20130409

Iron Lady (Ashes To Ashes, Rust To Rust), Meet Hugo Chavez

For people like me who grew up during the 1970s-1980s, Margaret Thatcher was an outstanding marker in politics: preceded and succeded by nobodies at home, she saw the USSR shift from Leonid Brezhnev to Michail Gorbachev, the USA shift from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan (nevermind 41), the Germanies of Helmut Schmidt and Erich Honecker shift to Helmut Kohl's reunited Germany, France shift from Valery Giscard d'Estaing to Francois Mitterrand, the Vatican shift from Paul VI to John Paul II, South Korea shift from PARK Chung-hee to ROH Tae-woo, and North Korea shift from KIM Il-sung to KIM Il-sung. She even outruled by a few months her old friend Augusto Pinochet.

CNN's weird choice of a background picture to announce the passing of Margaret Thatcher: with the now infamous Jimmy Saville. Thaville and Satcher? Note that it could have been even worse for the Iron Lady: a picture of her with Ronald Reagan.
Margaret Thatcher embodied at the same time the United Kingdom and its very negation, always the present or the past, never the future. In many ways, she was a caricatural leader, sharing traits with statesmen she didn't share many ideas with.

So who resembles most Margaret Thatcher as a leader? Certainly not Angela Merkel or Julia Gillard, who've done little more than winning against Gerhard Schroeder and Kevin Rudd, and then benefiting from their reforms.

I'd rather look in the supposedly opposite direction. Why not Hugo Chavez? Both he and Thatcher revived a nation by stubbornly replacing obsolete ideologies with obsolete ideologies.

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