Friday, August 26, 2011

Berlin Wall

I was reading the National Archives' blog, when I spotted a post on the Berlin Wall and so decided we'd do that here as well. So we've done Reagan's "Tear Down the Wall" speech, but there is another important president involved here - President George H.W. Bush. I found this article that quotes a speech by President Clinton on President Bush's contributions to the Berlin Wall, so thought I'd share there here:
When the Berlin Wall fell, it was the product of nearly a half century of bipartisan American determination to protect the freedom of Western Europe and to stand up for our values. You can argue that not every call we made was right, but in the end I think we were on the right side of history. But whenever some momentous event like that happens, the question is always "Then what?"

George Bush made two important decisions that were of profound importance. The first was to support the democratic emergence of Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia and to try to develop a positive relationship with a new Russia that would be less aggressive toward its neighbors and to try to help them avoid the worst of the humiliations that were inevitably going to come from the collapse of its political and military and economic strength all at once. And that was a policy I embraced eagerly and worked hard to develop. My first meeting as President with a foreign leader was with Boris Yeltsin in Canada and we put together a $24 billion dollar aid package when we had a huge deficit and everyone thought I'd lost my mind. But it was clearly the right decision.

The second thing President Bush did was to support the person I hope someday will get the credit for being the most important European in the latter half of the twentieth century, the Chancellor of Germany, Helmut Kohl. And three decisions he made: one was to support the reunification of Germany, the second was to support the European Union so that Germany would be surrounded by its political allies and would never again be an aggressive force, and the third was to be the best friend Russia ever had as long as Russia was non-aggressive and was interested in being a good partner. Those two decisions were pivotal.

No comments: