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Paul Giorgio: Remembering the Berlin Wall

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

 

Twenty five years ago this week the Berlin Wall came down. This event was celebrated Sunday in a unified Berlin.

I remember the day very well and the days leading up to it. I was there. By that day in 1989 the Wall was becoming a shell of itself. No longer did it keep democracy out. The former Soviet Union, too was a shell of itself.

I remember going to East Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie, the Volks Polizie where still keeping up appearances, but they too knew it was over.

People were fleeing the east in droves, some pushing their cars across the border. The car of choice was a Skoda produced in Czechoslovakia. Whole families with their possessions who had waited for years and in some cases generations were crossing the border.

There was a party atmosphere

On the western side, there was a party atmosphere. I remember climbing on the wall with hammer and chisel in hand to do my part. By this time large parts of the wall were gone and people where waking through almost taunting the East Germans.

In the 25 years since the wall came down, Eastern Europe has changed. The old Soviet Union has been replaced by countless free nations, some freer than others. The Warsaw Pact nations are gone replaced by the European Union.

Darkening clouds over the East

But today clouds are once again darkening the skies of Eastern Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin has engaged some of the former Soviet Bloc. He has intruded on Ukrainian sovereignty, taking Crimea. The geopolitical reason was that he needed a Black Sea port once again.

Putin, also has designs on other parts of the former Soviet Union. Recently president Obama visited the Baltic states. These are made up of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These three small nations stand in the way of Russian access to the Baltic Sea. Unlike Crimea, Russian does have a piece of landlocked territory- Kalingrad, which does give it access. But that may not be enough. These three countries have been free for only 20 years.

Are the Baltics next

Latvia is made up of 50 percent Latvians and 50 percent Russians. You can see how easily Putin can use the excuse of the persecution of native Russians to reclaim the Baltics.

If he does this he will rekindle the Cold War and no one wants that. The wall dividing Germany won't go up again, the new Germany is to strong an economic power. Putin, however may try to pick of smaller less economically strong countries like Latvia, who recently switched to the Euro causing economic hardship for all of its citizens.

The European Union and NATO cannot let that happen. Too much is at stake. Maintains the freedom of all former soviet dominated countries is a fitting silver anniversary gift to give a united Germany.

Paul Giorgio is a longtime Democratic Party Activist who has worked on numerous campaigns. He was a Lead Advance Person for President Clinton & Vice President Gore. He was Deputy Director of Special Events for President Clinton’s first Inauguration. He has been elected a delegate to numerous Democratic National Conventions and recently served as one of President Obama’s representatives on the Platform Committee. In 2013 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector. He is the President of Pagio, Inc., publishers of Pulse Magazine, Vitality Magazine and Worcester Medicine.

 

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