November 9, 2009

"To know what the West stood for during most of those years, one merely had to go to Berlin, see the Wall..."

"... consider its purpose, and observe the contrasts between the vibrant prosperity on one side of the city and the oppressive monotony on the other. Those contrasts were even more apparent to the Germans trapped on the wrong side of the Wall. Barbed wire, closed military zones and the machinery of communist propaganda could keep the prosperity of the West out of sight of most people living east of the Iron Curtain. But that wasn't true for the people of East Berlin, many of whom merely had to look out their windows to understand how empty and cynical were the promises of socialism compared to the reality of a free-market system."

36 comments:

vet66 said...

Now we are dealing with the wall of ignorance that causes some people to ignore the lessons of history. Socialism is a fool's dream like fool's gold is to that precious metal. Barely scratch the surface of the one and it reveals it's hollow promise.

Nomilk said...

I was in the U.S. Army in Berlin 20 years ago today. That Obama went there for his campaign, but refuses to go as POTUS tells you everything you need to know about our Narcissist-in-Chief.

Chase said...

vbspurs said (on Ann's previous post before this one)...

but I did want to say that I find it hugely disappointing (but so readily believable given this man's ideology) that the US President will not be present at the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall today (9 Nov). Medvedev, Gordon Brown, even Lech Walesa will be there. I'm sure many others will too, celebrating when Europe finally was healed by the schism of communism.

But the President of the United States, whose two predecesors Kennedy and Reagan had the most iconic moments speaking in front of said wall, of any foreign leader, chose to give this event a pass.

I hope Ann blogs about this, but just the same I'll say that I've discerned a pattern in Barack Obama. If he's not the star of the show, he doesn't show up or tune in. Could be why according to Robert Gibbs he was watching the HBO special on his 1st year anniversary as President instead of the elections returns.

Ugh.

Cheers,
Victoria


I agree with Victoria.

Obama may have had a tin ear in his immediate handling of the Ft Hood crisis, but he has said the correct things and is giving repeated honor to both the slain and all of those serving.

A far more serious issue is his refusal to be involved - and his not explaining that lack of involvement - in the ceremonies celebrating the coming down of the Berlin Wall. The iconic evidence of the end of Soviet Domination os eastern Europe. Freedom for tens of millions of people.


Shame on you, President Obama. Shame on you.

lucid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

From University to high school down to first grade, every lesson students learn is the Progressive message: the US is evil and the white race is the cancer of human history.

What I feared in the 2008 Presidential election is coming to pass. The US House has voted for the first time to have the government imprison citizens for failing to purchase services they deemed citizens must own.

Here in the US, then, we are rebuilding the wall, brick by regulatory brick, having never learned what the West stood for at all.

lucid said...

He went to Berlin to make a campaign speech. He went to Europe to make a sales pitch for Chicago. He'll go to accept an absurd prize for himself.

But he won't go to Berlin to openly celebrate a triumph of Western freedom and strength in which the United States played a leading role.

It is no wonder that people question his sense of connection to America and its values.

Fred4Pres said...

When we have revisionists trying to suggest the fall of the Berlin Wall was a bad thing for East Germans and Obama not carring about the issue at all, what do you expect.

The Drill SGT said...

I hope George H W Bush is up to going and invited.

He would be a proper stand-in for Obama

Scott M said...

Hysterical to me, especially because I have a brother-in-law who near worships them, was the U2 debacle at the Wall.

U2 held a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Wall coming down. One would think it was to celebrate freedom and world citizenship, etc, etc. However, after selling tens of thousands of tickets, what did U2 do (or allow to happen in their name at the very least)?

Erected a 10' chain-link fence surrounding the concert area complete with tarp so that those not holding tickets couldn't participate in the celebration of freedom and world citizenship, etc, etc.

Celebrating the Wall coming down by putting up another wall.

Priceless...

Crimso said...

"Here in the US, then, we are rebuilding the wall, brick by regulatory brick, having never learned what the West stood for at all."

"Of course 'bama's gonna help build the Wall"
(without apologies to Roger Waters)

Zach said...

I found a pretty little park about half a mile from my apartment on Saturday. A cleared area a couple of hundred yards across.

Looking over it was one of the last surviving sentry towers. It was clear because it used to be the death strip.

