Triumphalism or simply relief that we survived?

It’s 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the symbolic end of the Cold War.


While some will use the occasion to claim that the fortunate outcome just proves they were right, I’d agree that it’s certainly a time to express gratitude. Gratitude to the gods of chance that we survived the nuclear brinkmanship of the period, and the many terrifying close calls that could easily have resulted in our complete obliteration.

Let’s hope our leaders are wise enough to never try rolling those dice again, eh? (Even though they probably already are.)

UPDATE: John Oliver explains to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show:

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John: The Wall falling represented the fall of the Soviet Empire – a Superpower, literally crumbling in front of us.
Jon: It was an incredible moment. Do you think something like that could happen again?
John: No, no, Jon, this was a unique set of circumstances. A perfect storm not likely to be repeated. You have to remember, their economy was in tatters…
Jon: True, I remember.
John: …and looking abroad, they had very few real friends left.
Jon: They had behaved incredibly arrogantly on the world stage.
John: Absolutely.
Jon: No question the world had turned.
John: But together those would not have amounted to much if not for their disastrous decision to try to invade and occupy Afghanistan.
Jon: That’s right, um…

…but of course, our situation is not analogous.
John: Totally different.
Jon: Yes, okay, yes, the economy’s in tatters, yes, we were a little arrogant… and we’ve been in Afghanistan for eight years now and it doesn’t look like we’re ever going to get out… But the Soviet Union at that time had an inexperienced, charismatic leader who came out of nowhere…
John: Promised change and reform…
Jon: I remember, yes, so that was completely, uh…
John: He even won the Nobel Peace Prize, so…


Jon: …When your Empire falls, does it hurt?
John: A little bit, at first.


12 responses to “Triumphalism or simply relief that we survived?

  1. We should celebrate that the killing machine of communism was rolled back, no thanks to the many deluded Western leftists all to eager to imbibe the clacker lacquer that dripped from the great red anus of Marxism.

    Sadly vestiges of communism still oppress millions in places such as Cuba and North Korea. still, at least the Russian colonial empire in the Soviet Bloc was rolled back and millions in Eastern Europe were liberated from the oppressive leftist regimes that immiserated them.

    The new challenge is dealing with the jihadist threat. Sadly the exploitation of nuclear energy has led to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It won’t be long before hard decisions will need to be taken. No doubt the shrill squawking of the unilateral disarmament crowd will once again despoil the air.

  2. so where’s the peace dividend…

    apparently defeating a handful of cave dwellers is more expensive than fighting the entire Red Army

  3. It’s a funny thing to think that it was only 20 years ago. Granted I was just out of nappies at the time, but it seems for most of my life, wars and standoffs have been in foreign places with people who don’t have the same skin colour as me.

    It’s so easy to write off the abuses of the world as not involving ‘my’ people. Not that it ought to have a bearing, but funny to think that a wall that separated people just like me was still there not so long ago.

  4. Piers Ackerman goes for triumphalism. Or more accurately, symbolism.

  5. I’m with SB, it is difficult for freedom-lovers not to relish the fall of communism. We’re like Aesop’s scorpion, it is in our nature. Even if, much like Philbert, I was pretty young at the time – though unfortunately not that young!

    I am not so sure about the nuclear war bogeyman. I argue that the threat of mutually-assured-destruction kept the peace between the two superpowers. Saying that, I am glad we ‘won’ (along with eastern Europe). As you should be, Jeremy. Even lefties should find it hard to mourn the death of the Soviets’ murderous, exploitative, totalitarian empire.

  6. Savvas Tzionis


    Myself, and many others consider ourselves leftists, but we did not support the Communists.

    So your triumphalism is wasted on the likes of me. But somehow I feel it IS directed to the likes of me.

    I also note that some facts, like the Chinese (communist?) oppression of Uighar’s, and the new ‘Berlin Wall’ that the Israeli’s have built to increase Israeli land, are ignored in your post.

  7. Savvas I was impugning only the old-school commos like Manning Clark, Frank Hardy, Jesse Street and the other buffoons who couldn’t keep their tongues out of Stalin’s sphincter. However, anytime you feel in need of a gratuitous insult I am happy to oblige.

    Of course the Berlin Wall was designed to keep people from escaping communist oppression. The Israeli wall was constructed to keep terrorists out. Much to the chagrin of those who would like to see more dead Jews, it is quite effective.

  8. SB – if you were “impugning only the old-school commos” then what is the effin point of your comment here?

    How many old-school commos hang out at AL?

    Name just 10.

  9. Name just 10.

    This is a discredited Andrew Bolt tactic (see BlairBoltWatch).

    Anyway, I didn’t say they hung about here. I hoped that others may join me in mocking these fools.

  10. I know it is SB.

    So you want others to join you in mocking 3 dead people?

    No further comment required.

  11. @SB

    The Israeli wall is being constructed to make sure Israel can fortify the lands it has illegally taken and occupied – the terrorism by a few is the perfect ruse (remember that the number of Palestinians killed by Israelis by far outnumbers dead Israelis – who are the terrorists?)

    Sadly vestiges of communism still oppress millions in places such as Cuba and North Korea” I’d agree with North Korea. I’ve visited Cuba and I’ve also visited many third world countries. I know which one I’d rather live in – ‘oppressive’ Cuba any day.

  12. “I’ve visited Cuba and I’ve also visited many third world countries. I know which one I’d rather live in – ‘oppressive’ Cuba any day.”

    So Cuba wins out against many, (but not necessarily all), third world countries — well, there’s a shining endorsement.

    Did you get into many political conversations criticising the regime with the locals or attempt to access any medical treatment using the same process as the locals do while you were there Aussie ?

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