All posts by Claire Berlinski

Margaret Thatcher: In the Name of Power

“The Iron Lady” paints a human picture of Margaret Thatcher. But the film, which opens Thursday in theaters, ignores her political legacy: her belief in state authority, and her victory over socialism.

March 1, 2012

(Published in German as “Margaret Thatcher: Im Namen der Macht”)

In 2007, I wrote There is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters. Shortly after the book’s publication, the Great Financial Meltdown began. The global economy is now sunk in a deep, prolonged recession, one so severe in its effects that many are asking whether the Left has been right about free markets all along. Even I have been tempted to wonder.

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Five myths about Margaret Thatcher

Challenging everything you think you know

Washington Post, December 22

Britain in the early 1970s was decayed, ungovernable and globally irrelevant, done in by the cumulative effect of postwar socialist reforms. Margaret Thatcher, who came to power as the nation’s first female prime minister in 1979, returned Britain to the realm of the great powers. Worshiped, feted, loathed and mocked, she is one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. And now Thatcher, as interpreted by Meryl Streep, will be coming to a theater near you in the movie “The Iron Lady,”opening Dec. 30.

But even those most sympathetic to her tend to misunderstand her personality, her governing style and her accomplishments. Let’s examine these misconceptions.

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Remembering the Iron Lady’s Legacy: Why Margaret Thatcher Still Matters

A new biopic has raised hackles, but her achievements are as relevant now as ever.

CITY A.M., London, November 21

The place is Britain; the year, 1978. It is the Winter of Discontent. Labor unrest has shut down public services, paralyzing the nation for months on end. Rubbish is piled high on the street. The government been obliged to supplicate for a loan from the International Monetary Fund. Soon the Soviet trade minister will tell his British counterpart, “We don’t want to increase our trade with you. Your goods are unreliable, you’re always on strike, you never deliver.”

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The Margaret Thatcher Era Isn’t Over Yet

Declarations to that effect are an insult to her legacy.

October 23, 2008

The cover of Newsweek recently announced that it’s the end of the era of Thatcher. The Washington Post followed suit. These headlines suggest a very significant confusion about what, precisely, Margaret Thatcher stood for. They are an injustice to her legacy.

It is true that Thatcher promoted deregulation. But the deregulation she favored had nothing to do with the meltdown on Wall Street.

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Anton Chekhov: The story master

Globe and Mail
November 1, 2008

“What does Grandma have to say about Chekhov?” Claire asked her brother, with whom she was instant-messaging.

Their grandmother woke up at ten every day, played the piano, or, if her legs were strong that day, went downstairs for the mail. She behaved with dignity and severity, and was considered the most cultured person in the family.

“She’s dozing,” wrote Mischa.

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True Lies

Arabies Trends, December 2001

THE PLACE IS simply mythical, its iconic status akin to the Taj Mahal or the Great Pyramids. Not a day passes without some nut trying to get past the front gates, driving up to the vehicle barriers with a 12,367-point list of demands from his alien masters or a desperate plea that the CIA stop beaming those obscene broadcasts into his dental fillings.

Once, I heard, a woman had driven to the gates, shambled out of her battered camper van, and removed a carefully-constructed helmet from her head.

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English Only Spoken Here

There’s a desperate shortage of foreign language speakers at our intelligence agencies. Not that they’re doing anything about it.

Weekly Standard
December 3, 2001, Vol. 7, No. 12

A RUMOR HAS BEEN CIRCULATING in intelligence circles that communications intercepted prior to September 11 referred in Arabic to a “Christmas gift” for the United States. What no one listening to these messages realized was that the same expression can mean “an unpleasant exploding surprise.”

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Spy vs. Spy

Weekly Standard, December, 2004
A review of CIA Spymaster, by Clarence Ashley

Clarence Ashley’s account of the life of the CIA’s most-decorated case officer, George Kisevalter, is apt to suffuse the old cold warriors at the Agency with nostalgia. A Russian émigré, Kisevalter handled Pyotr Popov, the CIA’s first major source inside Soviet military intelligence. He was key to the most successful operation in CIA history, the penetration of the Soviet military hierarchy by GRU colonel Oleg Penkovsky, and to the extraction and interrogation of the dipsomaniac defector Yuri Nosenko, supervisor of the KGB file on Lee Harvey Oswald. Those were the glory days, when the CIA could do no wrong — or at least, could do something right.

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The Absent Minded Adviser

The New York Sun, July 2004

SANDY BERGER WAS doing what? He was stuffing those documents where ?

What the hell was he thinking? That’s the question everyone is asking. But even the most nimble conspiracy theorists can’t figure this one out. Was he trying to keep something from the 9/11 Commission? That doesn’t make sense: The pilfered papers were photocopies, not originals. Was he planning to give them to the Kerry campaign? No logic in that, either. Kerry serves on the Foreign Relations Committee — he could have perused the National Archives whenever he wanted. Our former National Security Advisor has achieved a neat trick: He has engaged in behavior so moronic that it defies interpretation.

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D.C. Confidential

D.C. Confidential

National Review, December 1998

IN 1997, THE Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, chaired by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, concluded that the government classifies way too many documents – millions every year – while failing to distinguish among different sorts of documents and protect secrets of real importance. What’s more, the Commission argued, secrecy is inherently antithetical to open debate in a flourishing democracy, and the perception of a government bloated with secrets erodes public trust.

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