|The Brandenburg Gate, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989 (photo/German Missions to the United States, Germany/MS State.edc)|
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," U.S. President Ronald Reagan demanded in a 1987 speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. Some two and a half years later, on Nov. 9, 1989, Berliners flocked to the wall that severed East and West Berlin and did exactly that.
But as the city celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Sunday, Reagan's catchy imploration is little more than a faint echo against a backdrop of blaring political tensions that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says have brought the world to the threshold of a "new Cold War."
Gorbachev, whose policies of glasnost and perestroika precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc, defended Russian foreign policy in his speech at a symposium in Berlin on Saturday.
"The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some say that it has already begun," Gorbachev said on Saturday in comments carried by Reuters. "Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of Western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia's weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination of the world."
Gorbachev, 83, also said that President Vladimir Putin's speech at the annual Valdai International Discussion Club forum in Sochi on Oct. 24 — which many analysts interpreted as an anti-Western tirade — in fact expressed the "desire to find a way to decrease tensions and ultimately build a new basis for partnership."
Additional story at Moscow Times