... Reagan had gone to Berlin and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” – and here it was, coming down. Of course, he prepared his battlespace before making that demand; it was not only the words that mattered. But the words did matter. No American president had uttered them before. American leadership was crucial in the liberation of Berlin in 1989, and the restoration of Germany in the following years. It was the NATO alliance that made it possible, and American leadership that made NATO viable and effective.
Maybe you had to be in the US armed forces back then, to have the powerful memories of life in that bipolar world of competing superpowers, blocs, and thousands of nuclear warheads at the ready 24/365. Or maybe you had to be in the armed forces to recognize the fall of the Berlin Wall as such a watershed. However it is, I am just about the contemporary of President Obama, and I find I don’t understand at all his decision to not attend Germany’s commemoration next month of the twentieth anniversary of the Wall coming down. It’s one of the biggest, most important global events in my lifetime – if I could, I’d go to Berlin myself and put on a uniform and march in a parade.
Yet for Obama it seems not to matter much at all. Oddly enough, he was born only a few days before East Germany began building the wall, on the night of 13 August 1961. He did spend the 1980s in a different way, dabbling in the Nuclear Freeze movement while he was at Columbia, going to Harvard Law, and becoming a community activist in Chicago. Perhaps the liberation of Eastern Europe from the Soviet yoke does mean less to him than it does to many of us. It’s entirely possible, in light of his many criticisms of the United States, that he believes we were at fault for whatever was going wrong in Europe between 1945 and 1989 anyway. Perhaps his view is, as the more left-leaning of Western leftists argued in the 1970s and ‘80s, that the Berlin Wall was erected because we were too bellicose and threatening, and gave the Communists of East Germany no choice. ...
Read it here. Rick Richman at Commentary Magazine has his take on the Obama no-show here.
Perhaps, as one of the commenters to Mr. Dyer's article suggests, our Narcissist-in-Chief doesn't want to attend one of the most important and memorable events in the past twenty years, because it isn't all about him. Indeed, it was President Reagan's leadership that was pivotal to the fall of the Soviet Union, of which the Berlin wall was one of the most visible symbols. Or perhaps, given his communistic leanings and urges, Mr. Obama is actually saddened at the fall of Soviet communism, and thus hardly feels the need to celebrate its downfall. Perhaps if the Germans positioned the celebration as a wake instead, Mr. Obama would change his mind.