Margaret Thatcher Was Less Worthy of U.S Respect Than Nelson Mandela?
Four U.S. Presidents, current and former, will attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela. Upon his death, flags were ordered flown at half mast. Nelson Mandela, no matter what one's opinion of him, was indeed a historical figure who sacrificed much to end a morally evil system of government that denied rights to citizens based upon their race. He was of great service to the transformation of South Africa.
Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, was not only a historical figure in British history but she was also a tremendous ally of the United States during the Cold War. She stood side by side with the U.S. during a time when it was not domestically popular to do so. Both her economic and foreign polices helped to maintain Great Britain as a serious player in the world affairs.
Upon the death of the Iron Lady, however, this administration did not bother to fly the flags at half mast. Not only did the president not attend her funeral, but no member of his cabinet deemed it worth their while either. To further the insult, no former president considered the death of this woman significant enough to fly to England. All of them, except for the very frail George H.W. Bush, will rush to South Africa for their photo op.
This would seem to be a trend among the American political elites to think of themselves, not as Americans who appreciate American allies, since that would be crass and jingoistic, but rather as citizens of the world who are grateful they are allowed to attend the "popular" events so that they may feel part of the "in crowd."
When you have president who returns a bust of Winston Churchill as a deliberate spit in the face to a longtime ally and showing public contempt for the Prime Minister of Israel while bowing to Saudi royalty and patting the thighs of Russian oligarchs to let them know they are on their side, we are faced with an administration whose ultimate dream seems to be an America that simply fades into the background to be replaced by...who knows what.
Victor Keith writes from Burbank, California and can be contacted at victorakeith.com