The Silver Anniversary of “Tear Down This Wall”
Yesterday, twenty-five years ago, President Ronald Wilson Reagan addressed the people of Berlin outside the Brandenburg Gate for the 750th Anniversary of Berlin. A moment that symbolized the end of the Cold War.
The line was never supposed to be uttered, Save Jerseyans. In the constant editing and review of speeches before the President delivers them the line was removed by Reagan’s team of speechwriters. It was the President himself that liked the line and left the famous demand in the speech. President Reagan was never afraid to be bold in the face of the Soviet Union. The lines of course read like this:
There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev — Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
The USSR was perhaps the greatest foe the United States has ever had. Just about a half decade of a cold war and proxy wars fought throughout both hemispheres. The Soviet Union just two decades previous had almost delivered a nuclear weapon ninety miles off-shore from the United States in the newly formed communist state in Cuba.
It was unthinkable that a leader could be so bold and stand outside the gate of a nation that seeks to undermine everything your country stands for. President Reagan was that kind of bold. This singular moment signaled the end of the Cold War.
The Russians were bogged down in Afghanistan using resources and funds trying to expand the Communist regime. A man named Boris Yeltsin was quickly on his way to moving the Russian state toward democracy. The people were finally ready to cast off the chains of the state and experience freedom and liberty. Two words formerly cursed in the Soviet Empire. The power and omnipotence of the state was freely being challenged.
Coupled with the new programs of glasnost and perestroika of Mikhail Gorbachev, the people of Russia and its satellite states were on their way to becoming free. Once people experience freedom that they have so long sought they will seek more of it. It is in the human nature to be free. The Soviet Union has been placed onto the ash heap of history. Where all statist regimes seem to find their way.
Today America has enemies that have grown bold in the face of weak international leadership by President Obama. The Islamic Republic of Iran grows closer to a nuclear arsenal. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is growing in power and influence as President Obama waits to become more “flexible.” China grows in power as the United States helps to purchase their growth.
The Republican Party has always been bold in the face of America’s enemies. From the Soviet Union straight through to the threats of Islamic Extremism. Can we afford “flexibility” when we can have a bold leader who seeks to show the world the benefits of freedom?