On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin and said: “General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
On November 9, 1989, just two years after Reagan made his Brandenburg Gate speech, the people of Germany did tear down “this wall” and in so doing they freed hundreds of millions of people from the tyranny of communism. Reagan by no means single-handily brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall, but his leadership against despotism was widely recognized by the victims of communism. When he visited Poland in 1990, a dissident leader presented Reagan with a sword explaining: “I am giving you this saber for helping us to chop off the head of communism.”
But the leftists in America do not want us to remember Reagan’s role in history. That is why President Barack Obama (the same man who found time to jet to Copenhagen at the drop of a rumor that his presence could win the Olympics for his hometown of Chicago) could not be bothered to attend the 20th anniversary of the wall’s fall last night. Instead, President Obama taped a video message that completely failed to mention Reagan or British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
More than petty partisan slights are at stake here. President Obama’s refusal to recognize the role President Reagan’s and Prime Minister Thatcher’s leadership played in defeating despotism goes to the core of Obama’s foreign policy priorities. Heritage scholar Nile Gardiner explains:
Barack Obama simply does not view the world as Reagan did, in terms of good versus evil, as a world divided between the forces of freedom on one side and totalitarianism on the other. For the Obama administration the advancement of human rights and individual liberty on the world stage is a distinctly low priority, as we have seen with its engagement strategy towards the likes of Iran, Burma, Sudan, Venezuela and Russia.
We commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall to celebrate the collapse of communism, to honor those who died resisting communism, and to resolve that never again will peoples and nations allow so evil a tyranny to terrorize the world.
Yet, at a time when the United States currently faces challenges as complicated as those confronted by Reagan (war in Afghanistan, the global fight against Islamist terrorism, the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran) Obama is bent on apologizing for our nation’s actions, betraying Cold War allies, and dithering on troop deployments.