Blogs > Frye on the News

Keeping his eye on the news and offering commentaries and insights on what is happening in Oakland County, around the world, on the tube and in the news.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

World leaders, Margaret Thatcher and Kim Jong Un

Feel how you may about Margaret Thatcher, the beloved by many, hated by maybe more, British prime minister who died this week, she showed what it was to be a serious world leader.

She is well known here in the US for her close alliance with Ronald Reagan.

I recall her from the national nightly news, mostly Dan Rather, that we watched at the dinner table of my childhood, leading the movement against unions and Soviets, leading a mysterious (to me at that young age) war for some islands by Argentina, fighting the Irish who wanted freedom, and working to help the British economy survive. All these stories were followed here in the US.

But I mention Thatcher not for her politics but for her stature in the world. Fellow leaders and particularly foes (domestic and international), I suspect, respected her. One part of her story is that she's a woman, much mentioned in her obituary. Little part of the narrative from her battles in the early 1980s, as I recall, dealt with her gender. It's an important part of her obituary, yes, but as a leader, she was prime minister first, a lady second.

Her death this week reminds us of the juvenile nature of international relations by North Korea's new boy-president. The video images out of the Communist state are scary, though very comical and amateurish. Shooting a gun, riding a boat, overseeing the border with South Korea are good for internal propaganda, perhaps, but Kim Jong Un, 29 or 30, is an imposing figure not for his leadership skills, military training or overall intelligence; rather, he is scary because he has nuclear weapons and appears to have some issues.

Let's hope it's all grandstanding for the sake of keeping his people in line, but he could wreak significant havoc on the region and the world's economy, making it necessary for us to respond to his threats and to bring the issues with China and Iran to a head.

It makes me remember Mrs. Thatcher fondly, because she and Reagan could go toe to toe with Soviet leaders, standing by principles while seeing a bigger picture, but still not drive the world into chaos. Kim Jong Un is a reminder that it is important for the US to meddle in other country's affairs to prevent incredible harms being brought onto many peoples.

Let him play ball with Dennis Rodman, though I must say it is interesting to read studies of who actually is in charge over there, as this Telegraph piece evaluates Kim Jong Un's aunt and uncle. Of course, it's interesting in the way "The Sopranos" was interesting.

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