Forgetting the Fall
They tore down the wall; he tears up his invitation.


President Barack Obama has RSVPed “nein” to Chancellor Merkel’s invitation to Germany to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. National Review Online asked a few experts what this snub reveals about our current president.

I’m glad Obama is not going. Of course it’s a stupid move for him politically, but I’m all for stupid moves by this guy. If Obama were wily like Bill Clinton, he would go to the Berlin Wall and make a lot of pompous statements about how “we” won the Cold War. Clinton knew very well that “we” didn’t win the Cold War; Reagan did. The Republicans did.

Reagan had some crucial allies: Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa. Gorbachev too played an important role, although it was largely a role that he didn’t intend to play, one that was scripted for him by Reagan. But the West’s victory in the Cold War was not one that would have occurred if the policies of liberal Democrats had been in place. For this reason, the fall of the Berlin Wall is a reminder that liberalism was proven wrong in perhaps the greatest foreign-policy challenge since World War II.

Obama probably thinks he has more important things to do than to go to Berlin. What he doesn’t realize is that his mask is coming off: The serene, above-the-fray Obama of the presidential campaign is now giving way to the partisan ideologue that appears to be the real Obama. If Obama went to Berlin, he would have a chance to put his mask back on. Perhaps it’s best that he stay home.

— Dinesh D’Souza is the author of Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader and, most recently, Life After Death: The Evidence.

Nine words say it all: Undermine our allies. Embolden our enemies. Diminish our country.

That’s the Obama Doctrine in a nutshell, and the slighting of Germany with regard to one of the most symbolic and consequential expressions of the quest for freedom undertaken in the teeth of Soviet oppression does all three.

— Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.

GDR citizen Helke Dittrich, 25, managed to escape East Berlin by lying down between two hollowed-out surfboards. The Stuttgart shop mechanic Ulrich Werner, 27, whom she married afterward, smuggled her out. The surfboards were brought out on the rooftop of a Renault Fuego, which made its way across the Berlin Wall checkpoint.

The year was 1987, the year that Pres. Ronald Reagan, at the Brandenburg Gate, told Mr. Gorbachev to Tear Down This Wall. Reagan early and often promoted liberty, American exceptionalism, and human rights. All those who escaped Communism by hidden secret compartments in cars, or by tunnel, or by hot-air balloon, or in fantastic motorized water packs, and all those who died trying, had a friend in Ronald Reagan and the American people, including, previously, Pres. John F. Kennedy. From the Berlin airlift to spiritual uplift, great American leaders have always resolutely stood up for freedom.