Reagan and Thatcher . . . Romney and Netanyahu?

| April 9 2012
Christopher Cook

Those of us who care about America, and who are glad that the USSR is gone, look back with fondness at the close relationship between President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher. They didn’t see eye to eye on 100 percent of the issues they faced, though they did agree on a great deal. But what matters more is that they went into their interactions with the same overall philosophy and core ideas.

By “same overall philosophy and core ideas,” I don’t just mean supply-side economics, either. There were shared ideals deeper than that. Ideas such as these:

  • The American and British alliance MATTERS.
  • Democracies should stick together in defense of their shared ideals.
  • Market economies are good for human freedom; command economies crush human freedom.
  • Tyranny should be opposed.

They weren’t just in agreement on specific policy positions or even just on strategic policy goals. They walked into the room with the same core beliefs.

By contrast, it has been a source of great disappointment to watch Barack Obama interacting with our great allies such as Britain and Israel. Simply put, he starts out with a completely different core philosophy than our 40th president did.

Obama looks at Britain—and even his own nation, the United States—through a leftist lens. We have been too strong. We have been oppressors. We are just two more nations in the world. Britain was a colonial oppressor—including of his ancestral Kenya.

We also see it in his attitude towards Israel. The left has been treating Israel as a foe, to a continually increasing degree, for decades. Barack Obama’s dislike of Israel is palpable. His dislike of Benjamin Netanyahu is documented. In these, Barack Obama is what he is—a run-of-the-mill leftist. He just happens to be the president of the United States.

Those Americans . . .

  • who appreciate our alliances with fellow democracies,
  • who cherish our long-standing ties to the English-speaking nations of the world, which have been among the world’s most good and decent nations ever,
  • who believe that it is essential that the nation of Israel be supported against the sea of enemies in which she floats, and
  • who generally prefer having good relations with allies and cautious relations with strategic rivals and foes (as opposed to Obama’s policy, which appears to be the reverse)

. . . may appreciate a change that Mitt Romney brings to the table:

The two young men had woefully little in common: one was a wealthy Mormon from Michigan, the other a middle-class Jew from Israel.

But in 1976, the lives of Mitt Romneyand Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.

That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue. Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly.

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.

Knowing that Romney—a man who is potentially our next president—has an existing close friendship with one of our most important allies augurs a refreshing change. A good percentage of Americans are no doubt eager to see the era of America’s head of state bowing to autocrats and kissing leftist thugs come to an end.

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