LinkedIn tracking pixel

What Europe Must Learn From the Berlin Wall

The following article by Benjamin Fricke, IWP Class of 2013, was published by The Moscow Times

The fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, was the most visibly symbolic event to have signaled the looming end of the Cold War. A quarter of a century after this momentous event, it is important to think about the aftermath of the collapse of communism and what has since developed in Europe.

Official speeches about the event often refer to the end of the Cold War and the evils of communism. European integration and the development of a European superstate is mostly viewed as a reasonable alternative to a divided continent. It is assumed that the nation state was the source of all evil in the past century and that now European Union officials have found the key to peace and wisdom. The EU’s leadership and bureaucrats utilize all the political tools and practices at their disposal to block any discussion about alternative structures.

Earlier this month, on Nov. 2, I attended an event in Berlin’s famous Adlon Hotel. All attendees of the discussions, including the British, American and French ambassadors to Germany, praised the achievements of 1989 and hailed the freedom that emerged through the break in history. Yet, there was no reference to Europe’s current problems such as untenable levels of youth unemployment in Southern Europe, increasing debt burdens and shrinking economies. Moreover, no consideration was given to the utterly flawed post-1989 financial system. All three ambassadors gave standard talking points, such as the need to implement structural reform and win over youth, and a shared interest in the well-being of the euro zone and the EU as the only guarantors of peace and cooperation in Europe.

Read more