Ronnie's Friend Maggie

Margaret Thatcher was Reagan's Churchill; he was her FDR. Their countries, and the world, felt the force of their friendship

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Manchester Daily Express / SSPL / Getty Images

Thatcher, here with husband Dennis, became a defining figure on the world.

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The Roosevelt-Churchill/Kennedy-Macmillan/Reagan-Thatcher model has endured--and as always in politics, the results have been for better and for worse. Tony Blair's decision to stand with Bill Clinton during the American President's impeachment woes helped sustain Clinton and was an early sign that the scandal was not something that the rest of the world would ultimately take very seriously. Blair was quick to cultivate the second President Bush and was a critical ally in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11 and, more notoriously, in the preparation for the Iraq war. Blair's reputation has yet to recover fully from the charge that he was overly deferential to the Bush Administration's press to topple Saddam Hussein come what may--a reminder that allies who save you in one hour can wound you in others. As Churchill and Thatcher knew, such is the nature of politics in a fallen world. The only thing worse than having allies, Churchill remarked, is not having them. In his last Cabinet meeting in 1955, Churchill gave his colleagues a solemn benediction: "Never be separated from the Americans." It's counsel that his successors, the Iron Lady chief among them, have never forgotten.

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