That's the surreal thing about the wall -- there's no geographical significance. You can easily cross its old location several times a day. It only ever existed because of cruelty.

Original Mike said...

If there's a silver lining, it's that Europe's leaders are being given a clear demonstration that when the chips are down, they won't be able to count on Obama. Sad, but an important lesson I think.

traditionalguy said...

I guess expecting that a true believer in the rule of the world by a marxist strong man would want to celebrate the Fall of the Russian Empire to the anti-communist conservative Reagan 20 years ago is like expecting the American Navy to celebrate the glorious attack on Pearl Harbour 68 years ago.

Clyde said...

I was stationed in West Berlin for almost four years. I left in January of 1989, and before I left, I took a few cans of spray paint and under the cover of darkness, I vandalized the Wall, and I pissed on it too, as a political statement.

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised when things started to change in Eastern Europe, and I was overjoyed for the captive peoples when the walls came down all over Europe. Having visited East Berlin during my time there, I knew how different things were on the other side of the Wall. It made me even more grateful that I had had the good fortune to be born an American.

After the Wall came down, a local radio station was giving away little chunks about the size of a piece of fudge to people who would call in and reminisce about their time in Berlin. My piece is from the Lichterfelde district, which interestingly enough is the same district where my apartment was.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here in the US, then, we are rebuilding the wall, brick by regulatory brick, having never learned what the West stood for at all.


Don't it always seem to go you don't know what you've got until its gone

chickenlittle said...

Amba and others had some thoughts on this worth linking here.

former law student said...

Suddenly the commentariat excoriates Obama for not enlarging his already obscene carbon footprint, to become a mere spectator at a ceremony commemorating the reuniting of a city full of rude, crude Prussians.

We had a rule at the first place I worked: no free trips to conferences unless you were presenting a paper.

The fall of the Wall was anticlimactic -- the Iron Curtain was forever breached August 19, 1989 at Sopronpuszta/St. Margarethen. The Pan-European Picnic was the rip in the fabric that quickly spread from Riga to Romania.

former law student said...

It only ever existed because of cruelty.

The Wall only ever existed because the Allies decided to slice up Austria and Germany like they were pumpkin chiffon pies. As the countries were sliced up, so were their capitals. Austria's skilled diplomats managed to convince the Soviets that they were insignificant, worthless, a mere ski resort with Mozart accompaniment.

East Germany was far more valuable for its industries, and as a buffer between the West and the Motherland. West Berlin was an island of freedom in a sea of Communist totalitarianism.

Pogo said...

I guess I had never heard that it was actually the West that constructed the wall in East Germany.

Gosh.

Scott M said...

The Wall only ever existed because the Allies decided to slice up Austria and Germany like they were pumpkin chiffon pies.

Starting right off the bat with “its our fault”? That’s pretty bad even for you.

And, if Germany found itself sliced up like a pie, I’d have to say they had it coming. After all, they did start that one, no? The Germans didn’t even have the luxury of having latter day revisionists blame it on the Allies like they’ve been doing with the Japanese of late (“we cut off their oil…they HAD to attack us”).

The wall was there to prevent East German from escaping to the West. Many people were arrested or killed attempting to do so. Imprisoning/torturing/killing people simply because they don’t want to live with you would certainly count for cruel to me. Not to you?

As far as East Germany being far more valuable, I suppose we saw what the end-result was in choosing between factories and freedom. My sister-in-law was an East German until she was 16 when the Wall came down.

As to the carbon footprint “gotcha”, I think you do realize that any time someone berates a liberal or climate change alarmist with their own medicine, it’s tongue-in-cheek at best. To honestly call someone out on their carbon footprint abuse, you have to first believe the alarmists’ rhetoric. Throwing that back in our faces when you know we don’t believe it doesn’t really constitute a good argument.

The Wall coming down stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Solidarity movement in Poland as the greatest symbols of the end of the Cold War in most Europeans’ minds. President Obama does indeed disrespect those symbols when he chooses not to attend after speeding over for a failed Olympic bid. This will not endear him further to a continent that’s already looking askance at him.

former law student said...

Pogo -- The West made a no-strings-attached gift of East Germany and the East Germans to the Soviets. Was it that surprising that they decided to fence in their human livestock, because so many were straying off the property? Had the leadership of France, and Britain, as well as our own, been blind to what Communists had done in the 20s and 30s?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Had the leadership of France, and Britain, as well as our own, been blind to what Communists had done in the 20s and 30s?

