The Recent Death of the Iron Lady is sad as all deaths are to any nation with pride in its Leadership. I honor her memory even though I personally did not know her.
However, I was involved in the Reagan Administration on both the INTEL side and the policy planning staff regarding key events that happened during Thatcher's leadership. I have to smile when I read how British Historians in retrospect take great pride in the fact that Mrs Thatcher ordered the attack on the Argentine Falkland Islands. This territory was little more than a group of rocky islands and military installations that were no threat to anyone other than the incompetent Junta Generals who occupied them. But the islands were in dispute and England cherished some forlorn desire to re-occupy them for the sake of national pride! So Maggie (no strategist she, unlike Winston Churchill) decided in one of her temperamental, irrational moments to commit the entire British armada to re-acquiring the Falklands. In the beginning this was a military joke but it turned into a tragedy when the British government decided to declare victory at all costs. Exocet missiles provided by who else??? yes, by the Israelis to the Argentine navy created quite a disproportionate amount of damage to the British navy.
The end result: Regardless of cost, manpower lost, and the complete absurdity of the undertaking of this war- the Iron Lady became a heroine in her own country! Sound familiar, do we see a pattern here?
At the time, my perspective and that of others who worked in both military and civilian INTEL groups found this exercise of power to be irresponsible, irrational and embarrassing. But as good British allies, the USG provided incredible intelligence to the British Armada that allowed the pathetic Junta regime to be defeated BUT at GREAT COST to BOTH SIDES.
The only senior official foolish and non-plussed enough to take credit for this foolhardy British undertaking was Sec Def Caspar Weinberger. He was so eager to help Maggie so he could get one of those medals from the Brits (The order of merit, most distinguished order of saint blah, blah…more scrambled eggs, chest candy, boy scout honor badges)…what humans will do for a decorative medallion is amazing! CW had no strategic sense (unlike Robert Gates, whom I admire). Weinberger was simply an anglophile and a sycophant. Enough said about the Falkland Folly.
On to the other serious accolade Maggie received in her eulogies, that she helped Reagan take down the Soviet Union. Allow me to set these historians straight, as you know, I helped prepare the architectural plans for Regime Change at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California. Although Reagan voraciously ate up the accolades for the regime change in the Soviet Union- the real credit (in the history blogs) should go to James Baker and Bush Sr. These two men are the real heroes of regime change. Along side were many CIA analysts and operatives and of course, Brent Scrowcroft who was Bush Sr right hand man and brilliant military strategist. These individuals were the key operatives who implemented the strategy for the Reagan/Gorbachev summit (For which I prepared a fact sheet broken down to: 1. opening moves, 2. middle game gamut 3. end game). Believe me, neither Schultz, Reagan or Maggie could understand this outline of strategic and tactical maneuvering that I created in the psyops between Gorbachev (formidable intellect and warm person) and Reagan the Borax Soap spokesperson.
Rest assured that when history catches up to the real accomplishments of Regime Change in the Soviet Union, the names of Schultz, Reagan and Thatcher will fade away. The truth of these deeds is that they are accomplished by individuals who work behind the scenes and refuse to write about their exploits. William Casey was one of these men and he directed the CIA when it was a formidable operation. But Maggie was no wall flower, and she made certain that her non-legacy was cemented in the BBC version of House of Cards, brilliant! And then there was Miramax's tribute that defined her as a demented old woman. A most fitting tribute to her judgement in foreign affairs. Deaths of heads of state create unbearable, absurd myth making but sometimes, someone just has to come along and reality test the truth. Cheerio!