What We’ve Forgotten About the Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 10, 2014 5:45 PM

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What We’ve Forgotten About the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Every so often you hear a foreign-policy sage express nostalgia for the orderliness of the Cold War world. (Today’s world is so messy, isn’t it?) My view is different: The Cold War was terrible. Among other things, it encouraged fatalism—about tyranny, about nuclear weapons, about American purposes, about what good people could accomplish.

That’s why I liked the Berlin Wall anniversary. It reminded us that ending the Cold War was good. Still, it helps to remember what actually happened. The wall fell not simply because people in East Germany (and Eastern Europe) were emboldened to rise against their rulers, or because their rulers lac...

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