Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It doesn't seem possible, but it's been 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell, signaling the end of the Soviet Union as we knew it. For decades, the Berlin Wall symbolized the nature of the Cold War. On one side, freedom and prosperity. On the other, oppression and economic strife. Once the wall fell, the world breathed a collective sigh of relief because the prospect of global nuclear war (at least at the time) had been diminished. It was a whole new world.

In that 20 years, we're having to deal with new walls with the former Soviet Union because in many ways neither side has learned much from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Remnants of the former Soviet Union are still evident in Russia, especially in the form of Vladimir Putin. And these former Soviets are still bitter about the way the Cold War ended.

Unfortunately, our foreign policy since the fall of the Berlin Wall has been blissfully ignorant of this fact. Our failure to recognize that the old Soviet Union is still alive and well in the hearts and minds of people like Putin has been a blunder of literally global proportions. As we saw in Georgia, Putin isn't above revisiting the Soviet style of forcing compliance and propaganda to get what he wants, and make no mistake, he wants America to crumble into oblivion.

And what have we done? We've treated Putin like an ally, ignoring his true motives.

The Soviet Union may not exist as anything but an idea among the Russian people, but it exists and it may rear its ugly head again unless we recognize the danger in front of us. The Berlin Wall may be gone, but some walls take a lot longer to tumble.

No comments: