American Elephants

A Tipping Point — Twenty Five Years Ago. by The Elephant's Child

It was twenty-five years ago today in front of the Brandenburg Gate. It was by definition a tipping point. One of those rare moments when everything changes. I’ve been thinking a lot about tipping points lately, so you will hear more about that.

Here is Peter Robinson, who wrote the speech and came up with the famous line. He includes a facsimile of the speech with President Reagan’s markings.


Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall! by The Elephant's Child
November 10, 2009, 2:15 am
Filed under: Europe, Freedom, History, Politics | Tags: , ,

Germany today celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of East and West Germany that resulted, and the collapse of Communism.  It was a big day for the Germans, and they have been celebrating for some time.  The leaders of all the Western Democracies were there.

The United States sent a delegation headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  President Obama did not attend.  He sent a video of himself, noting that Jack Kennedy once spoke at the Brandenburg Gate, and that he, Obama,  was the first African-American President of the United States. Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John-Paul, Helmut Kohl and all the people who had a real part in bringing the wall down, were not mentioned.

Power Line has printed an excerpt from Peter Robinson’s memoir How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life.  Robinson was the speechwriter assigned to write the Brandenburg Gate address and the excerpt is an account of how the speech came about.

The usual liberal pieces have appeared on schedule today, noting all the world’s walls.  The Israeli wall, the wall between the U.S. and Mexico — supposedly comparable. What they never seem to grasp are the differences.  The Berlin Wall was constructed to keep the German people in East Germany in. It was a prison wall, tall— with barbed wire, watch towers, floodlights armed guards and machine guns — to keep desperate citizens from escaping to freedom.

And the idea that communism killed over 100 million of their own people has been conveniently assigned to the memory hole.

On the Ninth Day of November, in 1989, the Berlin Wall Fell. by The Elephant's Child
November 5, 2009, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Europe, Foreign Policy, Freedom, History | Tags: , ,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.  She said:

[F]or me America seemed completely out of reach . . . then on the 9th of November 1989, the Berlin Wall fell.

And this border which had divided a nation, for decades, keeping people in two different worlds, was now open. And this is why for me, today is first and foremost a time to say thank you.

I thank all those American and Allied pilots who heard and heeded the desperate appeal of then-Mayor of Berlin Ernst Reuter, in 1948, who said, you, the nations of this world, cast your eyes towards the city.

For months, these pilots flew food to Berlin for the airlift, saving the citizens from starvation. Many of these soldiers risked their lives. Dozens lost their lives. We shall remember and honor them forever…

I think of John F. Kennedy, who won the hearts of the Berliners, when, during his visit in 1961, after the wall had been built, he reached out to the desperate citizens of Berlin by saying, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” I think of Ronald Reagan, who, far earlier than most, clearly saw the sign of the times and, standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate, already in 1987, called out, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” This appeal shall remain forever in my heart.

The 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall is a very important occasion.  Americans, in 1989, didn’t seem to really grasp that shift in the condition of the world, or perhaps the leftists among us didn’t consider it  an event to be celebrated.  There have been books written about the  lack of appreciation for the enormity of the collapse of Communism and the end of the Cold War.

But then Liberals prefer to attribute the whole thing to Gorbachev and Perestroika.  Ronald Reagan, who? Pope John Paul?  Margaret Thatcher?  George Meany? Why do they always try to rewrite history? And once rewritten, it becomes gospel.  Obama has made a major mistake in not attending, but so far he is not doing well with the foreign policy thing.  No character, no class.

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