Washington Put up.