April 18, 2013
AFTER ALL, WHO DO THEY HAVE FOR ALLIES...BESIDES THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD?:
Thatcher's legacy is Britain's isolation (Anne-Marie Slaughter, 4/17/13, Financial Times)
Thatcher is venerated by today's Tories for standing up to the EU to "get our money back", but her underlying view of Europe is best revealed in her fierce and deeply misguided opposition to German reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Chancellor Helmut Kohl recalls in his memoirs that Thatcher told a gathering of European leaders: "We beat the Germans twice and now they are back." French diplomatic notes reveal conversations with President François Mitterrand in which both leaders envisioned a united Germany that would exercise more influence in Europe than Hitler ever had. Although both Thatcher and Mitterrand ultimately came around, and Thatcher stood firmly for the expansion of the European Community to former Soviet states in eastern and central Europe, her instincts were completely out of touch with modern Europe.Thatcher supported the European Community, an economic union, but described the more political EU as "perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era". That is the legacy she has bequeathed to her party. Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on British membership in the EU and his plan to renegotiate the terms of that membership risk relegating Britain to the status of little more than a bit player in global politics.
When you think Europe remains significant you've misunderstood the world.Posted by Orrin Judd at April 18, 2013 5:20 AM