The Corner

National Security & Defense

They All Faced the Same Way

Reading Kevin Williamson’s piece today, I had a memory. Writing about the East German Communists, Kevin says, “They told the subjects of their totalitarian rule that the Wall was built to protect socialism from the evils without, but of course it was designed to stem migration out of East Germany.”

When I was coming of age, learning about the world, trying to figure out what was true, Caspar Weinberger said something arresting. (He was Reagan’s first defense secretary.) He said that there were soldiers on either side of East Germany’s border with West Germany. On the western side, there were NATO soldiers; on the eastern side, there were Warsaw Pact soldiers. They were both facing the same way: east. The Warsaw Pact feared no invasion from the West, whatever their propaganda said. They were facing east to keep people in.

What a testimony that was. It made an impression on me.

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