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Among Experts, Thatcher a Towering Cold War Figure

學者看柴契爾:冷戰時期不凡的政治人物

Margaret Thatcher,1925-2013
(photo from Wikipedia)

Experts agree that Thatcher was a towering leader of the 20th century — and, as the Financial Times said, she “remains the figure against whom all subsequent British politicians should be measured.”

學者們認為柴契爾是二十世紀卓越的政治領袖。如金融時報所說,柴契爾是未來英國政治人物將會被拿來比較的標竿。


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 英語宅急便     

Andre de Nesnera
April 11, 2013

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, experts say, will best be remembered for the tough free-market economic measures she undertook during her 11 years in office [1979-90] — measures that can only be described as bringing an economic revolution in Britain.

But Thatcher, who died Monday at age 87, also played an important role on the international stage, especially at a time of Cold War tensions between the Soviet Union and the West.

Tim Bale, a British historian of the Conservative Party, said Thatcher was the first Western leader to realize that Mikhail Gorbachev might be a different kind of Soviet politician.

Greeting Gorbachev

“When she first came in in 1979, she took a very, very strong anti-communist attitude and really didn’t want anything to do with the Soviet leadership,” said Bale. “But she recognized very early on that Mikhail Gorbachev was something different. And to her credit, she pursued the relationship with him, even when some people thought she was perhaps being naively taken in.”

In December 1984 — three months before Gorbachev became the Soviet leader — he was in London as the head of a parliamentary delegation. He was invited to meet Margaret Thatcher, who later said “this is a man we can do business with.”

Stephen Jones, a Russia expert at Mount Holyoke College, says those words were critical.

“I just actually was reviewing an article that Gorbachev wrote, an obituary of Margaret Thatcher, in which he said that phrase actually helped him in terms of getting some greater credibility with Western leaders,” said Bale. “If Margaret Thatcher could deal with him, then the rest of the European leadership, and of course the American leadership, could deal with him too. So that was quite an important step in preparing the world for Mikhail Gorbachev.”

A bond with Reagan

Thatcher also had a very close relationship with President Ronald Reagan. They were, as some experts described them “politically kindred spirits.”

Richard Allen, former National Security Adviser under President Reagan, met her numerous times.

“I consider her to be one of the most remarkable people of the century. She was a thoroughly dedicated, highly intelligent, principled person whom most Americans admired greatly. She was cordial, serious — always serious. And those were reasons that Ronald Reagan was attracted, across the board, to her domestic thinking as well as her foreign policy thinking.”

“Hand in hand with Ronald Reagan," said historian Bale, "she was very instrumental in upping the spending on arms that eventually bankrupted the Soviet Union and forced it to withdraw from its empire in Central and Eastern Europe and then eventually, of course, implode itself.”

German reunification

While seeing eye to eye with Reagan on how to deal with the Soviet Union, Thatcher disagreed with President George H.W. Bush on German reunification.

Retired General Brent Scowcroft, Bush’s National Security Adviser, said, “We and [West German Chancellor] Helmut Kohl and most of the Germans were the only ones who really wanted German reunification. The Soviet Union didn’t want it. The French didn’t want it. And the British, Margaret Thatcher said: ‘I like Germany so much I think there ought to be two of them.’ This was a balancing act to manage the process, ending up in German reunification where most of the world’s powers were not in favor of it.”

Robert Legvold of Columbia University says Thatcher had concerns about how powerful Germany could become within Europe.

“The Germans knew that both the British and the French were nervous about the prospect of German reunification, but she wasn’t digging in her heels in on that,” said Legvold. “And when the process moved almost of its own speed and course, she’s not somebody who tried to stick a stick in the spokes of that wheel.”

Experts agree that Thatcher was a towering leader of the 20th century — and, as the Financial Times said, she “remains the figure against whom all subsequent British politicians should be measured.”


Language Notes

measure (n) 措施;手段

in office (prep phr) 任職

tension (n) 緊張局勢,緊張狀況

to one’s credit (prep phr) 值得被讚許的

be taken in (v phr) 被欺騙、蒙騙

專家們認為,前英國首相 (Prime Minister) 柴契爾將會以她任職 (in office)十一年間實施的自由市場經濟措施 (free-market economic measures) 為後人所記得。此外,柴契爾在國際舞台上也扮演了重要的角色,尤其冷戰期間蘇聯 (the Soviet Union)與西方國家關係緊繃 (tension)的時刻。

