MARGARET Thatcher came to Oklahoma 20 years ago and spoke about the importance of democracies and, especially, the need to stand firm against tyranny. It might serve President Barack Obama well to review some of what she said that day.
Thatcher, the former British prime minister who died Monday at age 87, visited Tulsa and Oklahoma City on March 25, 1993, as part of a speaker series sponsored by Oklahoma State University. She addressed a full house at Oklahoma City's Civic Center, telling attendees that totalitarian rulers needed to realize they won't ever win through military might “because we, the West, will see that you don't.”
The United States has since invested heavily to root out evil in Iraq and Afghanistan, of course. But the current occupant of the White House much prefers a “let's all get along” approach on the international stage, and indeed spent the early part of his first term apologizing to other countries for what he perceived as our heavy-handedness.
In an editorial Monday, The Wall Street Journal noted that other countries — many of them bad places like North Korea and Iran — have only enhanced their ability to produce nuclear weapons as the Obama administration has called for nuclear arms control. “On present trend, the president who promised to rid the world of nuclear weapons is setting the stage for their greatest proliferation since the dawn of the atomic age,” the Journal said.
Thatcher earned her “Iron Lady” nickname because she was tough and single-minded during her 11 years as prime minister. A champion of free markets, she helped transform Britain's economy, in part by winning tough battles with unions. She used military force to reclaim the Falkland Islands after they had been seized by an Argentine military junta. And along with President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, she is credited with helping win the Cold War.