Beowabbit (beowabbit) wrote,

  • Music:

Geopolitical musings

I’m listening to a BBC report on the fifteenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I grew up during the Cold War. I’m not old enough to remember Kennedy declaring himself a jelly donut, or the airlift, but I vaguely remember Nixon and the Vietnam War. (Admittedly, I remember it mostly as something my parents got upset about, but I had that sort of political context for my world.) The Cold War shaped my world. In Vietnam, in the Middle East, in Afghanistan (where US funds supported jehadis like Osama bin Laden), in Central America, regional conflicts were framed in the context of a conflict between superpowers.

I remember the exodus from East Germany, at first through third countries and then directly, as border controls in East Germany dissolved. I remember the excitement and optimism of the falling of the wall itself. And then a few years later, I remember the fall of the Soviet Union, which I followed in the news and also in Usenet posts by an Internet acquaintance of mine whom I’d originally met on (that being the sort of place the geeks of a nation newly connected to the Internet were likely to flock to), who would go stand on tanks around the Belyj Dom (the White House, the Russian parliament building) with Boris Yeltsin behind him, and then dash off to work to post about it to Usenet and mailing lists, and then hurry back to the Belyj Dom to face down the Soviet Army again.

(And of course, that makes me think of the Tian An Men demonstrations, which ended so differently.)

In the past fifteen years, I’ve seen the reunification of one Great Power, and the collapse and disintegration of one modern nuclear-armed industrialized superpower: both things that had at one time seemed almost unimaginable. What will the next fifteen years bring?
Tags: history, important, politics, thoughts

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