I suggest you read "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shales to get an idea of what the elites in our country and others thought. It was a fluke that we didn't go the same Fascist route as Germany or Russia's Communism.


Of course the elites now are still pursuing the same goal of total State control over every aspect of our lives and turning us into cogs in the service of the government machine. Better late than never, says Obama and his cast of evil clowns.

Paco Wové said...

Everything bad that the West does, is the fault of the West.

Everything bad that the East does, is the fault of the West.

Pogo said...

"The West made a no-strings-attached gift of East Germany and the East Germans to the Soviets. Was it that surprising that they decided to fence in their human livestock..."

You can thank the communists in the FDR administration for that.

Here's Soviet spy Alger Hiss, advising FDR at Yalta (seated to his right).

Zach said...

Pogo -- The West made a no-strings-attached gift of East Germany and the East Germans to the Soviets.

The Soviets had physical possession of Eastern Europe, plus the largest army in the world. There were no strings attached, because there was nothing to negotiate.

Pogo said...

Zach, I was responding to that statement myself; it came from former law student.

Crimso said...

"latter day revisionists blame it on the Allies like they’ve been doing with the Japanese of late (“we cut off their oil…they HAD to attack us”)."

I think that's fair to say of the Japanese, though. They really did HAVE to attack us if they didn't want to have their economy and (more importantly) military strangled. But don't let anyone who points this out get away with not pointing out why FDR embargoed oil to Japan. It wasn't as though Japan was peaceably going about their business and we decided to push them around. Remind them that the 2nd World War actually began in 1937 with open hostilities between Japan and China.

Scott M said...

I think that's fair to say of the Japanese, though.

Sure it is. As long as you think it's fair to be imperialistic expansionist who brutally subjugate their conquered populations.

Again, they didn't HAVE to attack us. They could have just stopped trying to conquer everyone in sight.

Zach said...

Pogo -- sorry for the confusion.

edutcher said...

Crimso said...

I think that's fair to say of the Japanese, though. They really did HAVE to attack us if they didn't want to have their economy and (more importantly) military strangled.

We wanted them out of China, where they were murdering people by the thousand every day. If they'd done so, trade would have resumed.

I know, small detail.

Andrea said...

I was all set to berate fls for his silly "the Wall was all our fault" nonsense, when this gave me pause:

Why "pumpkin chiffon pie"?

I mean, pumpkin is an American vegetable, and pumpkin pie an American delicacy. Since we're talking about Germany, wouldn't a better analogy be "they carved it up like Sacher Torte, or apple strudel?"

Maybe I'm being overly picky here. Maybe fls used that because a pumpkin chiffon pie happened to be in his fridge, and he can't wait to dip his fork into a slice of its fluffy, spicy goodness. Mmmm... pie...

Freder Frederson said...

I guess expecting that a true believer in the rule of the world by a marxist strong man would want to celebrate the Fall of the Russian Empire to the anti-communist conservative Reagan 20 years ago is like expecting the American Navy to celebrate the glorious attack on Pearl Harbour 68 years ago.

Give me a freaking break.

And get off your high horse. Europeans, and the Germans especially, don't care that Obama is not in Berlin today. Believe it or not, Germans think that the Americans had very little to do with the events of 1989.

Scott M said...

Believe it or not, Germans think that the Americans had very little to do with the events of 1989.

I don’t believe it based on my East German sister-in-law, her East German parents, and all of her East and West German aunts/uncles/cousins. East Germans are far more aware, I will grant you, that the reason Germany doesn’t speak Russian is thanks to the US-led Nato. West Germans are more likely to downplay the US role in 40 years of protection and the rebuilding of their economies, but that sentiment is not common on the East.

I do believe, based on accounts from my West German in-laws, that there is a common inaccuracy that the Allies built the Wall, as laughable as that may seem.

MadisonMan said...

Andrea, it's shorter to write bad metaphor alert!.

My wife made pie (Apple) last night. Mmmmm, pie!

Paco Wové said...

But but but Scott, Freder said so. Who are all your relatives, that they can dispute the polymathic paragon Freder?

blake said...

We won the war, but continue to lose the battle.

wv: slorrhe

(Chicks and ducks and geese better scorrhe, when I take you out in my slorrhe....)