The Corner

Out East

Early1980: Scroll back to a moment twenty-four years ago in Brussels, Belgium. I’m on a university field trip to NATO headquarters. Someone asks whether there is any hope of rolling back communism.

An official laughs. Dumb question.

Summer 1988, just over a year before the fall of the Wall: on a train rolling through Poland on its way to Warsaw. “You’re American?” “English.” Smiles, handshakes, out come the beers, and then the toasting starts. “Thatcher. Reagan. Thatcher. Reagan.” Hours later we all pour out onto the railway platform.

And no, it’s no longer a dumb question.

Thank you, President Reagan.

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