I hesitated to respond to you because we live in entirely different worlds, and I don't think any number of Slashdot posts is going to fix that.
However, to be clear, I wasn't implying that Reagan or Thatcher had a problem with violence.
On the contrary; they had a problem with South Africa becoming a communist satellite. When the communist agitators resort to violence, that just makes it easier to convince the domestic public that the communists are bad. Obviously when it is bin Laden fighting the Soviets, violence is just fine. We both understand how it works.
Regarding your last point: South Africa of today is one of the most dangerous and violent places on earth; Mandela did next to nothing to address black on white or even black-on-black violence. There was a huge white-flight out of SA during the 90s.
Perhaps you think this is a positive outcome. I don't.
No racial reconciliation is perfect, of course. I would say that the US probably didn't do enough to help re-enfranchise blacks, and that South Africa may have done a bit too much.
The bottom line is this: I very much enjoyed living in the Reagan years America. I very much would NOT have liked living in the Mandela years SA.
I think Reagan and Thatcher were both great, as far as people who have actually held office go, and I am disappointed that the Reagan we got was nowhere close to the Reagan that campaigned. I was all for abolishing the Depts of Ed, Energy, and the ATF. Very disappointed with Reagan on that score...
The other transgressions in his career (military adventurism) bother me, but I don't think they actually bother Reagan detractors that much. The people who bitterly hate Reagan tend to hate him for reasons that his supporters like him. Similarly, if you accuse Thatcher of being a union buster or for cleaning up free loaders on the dole, people like me will say "bravo Thatcher".
The bottom line is that you and I probably agree that Reagan/Thatcher supported a bunch of wars and terrorists that they shouldn't have. But you shouldn't pretend like that is the basis for your displeasure with them. Especially not when every other US and UK leader since (some of which you've certainly hated LESS, if not mildly supported) has done the same exact shit...