研究英國保守黨(Conservative Party)的史學家 (historian)認為,柴契爾很早就看出了戈巴契夫的不同,而且必須稱讚柴契爾的是 (to her creit),雖然當時眾多人認為她是天真地被騙了(being naively taken in),她仍努力維繫與戈巴契夫的關係。

parliamentary (a) 議會的,國會的

delegation (n) 代表團

obituary (n) 訃告;弔文 XXXXX*要注意重音位置,在第二音節 (bi)上。

kindred spirit (n phr) 志趣相投的人

cordial (a) 衷心的;真摯的

across the board (prep phr) 全面性的

implode (v) 內爆

柴契爾與當時美國總統雷根(Ronald Reagan)有很緊密的關係,被專家學者稱為政治上的親密好友 (kindred spirits)。雷根任內的美國國家安全顧問 (National Security Adviser) 與柴契爾曾會面多次 (numerous times),他認為柴契爾具有美國人所欣賞的特質,處事認真非常聰明堅守原則 (dedicated, highly intelligent, principled)。她待人懇切,對事認真嚴肅 (cordial, serious),這都是柴契爾國內事務決策 (domestic thinking)和外交政策 (foreign policy)吸引雷根的原因。

reunification (n) 統一

see eye to eye with (idiom) 與 . . . 看法一致

prospect (n) 成功的可能性;樂觀的前景

dig in one’s heels (in) (idiom) 固執己見

stick a stick in the spokes of one’s wheel (idiom) 阻礙,破壞 . . . 的發展

spoke是構成車輪的一根根的金屬條,本慣用語在字面上的意思是「在輪子的輪輻插入一根棒子」。可以想像的是,如果有人正騎在車上行進的話,必定會摔跤。因此,本片語的意思是「組礙 . . .的發展,進展」。另一個長很像,意思一樣的慣用語是 “put a spoke in one’s wheel”,在別人的輪子裡插入金屬條,也是「阻礙、破壞他人計畫」之意。

towering (a) 傑出的

subsequent (a) 其後的,隨後的

柴契爾與雷根面對蘇聯時意見一致 (seeing eye to eye with . . .),但柴契爾與後來的布希對於東西德統一 (German reunification)則意見相左。當時布希的國家安全顧問回憶了那段歷史,他說那時蘇聯和法國都不願見兩德統一,為此柴契爾還說過:「我非常的喜歡德國,所以有兩個豈不更好」 (I like Germany so much I think there ought to be two of them)。當時德國也知道,英法都對兩德統一後的前景 (prospect)緊張,但之後柴契爾也未再堅持己見 (digging in her heels in),而當兩德統一以既定的速度和方向 (of its own speed and course)展開後,她也未再扮演阻撓的角色 (to stick a stick in the spokes of that wheel)。

學者們同意,柴契爾是二十世紀傑出的 (towering)領袖,她也是之後 (subsequent)英國政治人物會被拿來比較的對象。


Language Tips

英文的慣用語 (idiom) 類似中文裡成語的概念,由固定的幾個字組成,是一種片語 (phrase)結構。慣用語不能只用字面上的意思去解讀,而是要透過字面意義來傳達弦外之音。慣用語在字面上是場景和故事的縮影,巧妙運用能把事理脈絡用很具體和鮮明的形象勾勒出來,有畫龍點睛的效果,能使文章讀起來不死板,顯得更活潑有趣。這不能跟一般的動詞片語搞混了。動詞片語是動詞加上介係詞或副詞的結構,屬於動詞本身意義的延展與變化,這跟慣用語使用意象來傳達概念是不同的。

本新聞中出現的慣用語有:see eye to eye with (與 . . . 意見一致),dig in one’s heels (頑固,固執己見),stick a stick in the spokes of one’s wheel (阻礙,防礙)。這幾個慣用語的場景很容易從字面上去想像,也不難聯想到實際要表達的語意。學習英文慣用語跟中文成語一樣,多多少少可以用字面上的意義或意象來聯想與解釋實際要傳達的語意。能注意到慣用語背後的文化意含,對其有更深的體會,在閱讀理解或寫作使用時,也都能更道地與準確的掌握其中的況味。


Check your vocabulary!

Fill in the blanks with a word or phrase from the list above. Make necessary changes. After you finish, select the text below to reveal the hidden answers.

1. Subsequent investigations did not uncover any new evidence.

2. A delegation from Nigeria has arrived to have talks with the British foreign minister.

3. My sisters don't see eye to eye with me about the arrangements.

4. Job prospects for graduates don't look good.

5. Measures are being taken to reduce crime in the city.

6. Don't be taken in by products claiming to help you lose weight in a week.


Source:http://www.voanews.com/content/experts-margaret-thatcher-british-prime-mininster-cold-war-20th-centurty/1639519.html

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