Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing Worldby Margaret Thatcher
I wanted to write one more book and I wanted it to be about the future.
Few leaders have stood on the brink of change to the extent of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Now this commanding world figure draws upon her unrivaled political experience to comment on the threats that democracy faces at the dawn of the new millennium and on the… See more details below
I wanted to write one more book and I wanted it to be about the future.
Few leaders have stood on the brink of change to the extent of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Now this commanding world figure draws upon her unrivaled political experience to comment on the threats that democracy faces at the dawn of the new millennium and on the role that Western powers should play in the world's hot spots, especially in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
Reflecting on the lessons of the Cold War, Thatcher outlines the foundation of U.S. dominance and its responsibilities as the only global superpower. She offers prescient observations about the dangers posed by Balkan instability, rogue states, Islamic extremism, and international terrorism and suggests strategies to counter them. In addition, she examines current trends in Russia, China, India, the Far East, Europe, and, particularly, Great Britain. Noting how every contemporary problem evokes demands for a global solution, Thatcher also warns of overreliance on international institutions at the expense of nation-states.
Statecraft is an incisive treatise on power in the age of globalism, written by a legendary world statesman with a matchless combination of principles, experience, and shrewdness.
The first covers a hitherto-neglected aspect of President Ronald Reagan's career. It is Reagan's War: The Epic Story of His Forty Year Struggle and Final Triumph Over Communism, by Peter Schweizer (Doubleday, $26, available Oct. 15). Schweizer is an old friend and is one of the foremost historians of the Reagan era. He begins his work, appropriately, with negative comments about Reagan by such intellectual giants as Clark Clifford. Schweizer traces in great detail Reagan's struggle against the communist infiltration and domination of Hollywood in the 1940s, as well as its effect on Reagan's presidency in the 1980s.
The monumental achievement of Reagan's lonely, lifelong struggle against communism was his final victory in the Cold War. And make no mistake, it was Reagan's victory. Schweizer's summation tells all: "Those virtues that Reagan so admired--courage and character--are what the nearly half-century battle against communism required most of him. Sometimes his strong views brought physical threats against his life and family. More often, they would prompt ridicule or denunciation of him as a dangerous ignoramus. In either case, Reagan unflinchingly pressed on, opposed by old friends,cabinet officers, and sometimes even members of his own family."
As Ronald Reagan said: "We must be guided not by fear, but by courage and moral clarity." This is precisely what we most need today. We are fortunate to have in President Bush a leader who knows and follows the same beck-oning light.
Another Cold War warrior, William F. Buckley Jr., has once again turned his exceptional, indeed Renaissance-like, skills to writing a novel about a pivotal historic event. Nuremberg: The Reckoning (Harcourt, $25) brings to life the complex tale of the victorious Allies' attempts to bring to justice the surviving perpetrators of the Nazi horror. Through his great skills of storytelling and character development, Buckley blends fictional characters and actual his-tory and makes the reader feel he is a participant.
Buckley has used this device before in his books on Joseph McCarthy; James Angleton, the CIA operative; and, oddly enough, Elvis Presley. Nuremberg is Buckley's 15th novel and is one of his best. It is so masterfully written that you are compelled to go back to some of the original source material to verify that such things really hap-pened.
Lady Margaret Thatcher's two-volume memoir was a huge bestseller in Europe and here. In it she wrote of her constant struggle against the conventional wisdom, her determination to change the world and her ultimate successes. She is one of the few people whose strong presence on the stage of history has changed and improved that history. Along with President Reagan, and perhaps one or two others, Lady Thatcher should be given credit for bringing the thrall of communism to an end and for restoring capitalism, freedom and democracy.
Margaret Thatcher's newest book, Statecraft (HarperCollins, $34.95), is about the future, and should be read for what it is: the wise counsel of a supremely successful stateswoman and Britain's greatest peacetime leader. Statecraft relays how the West won the Cold War and "created the basis for today's freedom and prosperity." To give permanency to these achievements, we must remain "vigilant and strong," and Lady Thatcher details how this can and must be done. Her ideas are rightly and persuasively argued--and lead the reader to the famous Thatcher conclusion: "There is no alternative." Those who object to such polemicism should recall how often Margaret Thatcher was right and be grateful for her unambiguous and unnuanced conclusions and advice. Hers is the kind of guidance we urgently need. And the more it is followed, the better off we will all be.
Double Lives: Stories of Extraordinary Achievement, by David Heenan (Davies-Black Publishing, $24.95), tells the story of ten remarkable people who, not satisfied with their own extraordinary "day jobs," carved out second vocations equally, if not more, fulfilling. Winston Churchill is Heenan's prime example. In addition to being a statesman, Churchill was an author, painter and orator--and excelled at all. Theodore Roosevelt was likewise a great statesman, but he was also a historian and scientist. Another example: pediatrician and poet Dr. William Carlos Wil-liams.
