Today, the 9th of November, marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There was quite an attendance in Berlin to mark the event, which was highlighted by Poland’s 1980’s pro-democracy leader Lech Walesa, as well as Miklos Nemeth, Hungary’s last prime minister before Communism collapsed, together pushing down a mile-long row of giant, colorfully painted dominoes to symbolize the wall’s collapse.
Naturally, Angela Merkel, who is Germany’s first chancellor to be raised in the former Communist East Germany, was also in attendance, as well as the event’s biggest star, Mikhail Gorbachev, who is widely regarded as a hero for his role in reforming the Soviet Union, who was greeted to the chants of “Gorby Gorby!” by an adoring crowd.
“You made this possible – you courageously let things happen, and that was much more than we could expect” Chancellor Merkel praised Gorbachev.
It’s too bad that neither the chancellor, nor the crowd, realizes that Gorbachev still believes in the Communist dream. He reformed Communism… not renounced it. But hey, why let the little details get in the way of a celebration, right?
Anyway, other world leaders in attendance included the current Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, as well as all 27 leaders of the European Union.
Not in attendance… Barack Obama. I guess he just couldn’t be bothered to go. I don’t know why; there were plenty of other Socialists for him to “socialize” with. He did, however, send Secretary of State Clinton to go in his place, as well as a nifty little video tape with the inspiring message of “Let us never forget Nov. 9, 1989, nor the sacrifices that made it possible”.
Sacrifices… now there’s a word Obama seems to be fond of.
I guess flying all the way to Berlin to mark the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down wasn’t as important to him as flying to Copenhagen to pitch for Chicago’s bid for the winter Olympics, or a night on the town on Broadway with the First Lady… at taxpayer expense, of course. Maybe he’s saving up for his next apology tour?
The thing that kind of irked me about this celebration, however, was what was not mentioned, at least, not in the media I’ve seen so far; the man who helped make this possible… Ronald Reagan.
Don’t misunderstand; I’m not going to say that Reagan was the sole driving force, or even the most influential, reason that the wall fell. God forbid I come across as one of those “arrogant Americans” as Obama would so eloquently put it.
But to not even mention Reagan’s name at the event? Anyone remember this little part of a speech that Reagan made in West Berlin way back in June 12, 1987?
“General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Reagan’s advisers were shocked at that statement; he had said it against their advice to not antagonize the Soviets. The Democrats, as well as liberals in general, were all convinced that he had just started World War III and began digging fallout shelters in their backyards, but Reagan stuck to his guns, the Soviet Union began to collapse and a couple of years later, down came the wall.
You see, there was a reason why “Gorby”, the hero of the Soviet Union, reformed his country; he didn’t really have much of a choice. The Soviets had lost too much money, much of it due to trying to keep up with us on the nuclear arms race, when they chose missiles over maintaining the rest of their economy. They literally spent themselves into oblivion.
You know, kind of like what we’re doing to ourselves now?
Can you imagine what would’ve happened if Obama had been giving a speech in West Berlin back then? It probably would’ve gone something like this:
“Mr. Gorbachev, we in America would like nothing more than to work with you. We are convinced that despite our differences, we can work together in peace and harmony. East Berlin and East Germany are clearly your domains, and we would not wish to intrude in your affairs concerning these territories. To make up for our past mistakes and arrogance, we are prepared to make compromises on our behalf, to demonstrate that no one nation should dominate any other nation. We are all citizens of the world. Come to West Berlin… let’s talk things out.”
Look folks, like I said, we weren’t the sole reason for the Soviet Union collapsing and the wall coming down. The people of Germany and Eastern Europe did most of the hard work themselves; they deserve a lot of credit for what they did, but I think we, particularly Reagan, deserved a little more credit than what was given at tonight’s celebration, at least in our own media. I could be wrong, of course. Maybe Reagan was mentioned, but you couldn’t tell that from the articles I’ve read on the event.
Thousands cheer 20 years since fall of Berlin Wall: Melissa Eddy and Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press, 11/09/09
Merkel Thanks Gorbechev on Berlin Wall anniversary: Kirsten Grieshaber , Associated Press, 11/09/09
Ronald Reagan – “Tear Down This Wall”: The History Place, Great Speeches Collection
Reagan; “Tear Down This Wall”: YouTube Video, Posted by “JohnJ2427”, 07/03/07