November 9, 2019

A RETROSPECTIVE ON THE BERLIN WALL, 2009: I wrote this column ten years ago.

Here’s an excerpt:

Many in the West, including the U.S., believed that the communists had history on their side. The wry debate reply from the defeatist lefties favoring unilateral U.S. nuclear disarmament was “better Red than dead.” For decades — I repeat, decades — this crowd had a media pulpit from which its self-proclaimed intelligentsia preached the moral equivalency of the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and at times dropped the all pretense and fingered the U.S. as the “fascist state” and global oppressor.

In the language of the defeatist left, the U.S. was the jailer, the warmonger, the threat to world peace.

The Berlin Wall’s collapse exposed that Big Lie, as did the documented moral, political, economic and ecological wretchedness of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, we still hear echoes of this “blame America” cant lacing al-Qaida propaganda and the lectures of hard-left reactionaries like Bill Ayers. The great anti-American lies of the Cold War are recast as the great anti-American lies of the War on Terror.

Breaching the wall in 1989 was bloodless, but the Cold War certainly wasn’t. World War III did not break out along the intra-German border and produce a nuclear conflagration, but the Cold War’s battles on the periphery (e.g., Greece, Korea, Vietnam, El Salvador, Angola, Afghanistan) were expensive, fatiguing and deadly.

I think the essay has legs. But read the whole thing and decide.

RELATED: A column from May 2009 recalling May 1989’s propitious events, like Hungary’s decision to open the Austrian-Hungarian border. It also discusses the 1956 Hungarian Revolution’s military leader, General Bela Kiraly. Yes, there are some historical disagreements (some in print) regarding the demolition of the huge ammo dump and the Soviet reaction. However, he told me the version in the column on two different occasions.

ALSO RELATED: The Berlin Airlift Memorial. Nose art on a static C-54 transport.

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