Thursday, October 06, 2005

Personal Relationships and International Relations

National Review is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this week.

As part of the commemoration, the editors are posting notable articles from their archives, such as William F. Buckley's
publisher's statement explaining the purpose of establishing NR:
The launching of a conservative weekly journal of opinion in a country widely assumed to be a bastion of conservatism at first glance looks like a work of supererogation, rather like publishing a royalist weekly within the walls of Buckingham Palace. It is not that, of course; if NATIONAL REVIEW is superfluous, it is so for very different reasons: It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.
A mission they continue to uphold, as this week's Supreme Court nomination debate has demonstrated, to their credit.

But there is also
this piece, a commemoration of Prime Minister Margret Thatcher by President Ronald Reagan. It contains this facinating passage:
Personal relations matter more in international politics than the historians would have us believe. Of course, nations will follow their overriding interest on the great issues regardless, but there are many important occasions when the trust built up over several years of contacts makes a real difference to how things turn out.
The relationship between Reagan and Thatcher during the decisive decade of the Cold War was truly extraordinary - there was a personal trust there. And that trust made possible the united front that finally shattered the Communist lance that had threatened the peace and liberty of Europe for forty-five years.

Our time finds us in a new ideological war, once again a struggle between freedom and tyranny, one which the West has been slow in recognizing. Indeed, if popular culture is any gauge, a war which most are trying to ignore.

But not all. National Review is still there, trying to rouse a drowsy world, trying to stop the fading of the old good traditions into obscurity, yelling stop to those eager to remake the world into a vapid haze that praises licence and lasciviousness and which obliterates liberty and virtue.

Thank you, Mr. Buckley. And thanks to the rest of you. Keep up the good work.

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