The Fall of the Berlin Wall: Obama Doesn’t Get It

The Last of our series on

Senator Obama’s Campaign Speech in Berlin


Barack Obama devoted several paragraphs of his Berlin Campaign Speech to the ten month Berlin Airlift, in 1948 and 49. Then, he summed up the remaining four decades of cold war with two sentences

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity. People of the world — look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Those bullet holes should be a reminder to a would-be President not of a meaningless slogan, “our common humanity,” but of the reality of tyranny, of Soviet soldiers firing machine guns at Germans who tried to escape to the freedom of West Berlin. Those bullet holes should be a reminder that there have always been, and probably always will be, evil regimes, and that preservation of liberty requires leaders with iron will, who are ready to fight if necessary, to triumph over evil.

The Berlin Wall was there because an evil empire built it to imprison the people of East Germany under illegitimate rule. The Cold War was in progress and the world was bitterly divided, with the Western Alliance, including Western Europe and America on one side, and the Soviet Union on the other.

Even within the Western alliance there was rancorous disagreement, especially over how to respond to the Soviet Union’s installation of medium range nuclear missiles that were aimed at Western Europe. President Reagan and German Chancellor Kohl persuaded the NATO allies to position American nuclear missiles in Europe that could counter-attack if the Soviets fired theirs.

In Western Europe, including West Berlin there were massive street demonstrations demonizing Reagan and protesting the placement of the missiles. The notion that “the world stood as one” is simply delusional.

The Berlin Wall finally fell because the Soviet Union imploded. Several factors led to the demise of the Soviet Union but Ronald Reagan’s efforts were most significant. Reagan prevailed over the virulent objections of many in Europe and America who demanded accommodation with the Soviets that would have allowed the wall to remain, kept Europe divided, and left Soviet missiles in place without challenge.

Senator Obama expresses contempt and disrespect by celebrating destruction of the Berlin Wall without acknowledging President Reagan, and instead giving credit to a fiction, that the wall came down because the world “stood as one.” Any candidate for President of the United States of America, should call on the world to remember the inspiring words from Reagan’s June 12, 1987 speech at the Brandenburg Gate:

“Mr Gorbechov, tear down this wall!”

The reality of history and the human condition is that with the possible exception of the Olympic Games, virtually nothing of merit was ever accomplished by means of all the world standing as one. Humanity has always been in conflict and the great challenge has always been to ensure that somehow good triumphs over evil, that liberty triumphs over tyranny, and that truth triumphs over lies. Great human triumphs are usually accomplished only after overcoming opposition and adversity.

America is imperiled when one who would be President indulges in fanciful dreams of achieving peace and security through mushy expressions of “common humanity,” and expects he can, with clever rhetoric, persuade dictators, ayatollahs and terrorist thugs to disavow their pernicious goals and “stand as one” with the free peoples of the world.

A President must understand that to maintain peace and security requires strength, determination, perseverance, and willingness to use any Constitutional means to prevent those who would do America harm from succeeding.

Reader comments invited

3 Comments so far

  1. tom jones on July 28th, 2008

    Why do you prefer war? Your war President has us in a quagmire in Iraq! And you talk about winning that mess?

    All you care about is war, war, war.

    Barack Obama can bring the world together and solve problems with cooperation. Your stupid, wasteful, horrible wars sure never solved anything!

    You dont want him to be elected because your afraid he will succeed and your policy of trying to fix everything with bombs and guns will be obsolete.

  2. Clyde on July 28th, 2008

    When has the whole world ever “come together”? Never!

    Did you read the post? The world did not come together to bring down the Berlin Wall. It came down because the good guys whacked the bad guys.

    I was in the US Army and I was stationed in Germany when they tore the wall down. It came down because Ronald Reagan was smarter and stronger than idiots like you who wanted to give in to the commies.

    Obama talks pretty but his words mean nothing. except when his words are dangerous to the survival of America.

  3. theclassiclib on July 29th, 2008

    Brilliant, well-written post! Thank you!

    tom jones,
    Yes, war sucks. It’s awful. But unfortunately it’s a reality. War will exist until the end of mankind. You can choose to cower or fight, but war will never go away.

    Reagan deserves all the credit for bringing down the wall, and he didn’t do it with war. He did it through diplomacy with our ALLIES, and a massive build-up of our military might.

    In the words of George Washington:

    “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”

    “The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”

    PS – Bush isn’t running for president, nor is he part of this story. It’s over. You can let go of your Bush hatred now.

    PSS – What’s Obama going to cooperate with Ahmadinejad on? That the Holocaust never happened? And that Israel should be destroyed?