Monday, November 9, 2009

Another Anniversary

Twenty years ago today, the East German government lifted all travel restrictions on its citizens. Later that night, Germans began tearing down the Berlin Wall.

The press seems to be taking much more notice of this one than they did of the Tiananmen Square anniversary.

I remember the events, but I didn't appreciate them as much at the time as I do now. This was a truly historic event, and was the highlight of the series of peaceful revolutions which dismantled the Communist bloc within only 2 years.

A miracle if there ever was one.

Too bad our President didn't think it necessary to attend the celebration. Peter Robinson says it best at National Review Online.

The Cold War was the defining struggle of the second half of the 20th century — a clash of beliefs about God, man, government, and economics so utterly basic, so primal, that it stands in comparison with the Persian Wars or the long conflict between Rome and Carthage. “My view of the Cold War is simple,” Reagan once famously explained. “We win, and they lose.” And with the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago on Monday, that is just how it turned out. Liberty vanquished tyranny.

Barack Obama? He has no idea. No idea at all.

And from George Weigel:

It’s a very big deal, because the president’s absence bespeaks a woodenheadeness about the history of our times: a woodenheadness likely influenced by the classic left-liberal notion that the Cold War was just an action-reaction cycle between two “great powers” (“two scorpions in a bottle,” as a Jimmy Carter appointee notoriously put it), not a moral contest for the human future between imperfect democracies and pluperfect dictatorships.

There have been few moments in modern history when the good guys won, cleanly, and without mass violence; Americans had a large role in creating the conditions for the possibility of that. The fall of the Wall was the symbolic centerpiece of the Revolution of 1989 — it’s shameful and, frankly, embarrassing that an American president is not in Berlin to celebrate the implosion of the worst tyranny in human history. But it’s hardly surprising, given the president’s performance before Russian students earlier this year.

The politics of national self-deprecation — moral blindness wrapped in moral sanctimony — continues.