My knowledge of the history of William F. Buckley pales in comparison to some of the amazing obituaries that are available. I highly recommend you seek them out. However, it has given me the opportunity to revisit the show Firing Line. We have nothing like this on television today, and never may again. Take the opportunity to view the two imbedded Youtube videos of Buckley and Noam Chomsky debating the ethical nature of interventionism and imperialism. It is simply a level of outstanding we may never see again. I may not agree with his politics, but he is perhaps the greatest debater I have ever had the pleasure of seeing:
EDIT: I will just point out that I say this, despite the fact that Chomsky clearly wins this particular debate.