Tag Archives: Middle East Crisis

Margaret Thatcher on Jimmy Carter, Middle East, Industrial Maliase

On Jimmy Carter
Profited from Watergate not his candidacy’s appeal to the American public. Carter lacked the understanding of economics. Believed in what Thatcher thinks were ineffectual price controls on gas during the OPEC crisis. Believed that Communism was an exaggerated threat, as did his Democratic Party. Consequently, Carter was not prepared for the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iranian seizure of American diplomats as hostages. Carter had no vision for America. Carter was over concerned with details and agonized over big decisions.

On the Middle East Crisis of 1980
The USSR invaded Afghanistan with a pro-communist coup d’etat. The USSR was possibly motivated by the Oil crisis to find an expedient route through which oil could be exported to Russia. The USSR was attempting to cause communist uprisings all over the world. Carter was disappointed that the UK would not freeze all Iranian financial assets, which would have ended London’s position as a world financial centre, according to Thatcher. Iraq and Iran began their war of attrition in 1980 further threatening Western interests in the region.

On Britain’s Industrial Problem
Britain was not internationally competitive. Their industrial reputation had steadily declined in the post-war era. Productivity was low before Thatcher. The problem was not the level of wages but the competitiveness of workers. The steel union BSC attempted to cut all supply of steel in the UK until they received better wages. Thatcher waited until March 1980. The steel supply was still able to continue despite the union’s attempts to strime. The union was demoralised and required a face saving arbitrator the ACAC (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). The union got substantially less then they demanded. Their union workers were not very productive or efficient which is part of a cross industry trend. Trade unions push wages up while weakening a commercial enterprise’s competitive edge. Thatcher believed that, under successive Labour Party regimes, communist and socialist radicals had risen to the top of union organizations. These people were poisoning the organizations. They consolidated their power by intimidating their members making certain that they could not leave those unions. The Engineering Employer’s Federation (EEF) conceded a 39-hour week, increases of 13 pounds a week for skilled men and an extra week’s vacation setting a precedent that would weaken all management/union relations.

On the Iranian Embassy Siege
Terrorists captured Iranian Embassy at Prince’s Gate in April of 1980. Thatcher believed these terrorists were acting on the perceived weakness of the western powers as demonstrated by the Iranian Hostage crisis of 1979-80. Thatcher needed to defeat these terrorists somehow. Operation Nimrod was a success. Denis Thatcher was proud of the killings of 5 of 6 terrorists and famously lamented the survival of the 6th assailant according to Wikipedia.