CITY OF LONDON, United Kingdom – Historian and author Niall Ferguson today delivered a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies’ inaugural Margaret Thatcher Liberty Conference, discussing the “wobbliness” of U.S. President Barack Obama, and noting how former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher would have dealt with the challenges the West faces today.
Speaking in front of a several hundred strong crowd in the historic and grand surroundings of London’s Guildhall, Ferguson said that NATO was no longer a credible force in the world, which has led to the resurgence of Russia as a global power. Prime Minister Thatcher, he noted, would have “striven to make NATO a force… and urged President Obama to make the red line [with regard to Ukraine] a real one”.
Ferguson, who is the author of ‘Civilisation: The West and the Best‘ as well as being a history professor at Harvard University, said: “We are in cultural decline too… In the wake of victory [in 1991] came a serious decline of the West.
“Who would have predicted in 1989 that by the year 2014 that at least on one measure, China would be the biggest economy in the world, and still under the control of a Communist party? What a defeat.”
“Imagine how Margaret Thatcher would have responded to the fiascos we have seen in Syria and with respect to Ukraine,” he said, before going on to note that the former PM would have supported freedom-loving dissident movements in both countries, the opposite of what modern leaders have done.
“Have we made comparable efforts to support dissidents in the Middle east and North Africa, have we helped them in the way we helped the opponents of Communism? No, and not surprisingly their revolution failed and their revolution was hijacked by the enemies of freedom”.
Ferguson believes that a referendum on European Union membership would have been combatted by Thatcher, who would have fought to avoid a federal political union under Germany’s control. He said that “a British exit from the European Union would be a profound set back… but if the British voter is confronted with exit and being part of a German-led federal state – could you really blame [them] for voting for the exit?”
Lastly, Prof. Ferguson noted that the battle against radical Islam is perhaps the most serious issue the West faces today. He said: “It is the most rapidly growing threat to Western values,” and noted that Thatcher, who “stopped the leaders of the West – American Presidents – from going wobbly” would have her work cut out for her with President Obama, the “wobbliest president of modern times”.
“[Mrs. Thatcher] would have seen the vital strategic importance of the West [working] against the rise of radical Islam.
“That is the most important lesson we can learn from 1989. A fight against political Islam is the fight the footsoliders of freedom should be fighting today. Thatcher, were she with us, would support [this fight] whole heartedly”.