The 20/20 foresight of Margaret Thatcher
3/21/2002 12:00:00 AM - Cal Thomas
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND -- Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher left office 12 years ago but in her just released book, "Statecraft" (HarperCollins), she settles some old scores and warns of severe consequences if Britain subsumes itself to a Euro currency and the European mentality.
In the book, serialized last week in The Times of London, Lady Thatcher again takes on the former leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, and buries him. She worries that people will forget what happened in the '80s as revisionists re-write history and pretend that Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were minor players in the Soviet collapse: "...the role of Ronald Reagan has been deliberately diminished; the role of the Europeans, who, with the exception of (former German Chancellor) Helmut Kohl, were often all too keen to undermine America when it mattered, had been sanitized; and the role of Mikhail Gorbachev, who failed spectacularly in his declared objective of saving communism and the Soviet Union, has been absurdly misunderstood."
Thatcher goes on at some length about Gorbachev because she believes the revisionists (including Gorbachev) want us to believe a falsehood. She recalls a Nov. 16, 1999 gathering in Prague attended by some of the "main actors" in the dramatic events that ended with the collapse of Soviet communism. At the meeting, she writes, Gorbachev denied there had been any victor in the Cold War. He accused people such as Thatcher of having a "superiority complex." She states that Gorbachev "asserted that no single ideology...had all the answers, and informed us that 'even the communists wanted to make the world a happier place.' It followed, of course, that since no side had won (or, doubtless more important to Mr. Gorbachev, no side had lost) and no single ideology was sufficient for the needs of the world today, the search for solutions must go on."
With exquisite understatement, Thatcher says Gorbachev's views have "doubtful validity."
More than just setting the record straight, Thatcher believes it's important for the future that the past be correctly remembered. Gorbachev's ideas, she writes, "represent the articulation of a strategy common to the left in many countries, of seeking to escape all blame for communism and then going on to take credit for being more pragmatic, modern and insightful about the world which those who actually fought communism have created. It is a pressing necessity to expose and defeat both distortions."
Thatcher says it was more than loyalty to her "old friend" Reagan that has caused her to remind us of the recent past: "...learning the wrong lessons could still result in adopting the wrong responses," she notes in the book.
Which brings her to Europe and the future. Because Europe three times in the last century was home to ideologies that lead to two hot wars and the Cold War, Thatcher passionately asserts in her book that Britain should resist Europe's siren call to scuttle the pound and immerse itself in the Euro and the European mindset. How's this for not mincing words: "Europe as a whole is fundamentally unreformable...Europe's plans for a single currency to rival the dollar, its furtive but rapid moves to create its own armed forces to substitute those of NATO, its ambition to create a common judicial area which will intrude upon national legal systems, and the current project of devising a European Constitution, all betoken one of the most ambitious political projects of modern times."
Thatcher says that the attempt to form a United Europe is fatally flawed because, unlike the United States -- after which the shapers of Europe claim to be patterning their plan -- Europe does not have a common language, culture and values.
"It is also flawed because the United States was forged in the 18th century and transformed into a truly federal system in the 19th century through events, above all through the necessities and outcomes of war," Thatcher writes. "By contrast, Europe is the result of plans. It is, in fact, a classic Utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme (cq) whose inevitable destiny is failure: only the scale of the final damage is in doubt."
No wonder the weenies of the Conservative Party decided 12 years ago that Thatcher must go. She made them all look and sound like castrated chickens.
"Statecraft" is more than a memoir. It is a book about Truth at a time when people prefer intellectual junk food to true nourishment.