ad Jay: (…) If you are fighting to defend a small British community 8000 miles away from home against foreign military aggression, and if someone in that part of the world offers logistical help, what the heck are you going to do? (…)
Excerpt from her speech held at the Blackpool Conservative Party Conference in 1999:
Today I break my self-denying ordinance. And for a very good reason, namely to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet. But first I want to extend a personal welcome to our Chilean guests, who have come half way round the world to be with us. They should understand the deep sense of shame and anger we feel at the way in which Chile - its honour, its dignity, its sovereignty and its former ruler - have been treated.
I do not know when or how this tragedy will end. But we will fight on for as long as it takes to see Senator Pinochet returned safely to his own country. Chileans can rest assured that, however contemptibly this Labour Government behaves, the British people still believe in loyalty to their friends.
Chile is our oldest friend in South America. Our ties are very close and have been ever since Admiral Cochrane helped free Chile from oppressive Spanish rule. He must be turning in his grave to see Britain now encouraging Spain’s arrogant interference in Chilean affairs. (…)
With all due respect, but her blindness is sickening. She calls a military dictator who is responsible for the killing and torturing of thousands of people a “ruler”?!
She indiscriminately refers to supporters of the dictator as if they represented the entire Chilean population to stir up some nationalistic feelings as if the British had attacked Chile.
And then she goes on and obviously thinks it fit to put the then Spanish goverment on the same level as the “oppressive Spanish rule” over Chile. What if current statesmen used the British oppressive rule over India as an argument in the next negotiations with the UK for example? This kind of behaviour simply is unworthy of an intelligent woman (which she obviously was).
When she said that Admiral Cochrane must have been turning in his grave, I really can’t even begin to imagine what was turning in her head while she was giving that speech.
“Loyalty to their friends?” So, if a criminal does something good for you, all of a sudden his crimes are all forgotten and forgiven?
Her entire speech was not really worthy of a statesperson, ridiculing the Spanish legal system
(…) The chance of Senator Pinochet’s receiving anything resembling what we in Britain would recognise as ‘justice’ in a Spanish court as minimal …(…)
and lashing out at the Spanish government in general by resorting to slandering generalizations
(…) to collaborate with Spain, whose bullying of Gibraltar is a daily outrage, yet treats our Chilean allies with contempt. (…)
Honestly, I wonder if she realized what she was saying there. Let me get this straight, a democratically elected (albeit socialist) Spanish government is called a bunch of bullies, BUT a general who ousted a democratic government and terrorized an entire country for years is an ally?!
With all due respect, Jay, the “Pinochet connection” was not just based on some military assistance, it was exemplary of how she saw the world: You serve me and my country, and I basically don’t give a sh… who you are and what you do. She clearly stated on many occasions what she thought of the concept of “compromise”. She considered it a weakness, if not outright stupidity. It was all or nothing for her, and the way she preferred it was all for her and nothing for those she considered to be her enemies.
This does not mean, however, that everything she did was wrong. She must have done a few things right because the UK was generally speaking in a better shape after her term of office than when she came to power. But as for the Pinochet connection as you call it, I just can’t be as forgiving and understanding as you are.
I find it also quite ironic that she fought a military regime (the Argentinian junta was just as terrible as Pinochet) with the help of another criminal and treats the latter like a hero while the first are the pure devil in her eyes.
ad Friedemann: (…) I have no ideas how one lives with decisions that caused other people’s lives, like Thatcher (Falkland), GW Bush (Iraq), or our former Chancellor Schmidt, when he refused to negotiate with hostage takers in the 70ies. (…)
I agree with you that war should be avoided whenever possible but there are times when it is necessary to fight in order to avoid an even worse course of events. We all know what terrible consequences the “appeasement policy” of the 1930s had when Hitler started his rampage.
What would have been a viable option in the Falkland crisis? Negotiate with a military junta? You do realize that for such people negotiations are no option, don’t you? They killed children and women by the thousands and you think these people will sit down at a table to negotiate? They needed the attack as a diversion from the economic and social problems in their country. That’s what all dictatorships do. They find themselves an enemy and attack and resort to some brainless national rhetoric. If the Hungarians attacked Austria to get “Burgenland” back and if Austria attacked Italy to get “Südtirol” back, what should the reactions be? You cannot just let people get away with attacking another country and oppressing its people.
The Iraq war is a totally different matter. It was nothing but a bloody hunt for oil. The Bush administration felt hurt in its pride, after all Hussein no longer wanted to play the dog on the leash as he had done for so many years. He was good enough for the US when he started the war against Iran for example. Everybody knew that he was just as evil then as he was when they invaded Iraq.
As for the hostage takers and Chancellor Schmid, I just could not live with that feeling of guilt either. I’m sure he could have saved some lives then and Germany would have still remained a democracy. When principles are put before the lives of people, it is always the innocent that suffer the most.
(…) That probably also means that I don’t have what it takes to become a head of state. (…)
I wouldn’t give up hope quite yet