Pookie Monster

Various things that you may not yet know about, but should.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Thatcher's 'Statecraft', Part I

'Statecraft' is a very broad-based book, taking in at a gulp the lessons of the Cold War, Russia, Asia, the War on Terror, the use of 'human rights' to advance a leftist program, the interventions against Serbia, and the unification of Europe. Much of it, therefore, lacks detail, but is tied together by her familiar unflinching advocacy for individual liberty.

She recommends the autobiography of Akio Morita, founder of Sony, entitled ' Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony'. It's on my 'to read' list, which is just getting more and more backlogged as time goes by.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Peng provides entertainment during her 1991 visit there when she brought up the bloody Cultural Revolution. "Li Peng then repeated another standard line - namely that the Communist Party had subsequently addressed those mistakes. Mao had acknowledged that there were excesses. I said that Mao ought to know: after all he was himself the archpriest of the Cultural Revolution. This, I knew, was something that even today's Chinese communists are not prepared to admit. Li Peng at this became altogether incoherent."

On the International Criminal Court: "Major international interventions are doomed unless the US is directly or indirectly involved. [Earlier she speaks highly of the Balkan intervention, criticizing it only for not being assertive enough against Serbia.] But if American politicians, officials, and servicemen are to be put at risk of arrest and prosecution, the United States will be more reluctant to act in order to curb aggression or prevent genocide."

On modern democracy: "Political leaders have never mixed so much with their own kind and so little with others. There have never been so many international gatherings; the democratic restraints of parliamentary accountabilty have never been weaker; and the temptation to forget one's roots and abandodn one's principles has never been greater. Presidenta and Prime Ministers have to struggle as never before to keep their feet on the ground, and the risk is that many will give up the effort altogether. National electorates should be alert to this."

She is at her best, though, in the two chapters about the ever-tighter European Union. In brief, she's against it and persuaded that future generations will consider it a "folly".

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