Heenan describes the common characteristics of these doubly (and sometimes triply) endowed people as appar-ently boundless energy, firm independence and a willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. He himself exemplifies the multifaceted qualities he has found in his subjects: He is a university teacher, writer and trustee of the fabulous James Campbell Estate in Hawaii. Double Lives may make some readers envious, but it will stimulate others to do more every day.
Meet the Author
Born in 1925, Margaret Thatcher rose to become the first woman to lead a major Western democracy. She won three successive general elections and served as prime minister for more than eleven years, from 1979 to 1990, a record unmatched in the twentieth century.
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Cold War Reflections
At the time of writing these lines I have just learned that my portrait has been moved from the 'Contemporary' to the 'Historical' Room of London's National Portrait Gallery. This is perfectly fair. After all, eleven years have passed since I left Number Ten Downing Street. The world has, as they say, 'moved on' in all sorts of respects.
For example, in 1990 we could not have foreseen the huge impact which the information revolution would have upon business, lifestyles and even war. We could not have imagined that the mighty Japanese economy would have stalled so badly, or that China would have risen so fast. We could not have envisaged that perhaps the most chilling threat to Man's dignity and freedom would lie in his ability to manipulate genetic science so as to create, and re-create, himself. Nor, needless to say, would even the most far-sighted statesman have predicted the horrors of 11 September 2001.
But it is always true that the world that is can best be understood by those conversant with the world that was. And 'the world that was' the world which preceded today's world of dot.coms, mobile phones and GM food was one which saw a life-and-death struggle whose outcome was decisive for all that has followed.
Of course, just to speak of the 'Cold War' nowadays is to refer back to an era which seems a lifetime, not a mere decade and a half, ago. In truth, as I shall argue at many stages in this book, theunderlying realities have changed rather less than the rhetoric. But changes there have been and, on balance, ones of enormous benefit to the world.
People will continue to argue about the significance of the collapse of communism for as long as there are books to write and publishers to print them. But on Tuesday, 16 November 1999 a number of the main actors in those dramatic events myself among them met in Prague to put our own interpretations. It was ten years since the Czechoslovak 'Velvet Revolution' had led to the fall of one of the most hardline communist governments in Europe and its replacement by democracy.
I had not participated in the celebrations a few days earlier in Berlin held to mark the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I would have felt uneasy doing so. This was not because I felt any nostalgia for communism. The Wall was an abomination, an indisputable proof that communism was ultimately a system of slavery imposed by imprisoning whole populations. President Reagan had been right in 1987 to demand of the Soviet leader: 'Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'
But nor could I then or now regard Germany as just another country whose future was a matter for Germans alone to decide, without involving anybody else. A united Germany was bound to become once again the dominant power in Europe. It would doubtless be diplomatic, but it would also be culpably naïve, to ignore the fact that this German drive for dominance has led in my lifetime to two terrible, global wars during which nearly a hundred million people including of course nine million Germans died. The Germans are a cultured and talented people; but in the past they have shown a marked inability to limit their ambitions or respect their neighbours.
Awareness of the past and uncertainty about the future led President Mitterr and and me, with not very effective assistance from President Gorbachev, to try to slow down the rush to German unification. In the end, we failed partly because the United States administration took a different view, but mainly because the Germans took matters into their own hands, as in the end, of course, they were entitled to do. It was good that German reunification took place within NATO, thus avoiding the risk that it might have constituted a dangerous non-aligned power in the middle of Europe. It was also good that Germans were able to feel that they had won back control of their own country as a patriot myself I certainly do not deny anyone else the right to be patriotic. But it would be hypocritical to pretend that I did not have deep misgivings about what a united Germany might mean. So I had no intention of going to Berlin in October 1999 to spoil the party.
Prague, though, was a different matter entirely this was one party I hoped to enjoy. The Czechs, of course, have suffered the brunt of both Nazism and communism. And, having been failed by the democratic powers in the face of both totalitarian aggressions, they know a thing or two about the need for vigilance.
My favourite European cities all lie behind the former Iron Curtain St Petersburg (for its grandeur), Warsaw (for its heroism), Budapest (for its leafy elegance). But Prague is quite simply the most beautiful city I have ever visited. It is almost too beautiful for its own good. In 1947 the historian A.J.P. Taylor asked the then Czech President Edvard Benes why the Czech authorities had not put up stronger resistance to the seizure of Czechoslovakia by Hitler in 1939. Benes might, I suppose, have replied that the Czechs were taken unawares, deceived by German promises. Or he could have answered that the Czechs were outnumbered and so resistance was useless. Instead, to Taylor's surprise, he flung open the windows of his office overlooking the irreplaceable glories of Prague and declared: 'This is why we did not fight!'
The Czech Republic has been one of the more successful post-communist countries, thanks mainly to the visionary economic policies of its former Prime Minister, my old friend and Hayekian extraordinaire, Vaclav Klaus. But he could not have succeeded as he did had the Czechs not retained an instinctive understanding of how to make a civil society...
Statecraft. Copyright © by Margaret Thatcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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