Monday, April 08, 2013

Goodbye To A Great Leader: Margaret Thatcher Dies

It's a sad day today, as one of the three most important leaders during the 1980s has passed on: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (UK Telegraph).
Lady Thatcher died at the Ritz hotel at about 11am after suffering a stroke. Her children were not at her bedside as they were abroad. Her doctor and carer were there when she died. 
Buckingham Palace said the Queen was saddened by the news.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said: "We've lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton.
"She didn't just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she'll go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister."
Known as the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher governed Britain from 1979 to 1990.
She will go down in history not only as Britain's first female prime minister, but as the woman who transformed Britain's economy in addition to being a formidable rival on the international stage.
Lady Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply.
Many features of the modern globalised economy - monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade - were all promoted as a result of policies she employed to reverse Britain’s economic decline.
Above all, in America and in Eastern Europe she was regarded, alongside her friend Ronald Reagan, as one of the two great architects of the West’s victory in the Cold War.
Of modern British prime ministers, only Lady Thatcher’s girlhood hero, Winston Churchill, acquired a higher international reputation.
 Here's Thatcher taking on liberals in the Parliament about socialism, a philsophy she was also quoted as noting "the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money."

and her 2004 euology to her friend and fellow leader of the free world against Soviet Communism, Ronald Reagan.

John O'Sullivan of National Review has noted that Thatcher, along with Reagan and Pope John Paul II "changed the world."
A prominent journalist has argued recently that international political, economic and social breakdown were largely averted during the 1980’s due to the personal and political alignments between Pope John Paul II, President Ronald Reagan, and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In his recently-released book, The Pope, The President, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World, National Review Editor-at-Large and Hudson Institute Fellow John O’Sullivan offers new research illuminating the three “hopeful” and “confident” personalities, and the way they forged relationships of mutual trust through their alliances and disagreements in a period of international upheaval and personal trial.
Crediting Reagan and Thatcher for reversing the economic “malaise,” stagflation, and defeatism in the American and British collective psyche, O’Sullivan chronicles the political risks both Thatcher and Reagan took to transform the world economy into a post-industrial, information-age economy that today has achieved “eighteen years of high growth with stable prices, scarcely interrupted by two mild and shallow recessions.” 
Spanning the decade of the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s, the narrative draws clear connections between the complex crises of martial law in Poland, Marxist regimes in Latin America, wars in Grenada and the Falkland Islands, and standoffs over nuclear weapons. O’Sullivan makes accessible to the layman the thinking behind the Christian “personalism” of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, the pontiff’s support for human rights and women’s equality, and the way disobedience among some radical bishops on issues from “liberation theology” to artificial contraception sowed the seeds of today’s disputes over international social policy.
Extensive interviews and archival material show the way today’s anti-Americanism and radical international social agenda in Western Europe and American academia sprang from the pro-communist sentiments and the “peace” movements beginning in 1968. A declassified Top Secret KGB letter describes a pre-presidential election visit by Senator Edward Kennedy to Soviet leader Yuri Andropov. Kennedy requested the audience, “in the interest of world peace…to counteract the militaristic policies of Ronald Reagan.” The book also shows that Western Europe was the only part of the world that became increasingly leftist during the period. 
Comparing the way all three leaders escaped assassination attempts, O’Sullivan argues that they were seemingly destined to rise from terminal middle management positions to top leadership positions simultaneously and were then “spared for a greater purpose.” He shows how each leader answered the question, “Did God guide the bullet?” and how the narrow escapes affected each leader’s spiritual life and political future. 
Pointing to their legacies, O’Sullivan writes, “John Paul’s sermons and speeches in Poland were injunctions to people not to despair in the face of overwhelming force, but instead to hope in God and trust their fellow man. Reagan preached confidently of a coming age of liberty that would bring about the end of Communism. Thatcher believed in “vigorous virtues” that, once liberated from the shackles of socialism, would enable the British and people everywhere to improve their own lives. In very different styles, all were enthusiasts for liberty.”
Nancy Reagan said:
“I am terribly saddened today to learn of the death of Margaret Thatcher. The world has lost a true champion of freedom and democracy. 
It is well known that my husband and Lady Thatcher enjoyed a very special relationship as leaders of their respective countries during one of the most difficult and pivotal periods in modern history. Ronnie and Margaret were political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end Communism. As Prime Minister, Margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to “rock the boat.” As a result, she helped to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of millions of people. 
Ronnie and I knew her as a dear and trusted friend, and I will miss her. The United States knew Margaret as a spirited and courageous ally, and the world owes her a debt of gratitude. 
My heart goes out to Mark, Carol and the entire Thatcher family.”

Those three did change the world, and left it with more freedom and prosperity than when they came to their positions of responsibility.

Rest in Peace Lady Thatcher. How we need another Iron Lady, especially in America today.

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