Foreign Policy: The Presidential Best Friends Club

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President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher i i

President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher wave after their arrival to Camp David on December 22, 1984. Foreign Policy takes a look at the importance of good presidential friendships with world leaders. ARCHIVES UPI/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption ARCHIVES UPI/AFP/Getty Images
President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher

President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher wave after their arrival to Camp David on December 22, 1984. Foreign Policy takes a look at the importance of good presidential friendships with world leaders.

ARCHIVES UPI/AFP/Getty Images

Peas in a pod: During the 1980s, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were not only natural allies, but fast friends. It's said that during their first meeting — which went 45 minutes overtime — the two regularly finished one another's sentences. Reagan's press secretary is reported to have commented that it would have "taken a crowbar to get them apart."

The two had a lot in common: Both were elected as conservative rebukes to the liberal domestic and foreign policies of their predecessors, Jimmy Carter and "Sunny" Jim Callaghan. While Reagan and Thatcher are perhaps most famously remembered for their promotion of neo-liberal economic policies, the two also shared a common approach to Cold War foreign policy that combined traditional deterrence strategy with a cool-headed sense of pragmatism. Although Reagan and Thatcher did have their disagreements, according to The Economist their mutual affection was steadfast: "[S]he loved him and he loved her back. ... They encouraged each other, validated each other and, in consequence, needed each other."

For more presidential friendships, see the rest of Foreign Policy's photo-essay here.

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