P asked me not too long ago what I thought, how I felt when the Wall came down. It's hard to remember now, but I seem to recall being really really happy, filled with joy. It was over. The Cold War that had smoldered since 1945 and burst into flame all around the world from Greece to Malaya and Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua...it was finally over. The Captive Nations were free again, after half a century under the Soviet yoke. Even the Chinese had turned away from the madness of Mao, paying lip service to his words while steering their country toward the open sea of capitalism. The only places that still claimed to believe in Communism were Fourth World shitholes like North Korea and Cuba. (Okay, college campuses, but that's Roger Kimball's3 and David Horowitz's4 turf.) I felt that we'd beaten the Russians when all the "best and the brightest" claimed it wasn't possible, run their economy off the cliff without even trying that hard, and set millions of people free. Something to celebrate, no?
What came after the Wall came down wasn't always pretty and it wasn't always neat, but there's no question in any sensible person's mind that it was a damn sight better than what we had during the Cold War. I don't agree with everything Fouad Ajami says in his essay, but he makes a good point. Where once we stood at risk from Soviet ICBMs, now we worry about Islamofascist mass murderers using whatever tools come to hand. Where once we had academics and TV talking heads blathering about "moral equivalence" between East and West, now we have generals blithering about the importance of diversity and Homeland Security chiefs gassing about purely theoretical "anti-Muslim" backlashes.
I'm still happy about the Wall coming down. Mainly because I don't have to worry about SS-18's incinerating my friends and family any more. YMMV.
* Complete with a clip of Ronaldus Magnus throwing down the gauntlet to Gorbachev in his epic speech at the Brandenburg Gate and another of just plain folks going at the Wall with hammers, crowbars, rocks, and construction equipment.
** Imma let Toby Harnden and Der Spiegel do it for me. ;) (Ace)
3. Tenured Radicals
4. One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America's Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy