It has been 25 years since the fall of The Berlin Wall and with it the reunification of Germany.
During my visit to Ottawa this summer I received a piece of that wall. I had been visiting some friends of mine who are planning to move at the end of the year. They had no use for it and asked me if I wanted it.
I took that piece of the wall because I want to be reminded of how Communists kept their own people imprisoned for nearly 30 years. I also keep it as a reminder of freedom’s fragility.
When President Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate he implored Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down that wall and just over two years later, liberated East Germans heeded those words. Yesterday, Gorbachev stood at the Brandenburg Gate and warned of a new Cold War. Sadly, these days Gorby is an apologist for Vladimir Putin blaming the U.S. for triumphalism. Given how Obama ceded ground on missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic and has let Russia run roughshod over Crimea and Ukraine that is hard to believe. But peace can only sustained through strength and when one party abdicates the wise use of power a Cold War is sure to follow.
Don’t get me wrong. The fall of the Berlin Wall has resulted in a Germany that has emerged as the biggest economic power in Europe. It also put the nail in the coffin of Soviet Communism. But it didn’t spell the death knell of Russian nationalism.