Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

The Berlin Wall Fell 30 Years Ago

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answers audience questions at the Korber Global Leaders Dialogue in Berlin Germany on Nov 8 2019 RFE/RL: Pompeo warns of threats to liberty posed by Russia, China
Deanna Wagner | 09 November, 2019, 21:41

Ms Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, greeted members of the public as she arrived at Bernauer Strasse where she and fellow leaders from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic placed roses at a section of the Wall left standing.

"The West - all of us - lost our way in the afterglow of that proud moment", Pompeo said, referring to the fall of the wall that divided the democratic western part of Berlin from the communist eastern part.

The momentous event would ultimately bring the communist regime crashing down, leading to German reunification a year later.

But wary of a potential falling-out with China - Germany's biggest trade partner - Berlin last month said only that there would be "high standards" for security in the new network. "And they must always be lived out and defended anew", she told guests from across the continent.

Over the years, East and West Germans worked together to find effective ways of helping East German citizens escape to the west by ramming barricades with cars, jumping out of the windows of buildings along the wall, as well as escaping through sewers and tunnels that were dug beneath the wall. "In Europe too, in your countries and also between the European societies there is a more intensive and fiercer struggle not only on the future of Europe but also on the interpretation of the past".

With the West facing a slew of geopolitical challenges, he said the bulwark of the bloc's defence alliance, the 70-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, also "runs the risk that it will become obsolete" if leaders failed to tackle new challenges.

Ivanka Trump dismisses impeachment probe as attempt to overturn 2016 election
Open hearings in the inquiry are slated to start on November 13 after weeks of hearings behind closed doors. Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify on Friday.

Merkel responded with unusual sharpness, saying Thursday: "I don't think such radical judgments are necessary".

Europe "must stand up for democracy and freedom, for human rights and tolerance", Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday as Germany commemorated the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

"The Cold War has long since passed, but tyrannical regimes around the world continue to employ the oppressive tactics of Soviet-style totalitarianism", Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit ended Friday while Macron is only planning a flying visit on Sunday, leaving the actual anniversary on November 9 without globally prominent figures.

The Berlin Wall, built in 1961 to stop East Germans fleeing to the West, was a heavily guarded concrete barrier that encircled West Berlin.