Sunday, November 8, 2009

Clinton Hits All the Right Notes in Berlin Wall Anniversary Speech

Great speech by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Berlin for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. The UK newspaper Telegraph quotes her as saying, "We owe it to ourselves and to those who yearn for the same freedoms that are enjoyed and even taken for granted in Berlin today.... And we need to form an even stronger partnership to bring down the walls of the 21st century and to confront those who hide behind them: the suicide bombers, those who murder and maim girls whose only wish is to go to school.... In place of these new walls, we must renew the trans-Atlantic alliance as a cornerstone of a global architecture of co-operation." Best of all, she cited German Chancellor Angela Merkel's wonderful speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress last week, which didn't get nearly as much attention as it deserved. A very good political move. (Also, check out the Time magazine cover story on Clinton.)

 For more on the Berlin Wall anniversary celebrations, see Deutsche Welle's comprehensive reporting. (See short DW German-language report.) For German-readers, Der Spiegel has a great report (as usual). And any subscribers to the German edition of Playboy should check out its report on Mikhail Gorbachov, the somewhat tragic figure of this whole enterprise.

And the always-disturbing Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is nostalgic for the former GDR. By now, we all know that UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was about 45 years behind the times with her bitter opposition to German reunification, but, as The New York Times reports, most of the naysayers were brought around. They realized that Germany in 1989 (or 2009) was not Germany of 1933 or 1945.

Happy anniversary.

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